How To Get A Wheelchair Up And Down Stairs

Have you ever thought of looking after a handicapped person who uses a wheelchair? What you will do if you don’t know how to get a wheelchair up and down stairs? It is hard to imagine for those who have never been gone through. In fact, it is really a big challenge in terms of safety to transfer a wheelchair while the person is seated. For a disabled or elderly person in a wheelchair; it is always a huge task to move wheelchair up or down the stairs regardless of the wheelchair type. Even if the person in a wheelchair performs all his\her routine tasks at his own, he’ll surely be needing some external force to move a wheelchair up and down stairs.

Safety tips for how to get a wheelchair up and down stairs

A handicapped person finds it the most difficult task to climb up or down even in their own houses if they have a staircase there. When you are going to move a wheelchair up and down steps; along with the person in it; make sure you are doing it with all safety measures and nothing is at risk. Wheelchairs are heavy themselves and a person in them will make them heavier. Hence, two stronger persons are required to transfer it up and down. Whatsoever, let’s learn all the mandatory safety precautions in a bit more detail.

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  • There is no compromise over the safety of a patient or an elderly person in a wheelchair. So to transfer a wheelchair up or down you need to take help from at least two people. It is safer to move a wheelchair up and down ramp, if available. Besides,it is very easy and effortless pushing a wheelchair up a ramp or down too. But ramps are not available everywhere. So to take a wheelchair from the stairs you need to be quite strategic.  Although more people are welcomed to ensure optimum safety but two are enough.  Don’t forget and be very cautious that one person cannot handle it properly because a wheelchair has its own weight and the person in it adds more weight to it. Make sure the persons you chose are that much stronger and are capable enough to hold the weight of both; the person and the wheelchair.  Most importantly, the stronger person should support the wheelchair from the backside as more weight will be there to carry.
  • The next safety tip also ensures a secure transfer of the patient or elderly. It is related to the appropriate sitting posture. So make sure that the person in the wheelchair should be seated properly back into the chair with his\her legs in the footrest. This sitting style will prevent the elderly from bending forward while lifting.
  • Above all, the caregivers make sure that they are not holding the removable parts of the wheelchair. Otherwise, moving the wheelchair up and down stairs can turn into an irreplaceable loss.
  • Another important to-do task is to fasten the seat belt. This act ensures the security of the person in it. So be very vigilant and don’t miss out to fasten the security belt.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to clear the stairs from debris for obstacle-free transfer. Overlooking this step will definitely frustrate you while you will be in the midst of transferring the wheelchair along the stairs.

Steps to get a wheelchair upstairs:

  • How to get a wheelchair up and down stairs must always be backed by the above-described safety precautions. We strongly suggest you follow all the above-mentioned guidelines for a successful transfer.
  • Now let’s discuss the main point. So, first of all, remove extra weight from the wheelchair’s handle or if something is hung at any point of the wheelchair.
  • It is very essential to unlock the brakes.
  • Be very careful to place the wheelchair in such a way that its backrest is in front of the stairs.
  • A sturdier person should be positioned at the back to hold the chair from its handles. Keep your one foot on the same step where the wheelchair is placed and the other on one step up. Make sure the person has a strong grip over the handlebars to avoid an accident.
  • The second caregiver will be positioned in front of the wheelchair and while facing the user he will hold the frame of the wheelchair strongly. 
  • Tilt the wheelchair backward to transfer the bodyweight of the user towards its backrest. It will help the user not to bow onward and will be secure from falling forward.
  • Both caregivers should bend the chair backward mutually and find pressure points to adjust at a favorable position. Don’t apply force before finding a suitable position.
  •  Once you start to take the wheelchair up a step make sure you hold with a stronger and sustained grip that will not loosen throughout the whole staircase. Then start pushing wheelchair up a step, move upward, and accomplish your task successfully.

Steps to get a wheelchair down stairs:

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  • Once you have decided to take a wheelchair down the stairs along with the user, the first thing to consider is safety measures. Fasten the security belt and adjust the sitting posture of the patient. These steps will help to avoid an accident while transferring the wheelchair downstairs. Some of the steps are to be followed as above mentioned for going upstairs. Again you need to ask for help from two perfect and stronger people.
  • The purpose of depending on two people is to maintain the balance of the wheelchair and the user. So he\she may not fall forward or backward while moving.
  • Make sure there is no extra weight hanged or placed somewhere in a wheelchair, if any then remove it first.
  • Place wheelchair in front of stairs in such a way that user faces the staircase.
  • Don’t forget to unlock the brake. It is indeed very essential step.
  • One helper will stand at the back of the wheelchair to hold handlebars with a stronger grip throughout the transfer down the stairs.
  • The other caregiver will be in a position of facing the user and holding the chair’s frame. Before applying push or pull force, tilt the wheelchair backward to push the user’s weight to the chair’s backrest. It will reduce the chances of accidents.
  • Now both companions hold the wheelchair up mutually with a stronger grip to carry the dependent person downstairs safely.
  • Maintain focus when moving downstairs.


How to get a wheelchair up and down stairs has a very detailed answer above. Learning about it is very important as it is a huge responsibility getting wheelchair up and down stairs along witha handicapped person. It needs extra care and strength to perform such a difficult task. Undoubtedly, it can only be accomplished with help of at least two healthy and stronger caregivers. Not to forget! Mutual communication and coordination is quite significant in the entire scenario. Once you show courage to lift then take it to the end and try to accomplish the task of landing at the end of steps safely.