How to pick and maintain wheelchair

wheelchair

This article will look to aid you in the processes of wheelchair selection and wheelchair use. After reading through the article if you need to ask us anything please comment. We will try to answer you for sure.

Manual wheelchairs

These are in most cases ideal for people who need a wheelchair all or most of the time for mobility, who can walk quite possibly with a walking stick or frame or depending on strong solder – but struggling to cope with more distances, so try a manual wheelchair on an outing. You’ll need sufficient strength and movement in your arms to use a self-propelled wheelchair. If you aren’t able to manage this, you would be more suited to an attendant-propelled wheelchair, made to be pushed from behind by someone else. It’s important to note that most self-propelled wheelchairs may also have push-handles for extra help. Self-propelled wheelchairs have relatively larger back wheels, each with the outer ‘push-rim’ that you turn to control and propel the chair. These wheels lead to a bulkier chair, which is often more difficult to pack into the boot of a car. For this reason, if you’re picking a self-propelled chair, try to find one with quick-release wheels, now widely available. Attendant-propelled wheelchairs have relatively smaller back wheels, so are often lighter and much easier to transport.

Electric or powered wheelchairs

Sometimes called power driven or electric-assisted wheelchairs, this particular type would be ideal if you really do not have the strength or energy to use a self-propelled wheelchair, yet don’t wish to depend on being pushed or if you sometimes desire to take longer journeys in your wheelchair. There’s a range of models available, best split up into three categories:

Indoor/portable: to use at home, or even in places with smooth, even flooring surfaces such as shopping malls or lawns. Usually very easy to fold and fit in the boot of your car.
Outdoor: will likely have larger wheels for dealing with uneven terrain along with suspension. Usually can be used indoors, too, however their larger size may mean they don’t fit through some entrances.
Indoor/outdoor: intended to provide the best of both worlds. Definitely won’t be as portable and light as some models, nor as strong as others, but can provide a decent balance of features. Powered wheelchairs are known as being either Class 2, meaning they are used outside on pavements, or perhaps Class 3, to use on roads and pavements. They all are generally a lot heavier than manual wheelchairs as their frame must be stronger in an effort to support the motors and battery. Remember this when thinking about the simplicity of transporting a wheelchair.


Drive controls on electric wheelchairs

The most typical sort of ‘drive control’ on an electric wheelchair is a joystick attached to one of the armrests. The theory is that, these are quite simple, although they could possibly prove hard to learn.  You may initially see the controls being over or under-sensitive, however it should be an easy task to have them adjusted to fit you.

Batteries and storage

Batteries are charged by mains electricity, so the wheelchair should generally be stored next to a socket for charging overnight. Some of the larger outdoor-type wheelchairs may need to be stored outside the home – in a garage, for example.

Ramps

If you have steps up to your house or small changes of level inside, portable ramps are essential. They are available in various materials, widths and lengths, depending on your needs, so do your research before buying.

Maintenance of a Wheel Chair in Home or Hospital

Maintaining your wheelchair can be easy if you have some information on how to keep your wheelchair in top shape. This section includes pointers on how to maintain your wheelchair.

Points for maintaining a manual wheelchair:

Upon purchase:

  • Store your owner’s manual in a safe place for future reference.
  • Use a car wax on the chair frame to make future cleaning easier. Store tools in a pouch, bag or container on your chair for use in a maintenance emergency.
  • Purchase a hand-pump to inflate tires and carry it with you.
  • Learn how to change your tires.
  • Purchase a tire “patch” kit and carry it with you.

Daily maintenance:

  • Keep loose objects or lap cover away from the wheel spokes.
  • Wipe chair down with clean damp rag.
  • Lift the footplates up before getting in or out of the chair.
  • It’s a good practice to always lock the brakes before getting in and out of the wheelchairs

Weekly maintenance:

  • Inspect front casters for wobbling, excessive play and alignment.
  • Inspect wheels to ensure spokes from the axle to the rim are intact, and that rims are not bent.
  • Check tire pressure.
  • Clean axle housings of any debris.
  • Check that wheel locks/brakes are secured tightly to the frame and are easily activated.

Monthly maintenance:

  • Check your wheel alignment.
  • After a thorough cleaning, use a car wax on the frame to make the next cleaning easier.
  • Check for loose nuts and bolts.
  • Check for easy release and replacement of removable leg rests, footrests, armrests and backrests.
  • Check that quick-release axles remove quickly.
  • Inspect chair frame for cracks.

Annual maintenance:

  • Lubricate ball-bearings.
  • Check that folding chairs open and fold easily. Lubricate folding mechanism.
  • Lubricate all pivot points.

Points for maintaining an electric (power) wheelchair:

Daily maintenance:

  • Before transferring into or out of the device always turn the wheelchair OFF
  • Charge your Batteries: Never allow your battery to run down entirely. If your batteries are having difficulty keeping a charge, have your chair serviced as soon as possible.
  • Listen to your Motor Become familiar with the sounds it makes what is “normal” ‰
  • Wipe down the seat and frame with a dry or slightly damp, soft cloth: Keep dust and grime to a minimum.
  • ALWAYS keep protective plastic covers (“shrouds”) in place: Shrouds do not only add to the aesthetics of your chair, but in addition will help protect your electronics from exposure to moisture or fluid spills. If the shroud becomes damaged it should be replaced.
  • IMMEDIATELY clean up moisture and spills. DO NOT allow moisture of any kind to come in contact with electric parts. If significant fluid exposure to the electronics appears to have occurred, use of device should be discontinued. The device should then be examined by a service professional.
  • Inspect upholstery for rips. ‰

Monthly maintenance:

  • Checks wheels for cracks and wear. Replace if necessary.
  • Wheelchairs should be examined during maintenance for signs of corrosion due to exposure to fluids.
  • Inspect seat-positioning strap for any signs of wear.
  • Electrical components damaged by corrosion should be replaced IMMEDIATELY. ‰
  • Ensure buckle latches and verify hardware that attaches strap to frame is secure and undamaged. Strap should be in good condition and free from tears or fraying. Replace if necessary. Inspect electrical components for apparent signs of corrosion. Replace if corroded or damaged.

FAQs about Wheel Chairs

What wheelchair sizes are available?

Wheelchairs are available in many sizes. Small children’s models come in many different types to fit kids of all ages. Adult wheelchairs can be found in many sizes, so individuals will find one that is perfect for them. Consider the maneuverability of your wheelchair plus the weight capacity while comparing sizes.

What are the different types of manual wheelchairs?

There are certain varieties of manual wheelchairs to provide users with various options. Large rear-wheel chairs, designed with a tubular ring, allow people to maneuver their wheelchairs without the need of assistance. Manual wheelchairs that are supposed to be pushed by a second person are much lighter and made to be user friendly.

What should I look for when considering portability?

A lot of wheelchairs feature light-weight frames and fold easily for placement inside trunk or backseat of any car. Larger rear-wheel-propelled chairs may possibly also fold for storage, but they’re heavier than many other designs and may be tough to load into a car or truck. Some manual wheelchairs have adjustable or removable armrests and wheels, letting them fit into small spaces. Assess your mobility needs while comparing manual wheelchairs.

What are the important safety features to consider?

Manual wheelchair needs some key safety measures. Try to find locking brakes on the back wheels to hold the wheelchair stationary as required. Removable or retractable leg and foot rests retain the user comfortable and safe. Some models feature a safety belt or a seat harness for anyone with specific support needs, and seat cushions made out of gel or weight absorbing material may decrease the development of sores and promote comfort level.

Having read this article you are now equipped with the right knowledge towards selecting and maintaining a wheelchair.

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