Preventing Injuries On A Wheelchair

Preventing Injuries

Common injuries include soft tissue and nerve damage, sprains, abrasions and contusions. The most frequently injuries parts involve the shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, and wrist.

Preventing any type of injury first involves identifying the cause of the injury in the first place. More often than not, wheelchair injuries are related to the design and selection of the wheelchair involved.

preventing falls on a wheelchair

Falls Reduction Related to Wheelchair Use

Many wheelchair related falls have to do with relatively standard abstractions. Things such as unlocked brakes, tipping chairs, and unassisted transfers are all basic matters but result in over 50% of all injuries.

For safety reasons, always prevent over reaching and sliding as these are very dangerous as well and often result in injuries.

Most Common Causes of Falls from Wheelchairs

One of the most important features of a wheelchair is the design and fit of the chair. It is important to choose a wheelchair that suits you best. Wheelchair size and capacity are very important factors when it comes to safety. Poor quality wheelchairs are the offenders in this case.

A bad fit a chair can cause an overall lower seat which can lead to sliding. If a seat lacks depth, there is a much higher chance of tipping when leaning forward. Always remember to adjust a wheelchair before use. Tweaks such as dual axel and arm rest adjustments can be the difference between night and day.

Manual Wheelchair Safety & Comfort

Size is one of the most important things that should be considered when looking into a wheelchair. A mismatched size for an individual is the leading cause of injury. Wheelchair type is also very important.

Always make sure to purchase the right type of wheelchair for the right use. These factors are very important and should always be taken into consideration when it comes to avoiding injuries.

Training To Prevent Injury

Preventing injuries and other complications involves proper training. When training a caregiver make sure to demonstrate things such as: operating foot pedals, correct method of folding the chair and most importantly how to properly transfer to a car, bed, toilet or chair.

Also remember to correctly demonstrate how to operate on ramps. Always remember that for up ramps, the direction is forward and for down ramps, the direction is backwards. Remember to demonstrate the correct procedures for mobility over tough environments such as rough ground or gravel.

Fall Reduction Related to Wheelchair Use

Preventing falls on a wheelchair

Bus Lifts

As our environment is becomes more and more adapted to the needs of the handicapped, things like disabled assistance, ease of access pathways, and wheelchair ramps are becoming increasingly common throughout our cities and suburbs. Remember to always use the necessary instruction when it comes to operating any type of machinery.

Wheelchair lifts are a common method of transportation that doesn’t require a transfer. Make sure to secure everything in place before operating any type of lift as they can be quite dangerous. 

Chair Cushions

You can tell a lot about the quality of a wheelchair by its cushions. For many, wheelchair cushions are probably one of the most important aspects of a wheelchair since it a great signifier of its quality. Wheelchair cushions come in different shapes and sizes.

Common types of wheelchair cushions include: open cell foam, memory foam, multiple density foam, wedge, anti-thrust, wedge, and gel. Each type of cushion has its strengths and weaknesses. Be sure to pick the type of cushions the suits your needs most.

Anti-Rollback Brakes

Rolling back injuries are one of the leading causes of injury for individuals in wheelchairs. Thankfully, there is a simpler solution keeping a wheelchair still. Anti-rollback brakes exist solely to prevent movement when a situation arises that requires the wheelchair still. Anti-rollback brakes are a must have for independent transfers.

However, one must always make sure to adjust the brakes to prevent excess pressure on the ischial tuberosity. If you don’t know what that is, it could almost literally be defined as a pain in the butt. It’s pretty much swelling of a join in the pelvis.

Getting Out

Why do individuals attempt to get out of their chairs? Well the answer is actually quite simple. It’s a handful of factors that have to do with a person’s current condition. An individual may be uncomfortable or possibly fatigued and in pain. Or they might just be really bored due to the lack of engagement with others.

More often than not, a person in a wheelchair is left in front of a TV or simply just in their room. This can cause agitation which leads to a handicapped individual trying to self transfer when they clearly cannot.

Repositioning

Repositioning is very common amongst humans. We all do it. This is no different for people in wheelchairs. When we feel uncomfortable or irritated, we reposition ourselves to a more suited, comfortable position. When caring for an individual in a wheelchair, always make sure that they are comfortable.

If you seen them constantly shifting around or trying to make themselves comfortable, ask them if you can do anything to assist.

 

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