How to Transfer From a Wheelchair to a Bed

Using a wheelchair can be a challenge. Depending on assistance from others can be frustrating and depressing. With practice and good arm strength, it is possible to transfer from a wheelchair into a bed independently. Learning to safely execute the technique can increase independence.

Approach the bed so your strongest side is nearest the bed. Position the wheelchair near the centre of the bed and parallel or at a slight angle to the bed. Lock the wheelchair in place. If the bed is adjustable, lower it to its lowest height.

Remove or fold away both footrests. Wear footwear with non-slip soles.

Ball your hands into fists. Extend your arms and keep your wrists straight. Place the hand closest to the bed on top of the mattress. Position the other hand on the chair seat next to your hip. If this is not possible, brace your hand on the chair arm.

Rock your weight onto the hand on the mattress. Use the hand by your hip to push your body out of the chair in the direction of the bed. Pivot your feet and sit on the edge of the bed. Position both fists directly behind your hips. Straighten your arms and push backwards to position yourself. If needed, sit for a few seconds to regain your breath and balance.

Lie to your side, with your head at the top of the bed, and swing your legs onto the bed. Position yourself for comfort.


Practice the transfer under supervision. Do not attempt it alone until you are proficient with the technique.

Things You'll Need

  • Wheelchair
  • Bed
  • Footwear with non-slip soles
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About the Author

Judy Prather began writing fiction in earnest in 2004. Writing as J.A. Anderson, Prather's debut novel, "Stolen Memories," was published in 2007. She also has experience as a therapeutic recreation specialist. Prather holds a bachelor's degree in therapeutic recreation from Winona State University.