Anyone who has ever done a wheelchair marketing survey will know that wheelchairs come in various sizes and shapes and can range in price from $5,000 to $30,000. In this article we will look at ways to make choosing a wheelchair very simple.
There are two things to keep in mind before purchasing a wheelchair, they are:
1. How much assistance will you need?
2. Where are you going to be using it?
Manual or Electric?
The type of wheelchair that you require will be dependent on your condition. For example someone who has tetra-plegia would need an electric wheelchair with a joystick to move it around. However if you have good upper body strength especially in your arms, you might want to go with a manual wheelchair.
Why would you do a manual wheelchair over an electric one? Manual wheelchairs are much cheaper and lighter and the only weigh anywhere from 4 to 30 pounds, while electric wheelchairs weigh as much as 250 pounds.
Doorways and Hallways can be an Issue
Are you going to be using the wheelchair indoors or outdoors or both? You will also need to think about if you are going to be traveling with it. Going with a narrower wheelchair is always better because it can go through narrow doorways and hallways at home and in the workplace.
Accessibility is always crucial. You do not want you caught in an infuriating situation where due to the size it would be impossible to turn left or right.
Things to Keep in Mind
Size and weight of the wheelchair should be given top priority. It is those two features that will determine the maneuverability of the chair and therefore how much freedom you have.
A lightweight wheelchair that weighs between 25 to 35 pounds it’s much easier to lift into a car trunk. They are also convenient and easy to fold and carry while traveling. You cannot fold motorized wheelchairs.
Measurements to Keep in Mind
The next important criterion is the dimensions of the wheelchair. The two major things that you need to look are the seat width and the back support height. The width of the backside when sitting is the seat width.
The seat depth is measured from the back of the buttocks to the inside of the knee. The measurement from the top of the shoulder to your bottom is the back support height.
If you add an extra 8 inches to the seat width that will give you the overall width of the chair. Transport wheelchairs are usually much narrower and their overall width is only 3 inches wider than the seat width.
Ask Your Doctor
You can make your wheelchair much safer by adding seat belts, anti-tips, and brakes extensions. To make the wheel chair even more comfortable, you can add cushions and back supports.
The height of the back support will depend on the amount of head control, trunk control and upper body strength the user has. Your physical therapist will be a great tour in helping you customize the wheelchair for your needs.
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