How to Choose the Best Wheelchair
Besides mobility aids, wheelchair is one of the most common used assistive devices to promote mobility and enhance quality of life for people who have difficulties in walking. Buying a suitable wheelchair is not always simple. Everyone has their own individual preferences and particular needs. Therefore, choosing the right and best wheelchair is vital to enable you to maximize your mobility, providing the right posture, as well as preventing chronic discomfort or other medical problems.
Bestmade is here to give you the best guidance in choosing the most suitable and best wheelchair based on specific user requirements.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF WHEELCHAIRS?
Wheelchairs are designed in a variety of sizes & features. When selecting one, it is essential to take the user’s mobility requirements into account.
Standard Manual Wheelchairs
Standard Manual Wheelchairs are the most common and traditional wheelchairs in the market. They are durable, economical, and offer the most basic features. Manual wheelchairs can be either attendant-propelled or self-propelled.
Self-propelled wheelchairs are typically preferred by those who can get around on their own. The wheelchair came with large back wheels that allow the user to steer and push the wheelchair by their own, but most are also equipped with handles on the back of the wheelchair for pushing purposes. Non-self-propelled wheelchairs are ideal for people who do not have the ability to move themselves. These wheelchairs come with smaller rear wheels and require a caregiver to push the wheelchair.
Reclining wheelchairs are suitable for people who are having difficulty remaining in a permanent position for extended periods of time. The backrest section of these wheelchairs can be reclined, and the angle can be easily adjusted based on the need of customers.
Transport wheelchairs are most often used by people who don’t need to be in a wheelchair all the time or for travel. These wheelchairs are available in various sizes and weights, and they are easy to dismantle, fold, and transport.
Electric wheelchairs allow users the option to travel without tiring their arms out. They are preferred by people who are unable or are not strong enough to move the wheelchair themselves. Electric wheelchairs tend to be bigger and heavier, so it’s important to think about access and storage when purchasing one.
There are many other wheelchair styles available, including power chairs, heavy duty, scooters, lightweight wheelchairs, ultralight transport chairs. Whichever type of wheelchairs you choose, make sure the user fits comfortably.
HOW TO DETERMINE PROPER WHEELCHAIR FIT
When searching for a proper wheelchair fit for the user, assessing all product features are essential. An improper fit can cause discomfort, pressure sores, and bad postures. Keep the physical weight, height, and width of the equipment in mind. Wheelchair measurements are important for users to have a comfortable chair that meets all their needs.
Most wheelchairs have a seat width between 16 and 20 inches. You can determine the proper width by measuring the user’s hips from one end to the other. To avoid the pressure wounds, ensure that their hips do not touch the sides of the wheelchair. The seat depth should be about one or two inches away from the back of the knee to prevent blood vessel constrictions in the legs.
The height of the seat is also important for users who need to use their feet to move. The lower the seat, the easier it will be for the user to get in and out. Pay attention to the product’s weight limits and choose a wheelchair that can support them safety.
7 IMPORTANT WHEELCHAIRS’ FEATURES TO CONSIDER
Here are 7 important wheelchair features you should consider when purchase a wheelchair.
MANUAL OR ELECTRIC?
This is perhaps the most important decision you will have to make when choosing a wheelchair. Do you prefer a more traditional manual wheelchair or a more powerful electric wheelchair? If you have limited mobility, need extra assistance, or convenience, an electric wheelchair is a better choice here.
But, if you only need a wheelchair temporarily, a manual wheelchair may be better to suit your needs. Some people simply prefer one style over the other based on personal preference or cost factors.
If you prefer a manual wheelchair, you will need to choose between a self-propelled or attendant- propelled mode. Wheelchairs with larger wheels and hand rims are the wheelchair that you can operate on your own. Examples of such wheelchair are: Moven Supreme Wheelchair and Moven Q05 Wheelchair models.
WHEELCHAIR SIZE AND DIMENSIONS
When choosing a right wheelchair, it is very important to find a wheelchair that is of the correct size. The wrong size will cause you to have issues fitting in the wheelchair which is either too small or slipping out of it as it’s too big. Make sure to measure the width and height when purchase a wheelchair.
ARM AND FOOT RESTS
Arm and foot rests are other features that need to look into when purchase a wheelchair. Arm and foot rests are designed to provide support and comfort. They also need to be sturdy and secured when you are transferring in and out of your wheelchair. There are different types of arm and foot rest to consider when purchase a wheelchair. They come in different lengths, shapes, ability to move, and swing away arm and leg rests, which provides you with greater comfort, manoeuvrability, and flexibility.
STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION
It’s important to choose a model that does not only meet your mobility needs at home but wherever you travel. Storing and transporting your wheelchair doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Always consider the chair dimension and your vehicle or mode transportation together. If you drive a car, consider a lightweight wheelchair is better choice compared with a standard wheelchair due to easy to fold & lightweight.
The wheels are another important feature to match your mobility needs. For example, if you use your wheelchair outdoors frequently, you will need a more durable tyre that is designed to operate on multiple surfaces. For example, Honey Comb Tyre, provides excellent shock-free, which is ideal for various types of road condition. You also want tyres that are low in maintenance such as foam filled tyres. They are less likely to go flat.
TILT AND BACK SUPPORT
The amount of tilt and back support requires vary based on your needs, mobility, size, and other factors. It’s essential you find a wheelchair that provides you with the right amount of back and head support. If you need a lot of support, tilt in space wheelchairs provide you with a variety of positioning options. This allows you to adjust the wheelchair to meet your needs and ensure you are completely comfortable.
INDOOR OR OUTDOOR WHEELCHAIR AND MANEUVERABILITY
A lot of wheelchairs can be used both indoors and outdoors. Some are designed for special temporary use. This is the case for commode wheelchairs, which are used for showers or toilets. It’s important to consider whether the wheelchair will be used indoor or outdoor. The smaller the wheel, the more manoeuvrable the wheelchair will be indoors, and the larger the front wheels, the better the wheelchair will overcome obstacles on different types of road conditions.
The wheelchair is one of the most commonly used assistive devices to promote mobility and enhances quality of life for people who have difficulties in walking. Wheelchair mobility opens up opportunities for wheelchair users to study, work, engage in social activities and access services such as healthcare. To ensure effective mobility, wheelchair users need a wheelchair which fits them correctly and meets their specific needs.