The Basic Goals Behind the Selection of Transport and Manual Wheelchairs
At the simplest level, the wheelchair that is chosen should be stable enough to allow for easy transfers. It should also be light enough that someone can push it or fold it up and place it into a vehicle without straining any muscles. Your wheelchair should be comfortable, safe, and easy to use.
Since transport wheelchairs are designed to allow an individual to push another person from one place to another, they should have comfortable handles that are easy to grip and hold onto while pushing the chair. Choosing a model with a seatbelt and rear wheel locks creates a safety measure that can help to reduce the risk of unnecessary falls.
Optimal Goals for Wheelchair Selection
Most clinicians and physicians recommend looking for equipment that is going to optimize an individual's sense of independence. Part of that strategy is to select wheelchairs that are designed not only for functionality but also for comfort. Therefore, it is important to select a chair that is suitably designed for the individual who is going to use it.
One important feature to consider is the back rest of the wheelchair. Several sizes are available, accommodating the needs of individuals of different heights. The most common sizes are 16, 17, 18, and 19 inches. Models that enable the placement of customized back inserts promote comfortable seating.
Many chairs have built-in features that make it easier to use the equipment safely. For example, a removable back rest simplifies the task of transferring a person from the chair to another type of seat, the car, or a bed. Choosing a wheelchair with tool-free adjustable leg, foot, and arm rests may enhance the comfort of the individual who sits in the chair.
Using Pressure Mapping to Help Reduce Skin Sores
A relatively new process, the use of pressure mapping during a clinical seating evaluation helps to minimize the risk of skin damage in individuals who are at greater risk of this problem. If a person is concerned about developing skin soreness when using the wheelchair, pressure mapping can be used to address the issue.
When Should You Upgrade Your Wheelchair or Transport Chair?
Any time the user gains or loses a lot of weight the fit and stability of the wheelchair should be reconsidered. If a chair is not adjusted as the user’s body changes, the level of comfort while sitting can be compromised. Moreover, damage to the skin should be viewed as a sign that the chair is not providing a comfortable fit. In some cases, minor modifications are sufficient, and in other instances, the chair must be replaced.
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