The Hidden Risk of Wheelchair Use


  • Molly L. Quesenberry, BSN, RN Patient Safety Authority



Not knowing how to unfold or even sit in a wheelchair the right way can cause a catastrophic injury to patients, visitors, volunteers, and staff of a healthcare facility.

Wheelchairs are one of the most common assistive devices used in healthcare facilities, from admission to discharge. They are often found at the entrance of a facility for use by both patients and visitors with mobility issues. Hospital volunteers, transport staff, and clinical staff use wheelchairs to take patients to different care areas to have tests performed. Many facilities require that patients be transported in a wheelchair upon discharge. However, not knowing the proper method of unfolding a wheelchair or where to place your hands when sitting down in the seat can cause injuries, specifically to fingers, ranging from lacerations to amputations.

Author Biography

Molly L. Quesenberry, BSN, RN, Patient Safety Authority

Molly Quesenberry ( is a patient safety liaison with the Patient Safety Authority, serving healthcare facilities in the North Central region of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the PSA, she has been a staff nurse, a director of nursing, a patient safety officer, and a director of quality and regulatory programs.


Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act, Pub. L. No. 154, Pennsylvania Department of Health (2002). Accessed August 24, 2022.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. MAUDE - Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience. U.S. Food and Drug Administration website. Updated July 31, 2022. Retrieved June 13, 2022.

Red wheelchair text

Additional Files



How to Cite

Quesenberry, M. L. (2022). The Hidden Risk of Wheelchair Use . Patient Safety, 4(3), 6–9.
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