End to end Chair Transfer
Our client needs to be moved in a chair on wheels between his upstairs bedroom and the ground floor via a through-floor lift with the minimum number of transfers between different chairs. An end to end approach needed to be taken to achieve the requirement and adaptations put in place to overcome obstacles en route.
Our client has to be moved in a chair on wheels between his upstairs bedroom and the ground floor via a lift with the minimum number of transfers between different chairs. The chair selected needed to have arms to assist him when changing between sitting and standing positions and its depth needed to be limited to enable him to close the lift door against his knees when seated in the lift.
Our client has Parkinson’s disease which combined with very low blood pressure can result in fainting after over-exertion such as can occur during transferring between chairs.
The property has been equipped with a ‘through floor’ lift and hitherto our client has been using a stool to sit on in the lift and transferring from a wheeled shower chair upstairs and then to a conventional wheelchair on the ground floor. Unfortunately, neither the shower chair nor the wheelchair will fit in the lift. The major obstacle when using a wheeled chair in the lift is a 115mm step between the floor levels of the lift and the ground floor. In addition, there is a 30mm gap between the lift and the first floor and there are 30mm high upstands at the sliding-door thresholds approaching the lift on both floors which need overcoming.
York volunteers Dave Chartres and Allan Ball tackled this case. A wooden carver chair obtained from a second-hand furniture store was mounted using screws and pipe clips on to a piece of 18mm plywood which was shaped to match the curvature of the rear panel of the lift and given a cut-out at the front to accommodate the user’s feet. Castors were bolted to the underside of the board (swiveling at the rear of the chair/fixed at the front).
In front of the lift on the ground floor a platform, was positioned to provide a level exit from the lift, and a ramp was butted up to the platform to enable a chair on castors to descend the 115mm down to the floor of the living room.
The platform was designed to be a semi-permanent feature and was held in place with strong rubber suckers gripping the tiled floor. The ramp is fastened to the platform with 2 hooks and eyes and is light enough to be lifted on to its end and stored so that the sliding door to the living room can be closed. The ramp not only accommodates the height difference but, in over-sailing the door threshold, it overcomes the obstruction for castor wheels at that point. Both the platform and the ramp where made from 9mm plywood glued to 18mm thick softwood bearers. They were both edged with 25mm high beadings to provide a minimal kerb to help guide the chair pusher. The platform and ramp were painted with a black finish chosen by the client to match the tiled floor.
The gap between the lift and the first floor was bridged by a removable piece of 3mm plywood put in place just while the chair on castors was crossing the lift door threshold. The plywood was prevented from sliding out of position by two rubber doorstops fixed to its underside.
The one remaining obstacle to moving the chair occurs at the threshold of the sliding door between the lift and the upstairs living room. The client’s wife purchased a proprietary aluminium ramp. It’s natural height of 75mm was excessive for this application, so the double-sloped ramp was adjusted to give more gentle slopes. The ramp could be used as well at the front and back door thresholds to enable the chair on castors to take our client into the back garden and to their car at the front of the house.
With the platform, ramps and bridging piece in position our client was able to be wheeled in his chair on castors between the first and ground floors of his house by his wife or other carer. This avoided him having to face the physical challenge and health risks involved in standing up and transferring between chairs. In addition, when the metal ramp was placed across the thresholds of the back or front doors of the house, the chair on castors provided transport for the client to access both his back garden and his front garden which leads to his car.