Wheelchair Guide: Brand New Guidelines
Purchasing a used wheelchair is an economical option, but worn seats and damaged hardware may create an uncomfortable feeling for the user. Buying a brand new wheelchair is an investment in a loved one's health. Consider several factors before deciding on a model. Your insurance may pay for the bulk of the cost.
Two main wheelchair types are common in the healthcare industry. Transport wheelchairs have four matching wheel sizes and may not fold easily. These wheelchairs work well for people who are being pushed on short trips. In contrast, large rear wheel models are typical for everyday use. The large wheels allow the user to push themselves across the ground without a companion. These wheelchairs fold quickly and easily into a basic vehicle trunk for trips outside the home.
When you buy a wheelchair, you need it to fit in a car trunk or handicap-accessible van. Bring your measuring tape with you when you shop for a brand new chair. Most wheelchairs have a 20- to 21-inch height above the ground for the seat. If you have an extremely tall or short person, they may need a different seat height to be comfortable. Measure all wheelchair dimensions to ensure that you have the best chair for your loved one.
Because a loved one may sit in the seat for many hours, choose a seat size that provides a comfortable width. In general, seat sizes vary between 10 and 24 inches wide. Ask your loved one to sit in various seats to determine the best size for comfort.
Arm and Leg Rests
Ask your loved one to sit in the prospective wheelchair. Place the arms and legs in the rests to see the comfort level. No chair parts should chafe or rub on the person's body. They should also be easily removable or swingaway types for easy access into and out of the chair.
Select foam, gel or air cushions for your seat. Some seats use a contouring shape to help the person's posture improve. At the very minimum, choose a seat with a 1.5-inch width. This thickness provides enough cushioning for comfort as your loved one sits for several hours.
Ask your wheelchair company about warranty times and coverage. These chairs take a lot of abuse, but must remain durable for many years. Choosing a quality chair allows your loved one to stay mobile and safe at the same time.
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