We are rarely used to see people with disabilities among us. Some people pity and sympathize with them; others, on the contrary, do not notice or despise them. Very often, most of us get confused when communicating with an individual in a wheelchair. We don’t know how to behave especially when it comes to hugs. How to hug someone in a wheelchair? Which side to approach? Does the person want this? Let’s learn from this article.

Are Hugs Important for People in Wheelchairs?

Hugs have therapeutic properties. They are just necessary for our body. In addition, many studies indicate that hugs help us cope with stress, be happier and healthier. Both sick and healthy people need them. Hugs help sick people recover faster, for example, if they undergo rehabilitation. All this is good. However, does everyone want to hug? Is there any wheelchair etiquette?

People with disabilities have the same feelings, preferences, and aspirations as healthy people. Some individuals like hugs and kisses. They feel needed. Besides, this action can recover the body faster in the rehabilitation process. Children need them most. Some people do not like the manifestation of such feelings at all. Moreover, several features need to be considered when trying to hug people in a wheelchair.

For example, the manifestation of these feelings too much or not on the right side can lead to pain or severe discomfort. Someone considers hugs as the manifestation of compassion and does not like them. I often communicate with such people.

My friend, for example, feels offended if someone hugs him. He doesn’t like it because he says it’s a sign of pity for him. He does not like to feel sorry for himself. So, no matter how much you want to hug a person in a wheelchair, you should first ask them about it. Maybe someone can’t stand any touch.

Ways to Hug: How to Do It Right?

hug a person in a wheelchair

Hugs help us all to cope with difficult situations and feel happier for a moment. Are you sure that the person likes to hug? Then the next step is to understand how to do it. The man in the wheelchair is less accessible to hugs. So, I will give some ways from which side it is better to approach and how to hug a person in a wheelchair.

  • Approach from the side. You can lean on the shoulder while sitting next to a sick person. This way you can hug each other.
  • Come to the front. Lean forward and hug the person in the wheelchair with both hands by the forearm or back. Do not press too hard, and, in some cases, keep a light distance. It depends on the closeness of your relationship and the patient’s feelings.
  • Hug from behind. If you are close to a person, gently approach from behind and put your head on the shoulders, hugging him or her. However, I advise you to do this with a warning so as not to scare anyone. The person in the wheelchair can reciprocate by touching you with his / her hands.

Etiquette Rules – What Is Possible & What Is Not Desirable?

Sick people can ride in a chair wherever they need. So, you can meet them anywhere. In some situations, we just need to know a few behaviors with such individuals. We are especially interested in the question when there is an acquaintance in our circle in the chair, right? I became intrigued by etiquette when my friend got into trouble. I asked my friend and a few other visitors of our store in the wheelchair what they liked and what annoyed them in the process of hugs or touches. I highlighted a few key features of wheelchair etiquette and wrote them down in the items dos and don’ts. So, let’s go.


  • Do ask if you need help before you can do it
  • Do pay attention to space where you are
  • Do ask the person before you hug
  • Do think before you speak
  • Do pay attention to the language of the face and body
  • Do take notice to details and spare parts of transport at hugs


  • Don’t put disability first
  • Don’t touch personal space
  • Don’t joke about disability in vain
  • Don’t hug too much
  • Don’t pity or glorify people with disabilities
  • Don’t lean on a wheelchair

Useful Video

People who are sick sometimes feel unnecessary in society. So, I think it’s worth hugging them more. Hugs are of great importance in the lives of everyone as well as for people with disabilities. They increase the production of oxytocin and have a positive effect on thoughts. Besides, this effect leads to better functioning of the body and all processes in general. However, I advise you to behave with the patient as an ordinary person. You must take into account his behavioral needs, characteristics, and condition of the body. But they do not interfere with reasonable communication and hugs.