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Department for Communities and Social Inclusion

Disability Services

Use of a wheelchair - SWI 009 2013


Disclaimer

This information is a guide only for use by non government organisations and service providers as a training tool (supplementary to training) and is not intended as medical or professional advice. Users must seek appropriate medical or professional service. The State Government of South Australia accepts no responsibility for the suitability or completeness of the information and expressly disclaims all liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any of the information.

Stop, Think, Assess, Review

Stop before you begin, you must review the Support Plan of the client being assisted.

Think about the task, any equipment needed and the readiness of the client. Think about other options if this task cannot be done safely.

Assess the client by watching/talking to them to see if they are willing and able to participate in the task.

Review other options available if client not ready for task. Talk to supervisor/manager about other options.

Potential hazards

  1. Muscular or skeletal injury to clients and workers from incorrect use of wheelchair.
  2. Injury to clients or workers from use of poorly maintained wheelchair.
  3. Injury to client resulting from a fall from wheelchair.

Safety provisions

To prevent risk of injury to workers or clients during this manual task:

a. Follow all steps of this Safe Work Instruction (SWI).
b. Each time before moving wheelchair, make sure area and route is clear of obstacles.
c. Use forward and backward steps to push wheelchair, allow free flow of wheels.
d. Communicate with client and other workers at every step of this task.

Instruction

Set up

  1. Check the wheelchair is in good condition, that tyres are inflated, wheels roll properly and the brakes work correctly. Report any faults immediately and do not use.
  2. Check the wheelchair is in good condition.
  3. If wheelchair has restraint, check for signs of wear. If any faults, report immediately and do not use.
  4. Ensure knowledge of wheelchair operation. If unsure, review Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for this wheelchair. Report immediately if SOP not available.
  5. Refer to client's Support Plan for specific information.

Operation

  1. Seating a non-ambulant client in a wheelchair
  • Make sure wheelchair brakes are on.
  • Use a ceiling or portable hoist to complete this step. Please refer to relevant SWI for hoist.
  • Make sure 2 staff perform this step.
1. Seating a non-ambulant client in a wheelchair.

  1. Seating an ambulant client in a wheelchair (refer to SWI for stand transfer).
  • Make sure wheelchair brakes are on.
  • Worker to stand as close to wheelchair as possible.
  • Provide guidance to client during step.
2. Seating an ambulant client in a wheelchair.

  1. Fastening safety restraints and tray top.
  • Make sure restraints are clear of seat before client sits down.
  • Once client seated, position restraints and tighten.
  • Ensure tray top secured in place if required. Remove tray for travel in vehicles.
3. Fastening safety restraints and tray top.

  1. Pushing the wheelchair.
  • Worker to stand in upright position, maintaining natural curve of spine.
  • Have firm grasp of handles, with arms extended forward slightly.
  • Take forward, even steps, push from thighs; let the wheels do the work.
  • Keep a steady, slow pace when walking. Walk with the chair, do not reach.
  • Avoid coarse, gravel paths.
4. Pushing the wheelchair.

  1. Tilting a wheelchair to manage a slight elevation.
  • Sometimes, a wheelchair has to manage an elevation, such as crossing a doorway threshold.
  • Failure may result in wheelchair jerking to a stop or tipping forwards and causing major injury.
  • Stop the wheelchair, just touching raised elevation.
  • Apply foot pressure at the tipping lever. This provides weight relief for the front castors allowing the wheelchair to lift slightly.
  • Push forward, allowing front wheels to make contact with elevation, rear wheels will follow motion.
  • Do not attempt this action on a step. Wheelchairs are not to be manoeuvred down or up steps.
5. Tilting a wheelchair to manage a slight elevation.
5. Tilting a wheelchair to manage a slight elevation.

  1. Pushing a wheelchair up a slight incline or ramp.
  • Avoid steep inclines and plan another route.
  • To manage a slight incline, stand close to rear of wheelchair, keep back straight.
  • Push from thighs and lower body while walking, staying close to wheelchair.
  • Do not take weight of chair.
6. Pushing a wheelchair up a slight incline or ramp.

  1. Pushing a wheelchair down an incline or ramp.
  • Avoid steep inclines and plan another route.
  • Stand close to rear of wheelchair, hold handles firmly.
  • Lean back slightly when walking and place feet so as to slow movement of wheelchair (refer diagram).
  • Move slowly with wheelchair until at bottom of incline.
  • Do not take weight of chair.
7. Pushing a wheelchair down an incline or ramp.

  1. Stopping a wheelchair.
  • When stopping a wheelchair momentarily to perform another task, first apply the brakes and ensure the wheelchair does not move.
  • At end of route, stop wheelchair and apply brakes.
  • Make sure area is safe and free of hazards.
8. Stopping a wheelchair.

Conclusion

  1. Safely conclude task.
  • Make sure brakes are on and client is comfortable.
  • If required, release restraints on wheelchair.
  • Document any incident and report to supervisor immediately.


Attribution to: Department for Communities and Social Inclusion, the Government of South Australia, "Use of a wheelchair - SWI 009 2013", Sourced on 23rd Nov 2017, (http://www.dcsi.sa.gov.au/services/disability-services/safe-work-instructions/use-of-wheelchair)'

State Government of South Australia © Copyright DCSI .

Provided by:
Department for Communities and Social Inclusion
URL:
http://www.dcsi.sa.gov.au/services/disability-services/safe-work-instructions/use-of-wheelchair
Last Updated:
28 Oct 2016
Printed on:
23 Nov 2017
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