Here’s the first rule of the day: choosing a wheelchair is not an easy task.
In fact, it’s just as important as any life-changing decision you will ever make. Why? Not only do you have to consider the patients’ needs, but you also have to consider the types of wheelchairs out there.
There are both motorized wheelchairs to self-propelling ones, and choosing the best one can be complicated for both new and veteran wheelchair user. To help you, here are a few good tips to that will enable you find wheelchair that will suit your needs.
Is it for Short or Long-Term Use?
Buying expensive wheelchairs such as the motorized ones is probably not worthwhile if you are only going to use the wheelchair for a short while.
Therefore, the first step is to ask yourself the following question: is the wheelchair for short or long-term use? If it’s for the latter, a simple manual wheelchair such as self-propelling wheelchairs or push wheelchairs may be the better option. These are not only cheaper but are easy to get used to within a shorter time frame.
Conversely, when choosing a wheelchair for permanent conditions, you will have to pay more attention to the wheelchair cushion, ergonomics, and many other factors.
Based on your preferences, you can select either a motorized or manual wheelchair. You can also choose a lightweight wheelchair, or a sturdier, heavy one.
Consider the Wheelchair Build and Type
Irrespective of the duration, it’s advisable to procure motorized or self-propelling wheelchairs for those who without enough upper limb strength to propel themselves. In contrast, manual wheelchairs are ideal for people with enough upper body strength to push the wheels. For people who are able-bodied enough, it enables a high degree of independence.
Next, you have to consider the material of the wheelchair frame. Wheelchairs are mostly built from steel, aluminum, titanium, or carbon fiber. If sturdiness is important for you, steel wheelchairs provide the most strength and durability. However, steel is heavier than the other wheelchair types, so if you require something lightweight that is easy to move around, you may want to go with a wheelchair comprised of a material other than steel.
Does it Offer Ideal Support?
There are support options like cushions, lateral stabilizers, and safety belts. Note that less support is needed for those with high upper body strength. In fact, one would recommend a lightweight and ergonomic wheelchair for such individuals.
Consider the User’s Weight & Build
Here’s one tip that is crucial to keep in mind when choosing a wheelchair: Always take into account the physical attributes of the user before buying a wheelchair. This will make it less likely that you’ll have to return the product.
So, take accurate measurements of the user’s body to ensure that the chair is perfectly fitted. Let there be ample space for the user to adjust and maneuver while using a wheelchair.
Where will the Wheelchair Will be Used?
For someone who prefers outdoor activities, you can buy wheelchairs that are well suited to withstand the rigors of the environment.
Perhaps an all-terrain wheelchair with big traction tires and a strong frame would do the trick. Those who participate in sporting activities can look up sports wheelchairs fitted for their specific sport. Traditional wheelchairs, on the other hand, are well suited for a conventional lifestyle.
Vehicle accessibility is a concern for most wheelchair users. Power wheelchairs, despite their enhanced mobility, are considered too bulky for some vehicles. And yet it’s usually possible to modify cars to accommodate power wheelchairs. So, consider the compatibility of your preferred wheelchair with your vehicle before making the final buying decision.
Research the adjustments or modifications you can make to ease the process, and look into different type of ramps for your preferred wheelchair.
If you need help finding the perfect wheelchair for your needs, give us a call at 1.877.813.7799; we’re here to help you!