Technically correct or not, this is how we have successfully and safely executed the one-person transfer hug for almost 15 years.
Remove potential transfer obstacles such as wheelchair leg and foot rests.
Optimum positioning is theoretical; we deal in ‘best of possible’. Position chair remembering this is a “pivot’ transfer, at most you will be moving only one foot.
Engage wheelchair brakes and double check.
Talk through your transfer plan including both your role and person in wheelchair’s role. Avoid directional words such as right and left, remember you are facing each other this gets confusing. Pantomime is not only effective but often humorous and a little laughter goes a long way to reduce transfer tension.
Toe-to-toe knee-to-knee I lean down toward Patti. She hooks her arms around the back of my neck. I put my hands around her lower back.
On ‘three’ I squat, pull Patti forward toward me, and I begin to stand up to a hug, encouraging her to extend her legs to ‘touch the floor’.
Important: Never hesitate to abort transfer if either you or the person you are transferring is experiencing pain. Simply release them back into wheel chair and seek assistance.
IF Patti has extended her legs then I simply pivot ‘us’ at target and lower her by squatting down and releasing hug. We might even be confused for dancers.
Now if Patti ‘has not’ extended her legs … well then it resembles whatever it takes to end safely.
Neither life nor life’s challenges come with a how to manual. People sharing their experiences can often be the best of possible windows.
related ‘caregivingly yours’ video
wheelchair transferring Multiple Sclerosis caregiver
by Patrick Leer