How to Choose a Wheel Chair
A wheel chair is simply a tool to help people move around. But there are so many different kinds of wheel chairs on the market and choosing one can be confusing. Making a bad decision can cost you a lot of money in the long run. This is why it is important to try and find the ideal wheel chair for your situation. It doesn't matter if you're getting the chair for yourself or a patient; there are some basic things you should consider.
Choosing a Good Wheel Chair
Not many people know it, but there are two types of wheel chairs: a standard wheel chair and a transport wheel chair. The standard wheel chair has two large wheels in back and two small wheels in front. When a person uses a standard wheel chair, they can actually roll themselves around wherever they want to go. All they have to do is use their arms to turn the two large wheels in back. Another person can also push a standard wheel chair by gripping and pushing the handles on the back of the chair.
A transport wheel chair is made for pushing only. It doesn't have two big wheels in back of it. Instead, a transport wheel chair has four small wheels. When a person uses a transport wheelchair, they must have a companion push the chair for them. Healthcare facilities use both standard and transport wheel chairs. However, a person who needs a wheel chair to get around will always need a standard model. Even if the chair is automatic and runs on a battery, it's still a standard model.
You also have to consider the weight of the wheel chair. This is especially important if you're buying a wheel chair for a healthcare facility. A person who doesn't weigh a lot can use a lighter wheel chair. A heavier person will need a heavier wheel chair. The wheel chair description should let you know how much weight the chair can handle. A light wheelchair can usually handle up to 250 pounds. Anything heavier than that and you'll need to get a heavier wheel chair.
The next thing is to check the seat size of the wheel chair. The standard size is usually between 18 to 20 inches wide, but other sizes are available. The height of the wheel chair is also important. If the chair is too low, it will be uncomfortable for the user. Their feet might drag on the ground or their legs might be forced into an uncomfortable position. But if the chair is too high, the user might have a hard time getting out of the chair.
You also have to concern yourself with the footrests, armrests, and leg rests. These three components are important. A wheel chair without them can be uncomfortable and difficult to use. For example, adjustable armrests can be adjusted to suit each user and armrest cushions provide added comfort. Removable armrests can be removed if the user finds them uncomfortable. Leg rests can provide better leg support and make the ride more comfortable. Some leg rest can even swing away from the chair making it easier to enter.
Other wheel chair accessories you might be interested in include: reclining backrests, anti-tippers, head positioners, lap huggers, oxygen tank holders, wheelchair scales, lap trays, urinary drainage bag holders, wheel lock extensions and wheelchair cushions.
These are just some basic guidelines to help you pick the best wheel chair for your situation. If you're shopping for a healthcare facility, you'll probably want both the standard and transport wheel chair. If you're shopping for a home user, then you only need a standard wheel chair. Just do your research, and then pick the wheel chair that you think is best.