Buildings and Facilities Provision for Wheelchairs

People who have difficulty walking, those suffering from a personal injury or illness and people with physical disabilities have no other choice but to use a wheelchair for mobility. Standard wheelchairs are made up of a seat, backrest, footrest, 2 small front casters and two large rear wheels. While regular wheelchairs exist, the disabled person has many choices of wheelchairs to choose from that would meet their exact requirements.

Chairs have a number of features that can be personalized to maximize the comfort of the user such as, individualized seat size, correct seat to floor height and correct position of controls to mention a few. Other option accessories can be requested such as safety belts, anti-tip bars, adjustable brackets, mounts for crutches, drink holders and oxygen tanks etc.

Wheelchair Propulsion System

Multidirectional movement can be done using an omniwheel or mecanum wheel. These are only provided when absolutely necessary since the controls are a bit more complicated than the regular controls.

Wheelchair propulsion falls into one or more of these 3 categories: self-propulsion, attendant-propulsion, and electric powered. The condition of the disabled person will determine the most appropriate wheelchair for the user.

Attendant-propelled wheelchairs have handles at the back that allow for easy pushing. 4 to 5 ampere rechargeable batteries run the power chairs. Batteries come in both wet and dry cell types, but the dry cells are the more popular one.

Pediatric wheelchairs are specially designed for expectant mothers. Special wheelchairs for sports are also available. They are designed to be quick and easy to use and have excellent maneuverability.

Wheelchair Accessibility

According to The American with Disabilities Act of 1990 it is mandatory to provide ease of operation provisions for wheelchair users. All new construction for public use must comply with the ADA standards.

Special wheelchair ramps and elevators are included at construction that allows those with disabilities to use the building without undue hardship. Some specific wheelchair accessible in new construction includes powered doors, lower heights on sink fixtures, large toilets and grabs bars for easy maneuvering.

Hospitals that have limited floors are required to have ramps on all floors. However, in taller hospitals, ramps are only required on the first 3 floors. It should be easy for a wheelchair user to go to any floor without difficulty via lifts or elevators.

Wheelchair ramps have to be constructed properly to avoid slipping going up or down. Older buildings can make use of portable wheelchair ramps to provide accessibility to wheelchair users. Portable wheelchair ramps also come in useful at airports, bus and train stations to make boarding and leaving easier for wheelchair users.
 

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