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Daily living activities

16) How to assist the person in and out of a car safely

If the person is still in hospital, ask the Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist or Stroke Nurse for individual advice on the safest method they recommend. If the person is at home you can ask for a Community Physiotherapy referral.

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In this short film you will see a how to get someone in and out of a car safely. These are general tips, if you have any concerns about the person you care for, ask for individual advice from a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or stroke nurse.

If using a wheelchair, park the chair as close as possible to the car. Open the car door as wide as it will go. Make sure the wheelchair brakes are on and the footplates have been removed or folded back. You should allow enough room beside the car door so you can both move easily. You may need to move the car seat back to give more room for the legs.

Get the person to slowly stand then step round so their back is towards the car. They should hold on to the car in the most secure but comfortable place. This may be the door frame, the edge of the car seat or the edge of the dashboard depending on the side of their stroke.

Support their hips or shoulders as they start to bend to sit down. To protect their head from bumping on the door frame, place your hand gently over their head as they sit.

Get the person to shuffle back in to the seat then help them to lift their affected leg over the door sill. This method is much safer than attempting to step in on one leg. Make sure they are in the middle of the car seat before you help to fasten their seat belt.

Getting out of the car.

Have the wheelchair ready to use with the brakes on. Open the car door as wide as you can.
Get the person to shuffle towards the open door holding on to what ever is the most secure and comfortable surface. Help to lift the legs out on to the ground then shuffle forward in the car seat before standing. Step round towards the wheelchair and sit.

• Think about where you park.
• Avoid high pavements.
• Avoid drain covers or uneven ground.
• Park on the level not on a slope.
• You may need space for a wheelchair.


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