If you are a carer you may well need to help the person that you care for to move around. Helping people to move safely is really important so that you don’t hurt yourself or your loved one. Consider if you get injured what would happen to the person that you provide care for? Carers often suffer from back injuries. Recovery can be slow and may prevent a carer from looking after their loved one. Lifting someone incorrectly can damage fragile skin, cause shoulder and neck injuries, increase existing breathing difficulties, or cause bruising or cuts.
Helping people to move safely
Before moving someone ask yourself:
- Do they really need help to move? Clear instruction and supervision might be a safer option.
- Have you told them you’re moving them? Maintain good communication throughout.
- Are you healthy and strong enough to move them?
- Is there anyone who could help you?
- How long will it take?
- Is there enough space around you? Any obstacles should be removed. Good light is important.
- Are you wearing suitable clothing and shoes – for example, if you are on a slippery or damp surface?
Occupational Therapist (OT) assessment – Helping people to move safely
If you find it difficult to help someone move around, contact your GP or your local authority to arrange an Occupational Therapist (OT) assessment. Specialist equipment, such as hoists and standing aids, can often provided free of charge. The OT will also be able to provide advice on any other equipment which may help you to care safely for your loved one. To arrange a private OT consultation a good local contact to try is Therapies on Thames.
Which Elderly Care has a guide for choosing and buying mobility products such as frames, wheelchairs and mobility scooters. As well as useful equipment that can make houses safer.
Standing up – Helping people to move safely
Helping someone to stand up can be difficult, especially if they are sitting in a low chair or on a sofa. Help from the side of their seat, so you are facing in the same direction as they are. Bring them to the front of the chair and get them to lean forward. Place your arm diagonally across their back and help them to stand by moving forward and up, pushing with your arm. By pushing forwards and up with your hand on their back you can encourage them to stand without having to pull on their waistbands or lift under their arms.
Safe use of a wheelchair – Helping people to move safely
- Getting into a wheelchair – Make sure that the brakes are on. Fold up the footplates and move them out of the way. With both hands on the armrests, lower yourself onto the seat. Swing the footplates back in to position and place your feet upon them with heels resting at the back.
- Getting up from a wheelchair – Make sure that the brakes are on. Move the footplates out of the way. Move forwards on the seat. Place both feet firmly on the ground, slightly apart and with one foot further back. Place both hands on the front of the armrests, lean forwards with head and shoulders over your knees to give balance. Push yourself up.
- Transferring sideways from a wheelchair – Place wheelchair alongside the chair, bed, or toilet to which you wish to transfer. Make sure that the brakes are on. Move the footplates out of the way. Move forwards on the seat. If possible, have someone to hold the handles of the wheelchair so that it will not move. Remove the armrest on the side from which you are transferring. Place one hand on the armrest and the other, palm down, on the surface to which you are transferring. Move forwards on the wheel chair seat, lean slightly forwards, push up and slide across to the other surface.
- Negotiating curbs – Whenever possible avoid curbs. Always try to use ramps or curb cuts on sidewalks.
Helping people to move safely – Perhaps care from Gardiner’s would help your loved one to be a little safer when moving about their house?