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How to Move Handicap Person on Stairs

By Eric Benac ; Updated July 27, 2017

Handicapped people often have a hard time moving up and downstairs. Whether in a wheelchair or not, it can be a major struggle. Physical handicaps can vary from person to person but the basic procedure is the same. Great care must be taken to avoid putting pressure on any area of their body that may suffer from the handicap. Moving a person in a wheelchair always follows the same procedure with minor variations that may depend on the person you are lifting.

Wheelchair Method

Wheel the chair backwards up to the bottom step. Press the wheels evenly against the stair. Buckle your handicapped person into the chair and secure their feet on the feet rests for safety.

Stand on the stair just above the bottom stair. Hold the handles of the wheelchair from this position. Check the strength of the handles and the grips to make sure they won’t slide off. Bend your knees and arch your back. Put one foot on the step above you.

Get the other person to bend at their knees and arch their back in front of the wheelchair. Tell them to grab the frame just above the wheels, making sure not to grab anything that will come off in their hand.

Tilt the wheelchair back slowly until it is balanced on one wheel. Lift the chair upwards, using the wheel to help pull up. Encourage the handicapped person to help you by turning the wheels backwards if they can.

Lift the chair until it rests on the next wheel. Reposition yourself after each lift and lift until you reach the top. Keep the wheelchair tilted, push it back a few feet and place the front wheels down when it is safe to do so.

Reverse the steps and process to take the person downstairs. The chair goes down the stairs forward with the smaller front wheels going down first. Tilt the chair back and push it forward slowly. The front helper picks it up and gently lowers it down to avoid excessive bumps.

Walking Method

Wrap your safety belt around the handicapped person’s waist. Attach it so that it is tight but not uncomfortable. Ask them if it is uncomfortable or if it feels right and adjust as necessary.

Stand at the bottom of the stairs and hold onto the safety belt with one hand. Instruct them to place their hand on the hand rail. Avoid going up stairs without hand rails if possible. Help them up the first step and then stand behind them one step down.

Instruct them to step up to the next step with their strongest leg. Hold the safety belt firmly as they step up to balance them or catch them if they fall. Move the same side leg up to the step above you. Have them move their next leg up to the next step and move up to the step beneath them. Hold onto the hand railing with your free hand.

Continue the process one step at a time, taking rest breaks when necessary. Continue holding their safety belt and the hand railing as they move up. Keep the safety belt on when you reach the top for when you have to come back down.

Reverse the process when they are coming downstairs. Stand one step beneath them as you walk them down the stairs. Hold onto the safety belt and the railing. Instruct them to step with their weak leg as their weight will be balanced towards the top, stronger leg. Repeat until they are down the stairs completely.

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