Learning a Floor to Wheelchair Transfer

While I was in rehabilitation I learned how to transfer from my wheelchair. This was a basic skill I needed to achieve independency. In my opinion the ability to transfer from your wheelchair is healthy; emotionally, physically, and mentally. Proper techniques in transferring are a significant component to living independently.

My first attempt at transferring was a challenge. I had to build strength in my arms and even increase my mental tenacity to understand that one day this skill would be accomplished with ease. The idea of me transferring from the floor to my wheelchair was never on the radar in the earliest days of rehab. But now, I find daily transfers from my wheelchair are much easier and floor to wheelchair transfers are a possibility.

This transfer is difficult but is vital because at some point in my life, I will fall. Knowing that I have the capability of getting back into my wheelchair gives me a greater level of confidence. At home I have a Hoyer lift. When I fall, which I hope is not often, I have the lift to successfully get me back into my chair. But what happens if I fall in public? Having the ability to transfer from the floor to wheelchair is the solution.

This is so important to me that I pay for proper training out of my pocket. I go to a local gym that has trainers who specialize in assisting those with spinal cord injuries. I began learning the techniques by using a mat and an eight inch box (much like a stair step). I learned how to navigate from the floor mat to the eight inch box successfully. Then I increased my transfer another eight inches. Each time I grew stronger and more confident.

I am still in the learning process and have attempted this difficult transfer three times at the gym. Honestly, this is something I thought I would never be able to do. Now, I know I will obtain success with this milestone. It will require me to push myself physically and mentally. But the reward of more independence is worth it!



I share this part of my journey to encourage others to investigate if this is a possibility for you too. I have discovered that having a workout partner or a trainer can provide a safety factor and motivation. I am capable of testing my limits with a trainer who can spot me.What works for her may not be feasible for you. It is important to take proper precautions while trying new skills. Note that some skills may not be safe for you to attempt and, as always, be sure to check with your medical provider beforehand. I hope you meet your milestones as I continue to meet mine.

Although Spinal Cord injury is fairly new to Josh, he has met this challenge with a passion that sets him apart from others. We can’t wait to read about all your life journey’s Josh!

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