There are many different types of wheelchairs available, some of which are designed for users who have complex requirements and who need to spend significant periods of time in the chair. If possible, educate yourself on what is available as this will make you a better advocate for yourself. The best way to do this is to talk to other users. There are many websites online that you will find as a good starting point.
Advice on more specialist needs is available from your therapist or local wheelchair specialist such as Moorings Mediquip who can do an individual assessment and recommend the best type of wheelchair for you. This guide is not intended to replace this specialist help.
The following information provides an overview of your wheelchair choices and may help serve as a starting point in your decision-making process:
There are many different types of manual wheelchairs available, some of which are designed for very specific users such as sports chairs. However if you are looking for your first chair there are two main types of manual wheelchair – transit and self-propelled wheelchairs. Transit wheelchairs have been designed to transport users over short distances, with handles fitted onto the back for an attendant or carer to take control of pushing the chair. Self-propelled wheelchairs are operated by the user and are fitted with large wheels and handles which allow the chair to be manoeuvred and turned. Both transit and self-propelled wheelchairs are ideal for packing away for storage and are easy to transport.
Some of the things to consider when choosing the right wheelchair are:
- whether it will be self-propelled or pushed by someone else
- for permanent or occasional use
- for indoor or outdoor use
- whether you need it to go in and out of a car
An example of a standard manual wheelchair that provides users, caregivers and suppliers peace of mind in terms of quality, dependability and ease of operation is the Offcarr Halley Wheelchair
The Offcarr Halley ultra-lightweight folding wheelchair is a self-propelled wheelchair that has a rear-wheel adjustment system which enables the user to configure the position of the chair to their specific needs. It has an aluminium frame, double cross bar, carbon fibre clothes guards and breathable, tension-adjustable upholstery.
An electric wheelchair may be an attractive mobility solution for individuals who do not have the upper body strength or arm functionality to operate a manual chair. Power chairs may also eliminate the need for a companion to push a manual wheelchair. As you evaluate power chair models, be sure to consider each chair’s power, speed capacity, size, ease of steering, seating comfort, transport capability, and battery life.
Power assist offers manual wheelchair users an opportunity to continue to self-propel while reducing the effort required, increasing their travel distance and propulsion efficiency.
If you find the idea of pushing yourself around 24/7 is just too much to handle but you do not want a fully powered electric chair. You need something in between the two extremes – you may find power assist a good alternative.
The most advanced power-assist wheelchair is the Tailwind. Tailwind’s onboard computer is engineered to make the daily commute, the uphill ramp, or the downhill slope extremely smooth.
An all-terrain wheelchair enables you to actively participate in outdoor activities. This off-road style of a wheelchair is designed to handle uneven surfaces that a standard wheelchair could not navigate. All-terrain wheelchairs allow users to enter puddles of water and provide a better mobility on beach sand and on all uneven terrain in general. The common adaptation among the different designs is that they have larger wheels compared to the standard chair, to increase stability on an uneven or unsteady terrain.
The leading All Terrain wheelchair is the P4 Country wheelchair. Designed to get through doorways, the P4 all-wheel-drive electric wheelchair makes it possible to drive indoors but its main benefit will be in the country, in your garden and in the city. It will cope readily with surfaces other wheelchairs find difficult: gravel, pebbles, grass and cobblestones.
Whatever style of wheelchair you choose, a wheelchair cushion will be recommended; this improves posture, comfort and can help to prevent pressure sores. Find out more about the different types of cushions available here
There are pros and cons for each type of chair, so the choice depends on your needs. There are a large variety of wheelchairs and other disability aids available, so an individual assessment from an experienced advisor is essential.
To inquire about booking an individual assessment in the UK and Ireland visit www.mooringsmediquip.com or call the Assessment Hotline on 0800 031 6571.
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