4 Things to Consider Before Buying Manual Wheelchairs
If you are going to buy the best manual wheelchair, this guide will help you make the right choice as it covers various factors that revolve around your personal circumstances, different types of manual wheelchairs, practical requirements, and the accessories that might help you.
Know Your Needs
Before buying a wheelchair for a person who will be using it for all or most of the time, get a full seating assessment with the help of an occupational therapist or physiotherapist to get the correct chair and seating. Even if you don’t need a professional for an assessment, you need to focus on different things, such as mobility, tolerance, balance, posture, body weight, body height, skin condition, sight, perception, memory, and cognitive ability. All these factors are often affected by age, tiredness, medical or physical condition, and medicines.
How to Manage Getting In and Out of the Wheelchair
The mobility factor will dictate how the person will get in and out of the chair and which features you will need. If the person is able to walk short distances, he/she may manage it all without assistance. No matter if he/she needs assistance, it is necessary to put wheelchair brakes on before using it.
Many chairs have removable armrests to help with slide transfer. Every chair comes with footplates that you must move out of the way to avoid swiveling or flipping out. In case you choose a hoist to transfer, ensure that the hoist and the chair work together.
Align Your Wheelchair Specs with Your Body Shape and Size
A wheelchair is designed to provide comfort and well-being and not limit your body movement or cause discomfort. Thus, to avoid creating pressure points or limiting your movement within the chair, check out that:
The chair seat, back, and shoulder rests are the right size for you
The chair has room either side of your bottom and thighs
The chair has suitable pressure-relieving cushions
Measure the Wheelchair
The most important thing people should do before they buy manual wheelchairs is to measure the wheelchair. You should not feel squeezed into the chair. Rather, you should have enough space to move within the seat, rotate your upper body if possible, and move your arms. On the other hand, you also need support, especially if you find it hard to maintain the right posture. Therefore, measure the following parameters:
Seat width – the distance between the widest parts of your hips or thighs and count for extra 2cm distance on either side.
Seat depth – minus 2cm from the distance between the back of your bottom to the back of the knee.
Armrest height – the distance between the seat and your elbow when bent at a right angle
Lower leg length and seat height – the vertical distance between the back of the knee and the heel of the shoe
Back width – the widest distance across the back (below the armpit)
Backrest height – depends on how much support is needed
You can buy the best manual wheelchair that is either self-propelled or attendant-propelled based on who will be propelling the chair. For further guidance, it is best that you talk to professionals who can take every factor into account before suggesting the right wheelchair.