Moving from bed to wheelchair


Using this technique you will find it safer and easier to transfer a person from their bed to the wheelchair (or bedside commode). There is always a risk for falls, and no transfer technique is without risk.

What you'll need

  • Wheelchair/bedside commode/bed
  • Caregiver Must be Physically Capable of performing transfers (lifting and rotating movements)
  • Nonskid slippers, shoes or socks
  • Adequate room to maneuver

Task time

5-10 minutes

Steps for transferring from Bed to Wheelchair

  1. Remove clutter from area, including all scatter rugs
  2. Discuss with the transferee, the process before and during the transfer
  3. The amount of room available for transfer will dictate which side of the bed you will be transferring from.
  4. Determine if the transferee has a stronger side, as he/she will be better able to scoot to the edge of the bed on that side prior to transfer.
  5. Position wheelchair on the transferee’s strongest side (for example if the right side is strongest, you will be transferring from the right side of the bed.)
  6. Assist person to be transferred to edge of bed and to sitting position first with feet dangling and then with feet on floor
  7. For ease of transfer, position the wheelchair next to the knee on his/her strongest side
  8. Pull wheelchair within a foot of the person’s knee and lock the wheelchair brakes
  9. Explain the sequence of lifting and pivoting into the wheelchair (example: on the count of 3, I am going to help you stand up and turn to your strong side; eg right side as in above example; and sit in the wheelchair)
  10. Using the bear hug technique, ask the person to place his/her arms on your shoulders as you place your arms around his/her trunk
  11. Bracket their feet with your feet to prevent slipping
  12. Using your leg muscles, stand up and bring the person upward in a slow steady rising motion
  13. If transferee is capable, have him/her reach for the furthest wheelchair armrest
  14. Pivot towards wheelchair seat, and lower slowly
  15. Attach or swing foot rests of wheelchair into place
  16. Place person’s feet onto foot rests of wheelchair


If the room arrangement does not allow transferring from the person’s strong side, follow instructions as above, remembering to always place the wheelchair next to the person’s strongest knee. For example, if you are transferring a person from the right side of the bed, and his/her strongest side is the left side, place the wheelchair next to the left knee and complete transfer as described above.

For more information

Krames Online description