It’s never fun to be on a wheelchair, regardless of whether it’s short-term or long-term. But the right kind of care can make things a little less depressing. The care needed can be a little different depending on whether the wheelchair user is predominantly independent, needs minimal assistance, or needs moderate assistance.
In this article, we’ll look at how a caregiver can assist a care receiver who needs minimal assistance in their use of a wheelchair. For wheelchair users who can independently use a wheelchair, check out [Link to our independent user article]. For wheelchair users who need moderate assistance, read [Link to our moderate assistance article]
Let’s take the example of a care receiver with right-sided weakness.
- Inform the person that you need them to turn towards you.
- Position the wheelchair at their strong side (left in this case) at an angle of 45 degrees from the bed.
- Ensure that the wheelchair wheels are locked.
- Gesture the person to place their weaker arm across their body.
- Instruct them to turn towards you by placing their left elbow and hand on the bed so that it’s easier to sit up.
- Instruct them to turn their face towards you. Guide them at the shoulder and hip if necessary.
- Ask them to put their legs down and push themselves up using their left elbow and hand to sit on the edge of the bed at the count of three.
- As the care receiver’s position has changed, ask whether they feel dizzy. Lower the bed such that they can place both their feet flat on the floor. Place their knees and feet at a right angle.
- Guide them to reach and hold on to the armrest of the wheelchair with their stronger arm.
- Inform them that on the count of three you need them to stand up, turn and sit on the wheelchair.
- Guide them at their upper body, while staying close so that you can assist if they lose their balance.
- Make sure their feet are carefully placed on the footplates. Ask them to disengage the brakes with their strong hand and start moving the wheelchair. Help them do it in case they are not able to.
These are the steps to assist a care receiver who needs minimal assistance to use a wheelchair.
Article reviewed by Loh Wan Ying, HMI.