Supporting people with mobility fact sheet

Moving people

  • You may need assist a person who has difficulty with their mobility. There are acceptable methods which support safe manual handling practices when assisting movement or transferring people.

Assisting walking

  • If the person requires assistance to walk, stand at the person’s weaker side. Take hold of their hand using palm to palm hold. When walking, stay close to the person.
  • If falling is a risk then do not embark on a walk without the appropriate level of aid, such as a walking aid or a stick.

If the person has a stick

  • The stick is to be held in the hand of the person’s strongest side. For example, if the right leg is weak, they should hold the stick in their left hand. If supervision or additional support is needed, you can stand by the persons other side and use palm to palm hold or link arm for extra support.

If the person has a walking frame

  • If the person has one side weaker than the other, stand on the weaker side. Have one hand at the back of them, use the other hand to steady the frame and assist with lifting it, if necessary. If the person requires only minimal assistance, you can stand at their back, holding their hips to steady them if required.

Helping a person to stand from a chair

  • If the person requires less assistance, you may like to stand at the side of the chair. The person can push up with their arms from the chair arm rests, while you assist from the side.
  • If the person requires light to moderate assistance:
    • Ask the person to lean forward and shuffle to the front of the chair. Ask the person to place hands on the arms of the chair.
    • Place their feet apart, one foot slightly in front of the other.
    • Ask the person to look forward.
    • Ask the person to lean forward so that their head is over their toes.
    • A rocking motion at this stage may help, rocking forwards in time with the commands “Ready, Steady, … “
    • The person is instructed to push with their hands and stand up on the command “Stand”.

Helping a person sit down in a chair

  • Ask the person to feel for and use the arm rests.
  • Ensure the person can feel the seat with the backs of both legs before sitting down.
  • The person should lower them down slowly onto the surface and not flop.
  • Ask the person to ‘stick their bottom out’ when sitting to ensure they sit back in the chair. This can save you from then needing to further assist the person into the correct sitting position.

Supporting a person when using a car

  • If the person is a holder of a ‘blue badge’ ask them to take this with them as it will allow you to park in more open spaces.
  • Ensure the car door is locked into the full open position before the person gets in or out of the car.
  • Do not use the car door as support as car doors are prone to move.
  • Think about where you park.
  • Avoid high pavements.
  • Avoid drain covers or uneven ground.
  • Park on the level not on a slope.

Transferring a person into a car

  • Before attempting to transfer, push the car seat back as far as possible to ensure maximum leg room.
  • Open the car door fully, wind down the window and have someone brace it to stop it swinging back onto the person.
  • Position the person with the back of their legs against the car seat before they sit down.
  • Protect the person’s head as they sit down into the car.
  • The person can use the dash or car body for support if necessary.
  • Pivot the person on their bottom, bringing their legs around into the car. You may need to assist with their legs, but only one at a time.
  • Ensure your back is protected by maintaining good posture, bending your knees and stabilising your core abdominal muscles.

Transferring a person out of a car

  • Reverse the procedure for getting into the car, i.e. legs out first, then stand.
  • Care should be taken to protect the user’s head.
  • Guide the person out of the vehicle by placing a hand on their lower back. This also allows you to protect their head if needed.

Assisting a falling the person

If someone falls and they are not in significant pain advise the person to manoeuvre themselves to a position that will help themselves get up more easily. If the person is having problems moving or are in significant pain, call for an ambulance, keep the person warm and as still as possible until help arrives.

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Page last reviewed: 04 January 2024