Choosing the Best Wheel Chair
At Wishing U Well Medical Inc. we sell, rent and service all types of Wheelchairs. As a bonus to shopping with us, Wishing U Well Medical Inc. includes “Lifetime Free Labor Services” on all equipment sold through our store and have done so since our founding in 1996. Each day some individuals begin to lose the ability to perform basic “Daily Living Task” due to disorders arising from injuries, diseases, surgeries, and simple medical conditions that may occur throughout one’s lifespan.
Deciding if a Manuel Wheelchair is for You
Some people still may have enough upper body strength to self propel a manual wheelchair and can function quite well. In our opinion, as long as you can still move around under your own ability you should do your best to do so. As the saying goes, “use it or lose it” holds very true in a person’s abilities. Aside from the physical benefits, the mental status of the patient staying as independent as possible for as long as possible is probably priceless, but every individual is different so do what works best for you.
That being said, today’s manual wheelchairs are very easy to use. They come in various weights, sizes, and colors. The standard manual wheelchair can weigh around 40 pounds. An ultra-lightweight wheelchair can weigh about 20 pounds or even less. Keep in mind, the lighter the wheelchair the heavier the price tag since the type of materials used must be super lightweight but also super strong.
Standard Wheelchairs are 18” wide and have a weight limit of 250 pounds. But there are 20” to 36” with weight limits from 300 to about 800 pounds. They come in different widths to accommodate different sizes of users. I see many people fitting the wheelchair to the doors in the home instead of the patient’s size. That’s not a good recipe for success in the healing process. We sell special hinges that add an extra 2” of door space to accommodate a larger wheelchair.
Wheelchairs come with either standard length armrests, which make it easier for someone to use them as supports when standing. There’s also a Desk Arm Lengths which make it easier with getting closer to a desk or table. There’s a Reclining Wheelchair which can make it more comfortable for someone who needs to shift body weight and is also more comfortable to sit in for a long time.
The various wheelchairs suit many different skill and/or strength levels. I always recommend asking your doctor and/or your Physical Therapist to help determine your limitations which can assist in choosing the appropriate mobility device. More damage can be done when using an inappropriate piece of equipment.
Once you’ve determined that a manual wheelchair is best for your needs, you should then find an experienced Home Medical Equipment provider that not only can sell you the appropriate wheelchair but can maintain it with basic service or repairs should the need arise. Some people simply don’t have enough upper body strength to use a manual wheelchair regardless of the weight of the Wheelchair. (The Power Mobility option is discussed in the Power Mobility article).
The ability of the Caretaker must come into play because they are the ones who have to lift the Wheelchair in and out of the car when going places. At this point, it doesn’t matter what the patient’s abilities are because if the Caretaker is unable to lift the wheelchair, you won’t be going very far. However, there is another option called a “Transport Wheelchair”. These Wheelchairs do exactly what their name conveys which is to “Transport” the patient from the home to the car, the car to the Doctors office or other location and then reverse the process going home.
Transport wheelchairs usually fold down to a very compact size and can weigh less than 20lb making this a very manageable option for any Caretaker. Some people decide to use a manual chair around the home and only use the transport wheelchair when going out on errands or doctor appointments. The industry has even come up with a 2 in 1 option for space and/or convenience. There is a Deluxe version of the Transport Wheelchair which has larger rear wheels making it a smoother ride. There are the usual foot brakes but the deluxe also has hand brakes. Sometimes they will have adjustable height armrests.
I hope this article has given you some more insight into the wheelchair options available in today’s market. Don’t make a rash decision before talking with your healthcare professional and discuss your options,
Wishing U Well Medicals staff is ready to assist you with any questions you may have in your decision making process. Call us at 818-877-4613.