Injury Prevention for Caregivers: Effective Lifting and Transfer Strategies

A caregiver discusses safe lifting and transfer strategies with an older woman in a wheelchair.

These lifting and transfer strategies will help prevent caregiver and senior injury.

The figures are startling: over half of all caregivers suffer injuries from lifting or moving older individuals. With many family members stepping into caregiving roles, it’s essential that you learn proper lifting and transfer strategies to safeguard both your health and the well-being of the person you love.

To guide you through these challenges, Harmony Home Health & Hospice’s care team offers critical advice to help reduce injury risks. These effective tips will improve both your safety and effectiveness during physical interactions with an older family member. By mastering these key lifting and transferring strategies, you can avoid injuries and enhance your confidence as a caregiver.

Please follow these guidelines in the order given:

  • If the bed is low, stand with one foot on a stool next to it to lessen back strain.
  • Position the wheelchair as near as possible to the bed and confirm that the brakes are set and the armrests and footrests are retracted.
  • Clearly explain to the person what will happen during the transfer, making sure they are ready and aware of their destination. Start the movement with a verbal countdown, “1-2-3.”
  • If the person is able, ask them to place their hands on the bed to aid in the transfer.
  • Stay close to the individual for best support during the move.
  • Bend at the knees instead of the waist, keeping your back and neck straight and your weight balanced. Activate your core and back muscles to maintain a stable lifting posture.
  • Use your legs for lifting and your arms to ensure the person’s stability.
  • Rotate by pivoting on one foot, avoiding twisting your body to reduce the risk of strain.
  • Use a transfer belt around the person’s waist for extra stability and assistance during the move.
  • Encourage the person to grasp the wheelchair armrests if they are able to do so for further support.

If you still encounter difficulties transferring an older loved one between a bed and a wheelchair, Harmony Home Health Care is ready to assist. Our team, serving Ogden, Orem, Albuquerque, and other regions in Northern Utah and Central New Mexico, is proficient in safely lifting and transferring older adults to promote as active a lifestyle as possible. Contact us at 1-877-I-NEED-CARE (1-877-463-3322) or reach out to us online to learn more about our home health care services and how to prevent injuries and ensure the safety of your loved one.