When buying a wheelchair, wheelchair users do not feel confined.
What matters when buying a wheelchair?
An individual with paralysis can move around as quickly in a wheelchair as anyone else can by walking.
Wheelchair offers people the opportunity to work or shop or do other tasks outside their home.
In certain ways, a wheelchair is similar to a bicycle.
It comes in various designs and styles to select from, including lightweights, power models, recliners, bariatric, ergonomic, etc.
With so many options available in the market, selecting the right Wheelchair, especially for a first-time wheelchair user, can be quite confusing.
If the fit is not right, the user cannot get comfortable and will not achieve maximum function out of it.
How To Choose a Wheelchair?
Therefore, it is always a great idea to ask an occupational therapist (OT) who has adequate experience with several wheelchairs.
This ultimate wheelchair buying guide for 2021 offers insight into the wheelchair purchasing process, along with highlighting the most popular wheelchair models and how to decide which Wheelchair is the right fit for you.
When picking out a Wheelchair, there are many aspects to consider, for instance, the propulsion method, wheelchair type, mechanism of control, and most importantly, the technology used.
Wheelchair Propulsion Method
Mainly there are two types of propulsion mechanisms, and they are:
These are made with Larger Rear Wheels, front casters as well as hand rims.
The patients use them to move without any assistance.
The larger rear wheels make it easier to move over the grass or other rough terrains.
In addition, unlike the Self-Propel Wheelchairs, these have smaller wheels, and they rely on the user being pushed around with assistance.
They are used in Nursing Homes, Hospitals as well as Airlines.
Their lightweight, along with the presence of ‘Attendant Brakes,’ allows the carer to move the Wheelchair easily down the speed hills or lock it for safety when needed.
Wheelchair Types & Weight
Weight is one of the most crucial factors to take into account when purchasing a wheelchair.
It has a direct impact on transporting the chair with safe lifting.
These weigh about 26 to 40 lbs and are available in both self-propel and transit models for use.
These are priced economically to suit all budgets.
These are lighter in weight, around 13 to 29lbs, and are easier to move.
They are also available in both self-propel as well as transit models.
Furthermore, these are designed for Bariatric users.
These wheelchairs are made of durable metals such as steel, weighing around 30 to 65lbs.
Heavy Duty Wheelchairs:
These can change the patient’s orientation in the Wheelchair and allow them to lie at their back.
They are designed to maintain a wide range of motions and to prevent blisters, help in the management of spasticity while increasing the sitting tolerance.
How to Choose the Right Size of Wheelchair?
Furthermore, choosing the appropriate size wheelchairs plays a crucial role in both the comfort and propulsion bio-mechanisms of the Wheelchair.
In addition, there are various factors to take into account, such as Seat width, Depth, height, Backrest, and armrest.
Impact of Seat Width of Wheelchair
The seat width of the Wheelchair impacts the comfort along with the performance of the Wheelchair.
The seat width should be wide enough to provide appropriate weight distribution.
It should also be narrow enough to allow for the easy manipulation of your Wheelchair.
In addition, if the seat of the Wheelchair is too wide, then it will lead to unasked for position changes and poor posture.
This makes it quite difficult to access the wheels, which ultimately increases the risk of getting an injury.
Furthermore, if the seat of the Wheelchair is too narrow, it is going to be less stable as well as less comfortable to maneuver.
Seat Depth Importance of the Wheelchair
The seat Depth of the Wheelchair is just as important as the width for comfort and biomechanics of the Wheelchair.
Don’t forget this when buying a wheelchair.
If the seat is too short, it will overload the buttocks and increase the pressure care risks, which will affect the maneuverability by putting too much weight on the castors.
Vice versa, if the seat is too deep, it will put pressure behind the knees, which will lead to a slumped posture, and that can affect the pressure care along with the propulsion of the Wheelchair.
Impact of the Leg Length of Wheelchair
The Wheelchair’s leg length Wheelchair establishes the adequate height of the footplates, which will let part of the bodyweight be taken by the feet.
Seat Height Importance of the Wheelchair
The seat should be high enough to take the weight off the user’s feet, but at the same time also low enough to fit under the table comfortably.
When considering the Seat Height, you should also consider the height of the cushion you will be using.
Importance of the Height of Wheelchair Backrest
The height of the backrest is dependent on the degree of disability.
Ideally, a backrest that provides appropriate tension for a well-seated position and provides freedom of movement is a good choice.
For people with postural concerns, a higher backrest with increased stability can be a good fit.
Whereas, for users looking for additional arm freedom, a lower backrest is a great option.
You should be able to rest your forearms comfortably.
It should not extend too far to become an obstacle.
At TOUSDA, we believe that there is no one size fits all wheelchairs, and it depends on the personal circumstances and the needs of the users.
However, feel free to contact us if you require any assistance with choosing a wheelchair, and our helpful staff will get back to you with appropriate recommendations.