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It happens all too often, a person calls a wheelchair manufacturer looking to buy a wheelchair. When they are suddenly asked what size they are looking for the most common answer is “just the regular size”.
This is problem, would you go to a shoe shop and purchase the “regular size”? You have to remember that even if you are the caretaker or relative, the potential user should have the correct sized chair to suit their needs. With a wheelchair, the size can really be the most important factor of them all. Wheelchair sizing is very important when it comes to purchasing a chair.
Measuring for a Wheelchair
There are commonly cases where an individual did not inquire about specific sizing, and now they have more physical problems than they started with. Measuring for a wheelchair can be the most important decision you ever make. Usually a person who uses a wheelchair will spend a large amount of their time seated in the chair. Sometimes they can spend longer in the seat of chair than they do in their own bed.
Preventing Pressure Ulcers
When a wheelchair seat is too narrow for the user, it will cause friction on the user’s hips and upper leg area. This can result in the user experiencing pressure ulcers or sores developing from long term seating in a chair that is too narrow. Also if the seat is narrow and not meant for the individual, it can be really difficult for the user to transfer in and out of the chair.
This may lead to the user falling over or hurting them in the process of transferring. The user may also have stomach side pain, because the user is so tightly fitted in the chair, this can cause them to have further problems down the line.
If a wheelchair is too wide for the user, it will cause them to always want to lean to one side or the other for balance. This can cause the user to have posture issues, most notably they will strain their back from not being leveled while seated. When the user needs to propel them and the wheelchair is too wide, it can cause them to have to stretch their arms exceedingly, leading muscle strains or far worse, muscle tears.
Standard wheelchair seat to floor heights area:
Adult – 19 inches
Hemi – 17 1/2 inches
Super Hemi – 15 1/2 inches
Super Low – 14 1/2 inches