Welcome to a basic introduction in choosing a wheelchair. In this guide we will help you choose a wheelchair that is right for you.
Choosing a new wheelchair can be a daunting task, as there are so many designs to choose from. There are Electric Wheelchairs , Folding Wheelchairs , Rigid Frame Wheelchairs and the more specialised Sports Wheelchairs. The most common source of a first chair is usually from a Wheelchair Clinic by prescription, or bought from a commercial wheelchair company.
When choosing a new wheelchair, you should always try more than one before making your final choice. Also, you should take advice from occupational and physical therapists as to which types of chair you will need.
These professionals will help advise you as to which chair would best suit your needs according to:
- Level and type of injury
- Body Type
When you are looking at different wheelchairs, you should keep in mind the following considerations:
- How long will I be in my wheelchair?
- Will I need a specialist cushion to sit on which fits the chair.?
- Will I be using it outdoors or indoors?
- Will I be using my chair for sports ?
- Will I need a lightweight, standard or electric wheelchair ?
In addition to the above questions, there will also be other considerations to keep in mind such as:
- Fixed frame or Folding ?
- Color ?
- If it is electric, what is its speed ?
- Batteries , how long do they last between charges, and what type; gel or wet batteries ?
- What type of footrests, fixed, swing away, leg rests, leg elevation facility etc ?
- Type of seat, can the seat be elevated ?
- Does the wheelchair have armrests or a neck support ?
There are many other questions you should ask the supplier of the wheelchair as well such as:
- How long has the company been trading ?
- What warranty comes with the chair ?
- Does the frame have a lifetime warranty ?
- Would the supplier, or a supplier close to you be able to carry out a service of the chair ?
- If you have an old chair, would the supplier consider a part exchange ?
The above will help you reach your final decision. Do not rush into buying the first chair you see, take your time, try many different designs out, and talk to different suppliers to get the best price and service.
Remember, you may be spending a lot of your time in your wheelchair, so it needs to be right for you.