Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Even though my husband has been using a wheelchair for about thirty years, he is still always learning how to do daily activities as his body faces aging issues such as osteoarthritis. For instance, up until about seven years ago, he would do a standing pivot transfer. Meaning he would stand up, hold on to his arm rests, carefully balance and pivot to drop down his backside onto whatever surface he wanted to transfer to.
Life Altering Injuries
One day as he was standing about to pivot, he noticed his wheelchair brake was releasing. Not wanting to come crashing down, he made a sudden twisting move to hit the bed surface, heard a wrenching, tearing sound in his shoulder. It was a memorable night, but ever since, he has not been able to transfer the way he always did. His rotator cuff was torn and mighty painful. In fact, it has never been restored completely. He has undergone physical therapy, has stretches and and exercises to do at home. Words of wisdom, if you have a routine your physio wants you to do, stay committed and do those exercises and stretches because if you slack off, as my husband has discovered, your muscles and joints, tendons and ligaments will suffer. The old adage, if you don't move it, you'll lose it, is true. Not to mention in his case, because he is sixty four, osteoarthritis has been impacting his physical mobility in his hands and fingers. Again, all the more reason to keep mobile no matter what it takes!
Not Confined to Our Wheelchairs, Just Using Them!
Like I said, if you are able to bear weight like Craig, you can stand holding onto your braked wheelchair and pivot onto your destination. Unless you end up with a a shoulder injury like he did,
Me and my older hoyer lift
then you need to find another way that doesn't involve standing.
As Life changes your abilities, it means coming up with new ways to make life happen.
The sliding transfer Craig does now, is the one I used before I broke my leg doing it back in the this photo when I was eighteen! It was only because of my motor neurone disorder, Spinal Muscular Atrophy. My arm collapsed while I was sliding from my bed onto my wheelchair. Plunk, I my knee hit the floor and I heard a devastating crunch. In my situation, I lost the muscles needed while healing my femur fracture. Mental note, when you live with progressive neuromuscular disorders, please remember to move your muscles as much as possible in order to maintain the strength you had prior to whatever it was that landed you in the hospital or cast.
But this is about transferring for persona who are able to do it on their own, without any devices such as a hoyer lift or even a transfer board.
Before I used a Hoyer hydraulic lift, I would transfer the same way Craig has been ever since the injury. I call it a sliding transfer. It can be done without any assistive devices. In Craig's case and others, it is often necessary to make sure the surface, be it the bed must be raised to a similar height as your wheelchair seat. Unless you are a pro, with great strength, sliding from surface to surface of equal height is the easiest.
Let's See How Other's Do IT!
Below are some very useful videos, the first one is from a cool dude, seriously he is :o) named Mad Martini! I love his Channel title, "Wheelchairs Rock!" So take a look at this to see the basic transferring skills that Marty shares as he enters and exits his car. And then we have added a few more useful videos on the same topic of sliding transfers.
Watch Martin Transfer Here:

How To Transfer From Wheelchair To Bed

From Wheelchair To Floor
A Variety Of Wheelchair Transfers
Wheelchair To Chair Transfer
Floor To Wheelchair Transfer

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