Wheelchairs are often viewed as an extension of the user's body as it helps people restore mobility by compensating for temporary or permanent walking incapacity, difficulty, or fatigue. Wheelchairs indicate a return to freedom in the collective psyche that is significantly more important than the symbol of inability they represent.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all wheelchair nowadays. They come in various designs and sizes and are available in various shapes, sizes, and patterns. What you choose can significantly impact how comfortable you are, how easy it is to navigate, and how satisfied you are with your purchase.
How To Choose The Right One
Buying a wheelchair is a substantial financial commitment; some people could even compare buying mobility equipment to buying a car. You'll use it daily, relying on it to get you from point A to point B, and you'll want to personalise it to suit your preferences.
Wheelchairs are more than mobility aids; they are an extension of the body that allows people to reclaim their independence and travel the globe. They come in various shapes and sizes to meet the demands of the many people who use them. They aid in the treatment of both transient and long-term illnesses.
Maintaining your mobility is vital, whether you need a mobility aid for a few days or the rest of your life. It can significantly affect your emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
Here are a few aspects to consider before you invest in one.
How Long Will You Be Using It?
It is important to remember that not everyone who needs a wheelchair utilises it most of the day. In some cases, it is used as backup transportation or in substitution for another type of mobility aid.
Is your wheelchair going to be your predominant means of transportation, or will you only use it in certain circumstances? Will you only use it for a short time, or will it become a permanent part of your life?
A simpler manual wheelchair may be suitable for short-term usage. Still, customers seeking a permanent wheelchair should look for one offering more support options, skin protection, and a custom fit.
What Level Of Assistance Do You Require?
A high-back wheelchair or a chair with additional safety and support elements such as safety belts, headrests, and lateral stabilisers may be useful if your motor control is poor or you have problems supporting your upper and bottom body.
Suppose you need a little less support but will be using it full-time; in that case, a lightweight, ergonomic mobility aid is a great compromise between a basic manual wheelchair and an ultra-supportive high-back chair.
How Tall, How Heavy, And What Body Type Do You Have?
It's crucial to think about the size and weight of the primary user since not only do you want to make sure that the wheelchair you choose can handle your weight, but you also want to make sure that it's constructed and set correctly to provide good posture support.
Taking correct body measurements is crucial in selecting the best chair for your needs, as it ensures that the chair you select is custom-fit to your body, maintains your posture, and keeps you comfortable. This meticulous measuring is less required for short-term chair demands; however, weight capacity and height are still critical.
Do You Have A Propensity For Pressure Ulcers Or Skin Breakdown?
Pressure sores or wounds develop from repeated, irritating pressure to the same area of the body, usually the more bony prominences. In contrast, skin shear refers to the force of gravity that pushes down on the body with resistance between the user and their wheelchair. Both conditions are painful, difficult to treat, and can lead to more serious problems.
Wheelchair users, similar to people who spend a lot of time sitting, are more likely to develop pressure wounds and skin shearing. One of the best ways to avoid this is to use an ergonomic or tilt-in-space wheelchair specifically designed to offload pressure, friction, and shear.
Is The Design Reclining Or Upright?
A reclining feature enables patients who spend most of their time in their wheelchair or rely on it to provide a high degree of upper body stability to adjust positioning without leaving the chair.
People who get tired of sitting upright all day can benefit from tilt-in-space wheelchairs, which allow them to recline at different angles, reducing fatigue and improving overall sitting endurance and tolerance.
Are You Able To Push Your Wheelchair On Your Own?
Some people can propel themselves at all times, while others can only do so occasionally. A manual wheelchair is an excellent choice if you can and want to push your wheelchair independently, and a Power Wheelchair is the best option if you are unable or unwilling to move your wheelchair on your own.
Because each patient has unique physical requirements, it is critical to consider which mobility aid is best for you or your loved one. A manual wheelchair is an excellent choice for users with good upper body strength or who are only limited in mobility from the waist down.
Sources:How to Choose the Best Wheelchair [Updated for 2020]
Choosing the right wheelchair - Buying Guides MedicalExpo