beyond the video

Home Care—Lifting and Moving Your Loved One



Video summary
This video demonstrates basic techniques for moving a person with limited mobility, such as after a stroke, from bed to wheelchair and back again.

The steps for each maneuver are simply stated, but these are the things you need to know first:

  • Help the person to work with you by placing yourself so that his stronger side is on the edge closest to the bed or chair.
  • Tell the person what you are going to do and that the move will take place when you say "Now" so that he is prepared and can work with you.
  • Always bend your knees and keep your feet spread about shoulder-width apart so that you can lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Use a transfer belt that is fastened around the person's waist with room for you to get your fingers underneath it for each lift. You will be reaching both arms around his waist (closer to his back) and putting your fingers underneath the bottom of the belt, with your thumbs at the top of the belt. This makes the transfer easier for you and also helps the person feel more secure.

To move the person to the edge of the bed, move one section at a time:

  • Start with his feet first; put your arms beneath his calves, and lift and pull them toward you.
  • Then ask the person to raise his stronger leg, putting his foot on the bed while you move his mid-section by placing your hands beneath him and lifting and pulling him toward you. (To keep his hands out of the way, place them on his chest.)
  • Have him lower his leg and place your arms beneath his shoulders as you lift and pull his head and shoulders toward you.

To move the person from a lying to a sitting position:

  • Have the person dangle his strong leg over the side of the bed.
  • Put your hand beneath his weaker leg, one hand under his mid-calf and the other under his ankle.
  • Move the leg toward you, so that the ankle is at the edge of the bed.
  • Next, put your far hand under the transfer belt and your near hand under his shoulder blades.
  • Then lift and move him 1/4 turn until both legs are on the side of the bed and he is sitting up on the side. (If the person is in a hospital bed, it helps to have the head of the bed lifted so the movement from lying to upright position is shorter. This also helps to keep him from feeling dizzy.)

To move the person from sitting to lying down:

  • Put one arm under the affected leg and one arm around his shoulder in a half-hug.
  • Bend your knees and spread your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Then lift and move him 1/4 turn, gently laying him on the bed.

To move the person from the bed to a wheelchair:

  • Put the wheelchair next to the bed so that it faces the foot of the bed with wheels locked, and leg rests out of the way. Also remove or lower the arm rest closest to the bed.
  • Ask the person to place his strong arm on the far armrest of the wheelchair.
  • Placing your arms under his, grab onto the transfer belt with both hands. Bend your knees and spread your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Lift and move 1/4 turn to the wheelchair, as always working together as you say, "Now."

To move the person from the wheelchair back to the bed:

  • Position the wheelchair next to the bed, again removing the arm and leg rests nearest the bed. (This time the wheelchair will be facing the head of the bed.)
  • Ask the person to put his strong arm on the lowered bedrail (if there is one).
  • Placing your arms under his, grab onto the transfer belt with both hands. Bend your knees and spread your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Lift and move 1/4 turn to the bed, as always working together as you say, "Now."

Applying the video to your own situation

  • Obviously, repositioning and transferring people is something that requires practice (preferably on someone healthy until you are confident of the techniques), but did you find this demonstration helpful for getting a picture of how to do it?
  • This video assumes that you already know how to remove and adjust parts of the wheelchair and how to operate a hospital bed. Do you?

Adapted from: Coming Home: Basic Information for The Home Caregiver; Home Care Institute of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

For More on Full Video: www.terranova.org

Beyond the Video

This video demonstrates basic techniques for moving a person with limited mobility, such as after a stroke, from bed to wheelchair and back again.