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The transition from a walker to a wheelchair can be challenging for most people. Some feel as if walking is no longer a possibility and they are finally succumbing to the inevitable.
Even worse is the feeling they might get when they think they are quickly becoming an invalid. It doesn’t have to be this way. As a friend or family member, you can do a number of things to make the transition smoother.
If you are working with patients that need a wheelchair, you probably have to guide them through the transition period. It will require lots of patience and understanding. A physical therapist might also be helpful during this period. You will need to think of the psychological and physical considerations during this process.
Speaking with your Physician
Consulting with a doctor or occupational therapist is the first step when going through this transition. Make use of an attending physician if the patient is already in hospital. Give them any important info that would be helpful for the walker user so the doctor will better know how to help.
By consulting with trained professionals, you will know what type of wheelchair is best suited for the user. You will need to decide if to go with an electric wheelchair or a manual wheelchair. You will need to look at how the user can benefit from using either chair or what features are most suitable for the circumstances.
Self-Propelling a Wheelchair
Keep in mind that a manual wheelchair will require that the user have good upper body strength. Although an electric wheelchair might be the preferred option, it doesn’t provide any exercise to the user like the manual wheelchair does.
Where will the patient be using the wheelchair most often? Be sure the surroundings are suitable for a wheelchair. Can they move around the space without bumping into things?
Will the patient need a caregiver during the transition period? It should at least be considered for the first few days.
There are many people who can help with the transition from walker to wheelchair. Keep these considerations in mind and don’t be afraid to ask for help if needed. This will make the transition smooth and simple.
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