Evaluating a Manual Wheelchair for Safety and Comfort

wheelchairWhen ordering a new wheelchair, ensuring that the wheelchair fits the physical requirements of its user is very important for health and safety reasons, but it can also effect mental health.

Ordering a wheelchair is not a decision that should be taken lightly and it is important that the wheelchair user has plenty of input during the process. Once a wheelchair has been ordered, it should constantly be reevaluated to ensure that it is safely meeting the needs of its user. This should be done both the wheelchair user, as well as a doctor.

Once a persons new wheelchair arrives, the prescribing doctor should evaluate the wheelchair to unsure that it is a proper fit for its user. There are a number of adjustments that can be made to the frame to fine-tune the wheelchair, so that the user can gain the maximum mechanical benefit from the wheelchair.

For manual wheelchairs, since they require a good deal of upper body strength to use, the comfort of the arms in relation to the manual wheelchairs drive wheels is very important. This means, that when in the starting position, the users arms should basically be at rest. This will help to prevent cramps and reduce the effort required to use the wheelchair.

The cushion and seat of the wheelchair should also be treated as a single unit, otherwise, you risk the user being too high or low when the cushion is added. Proper seat height is important, because if the wheelchair is too high, not only will it be uncomfortable, but it will also reduce the efficiency of the wheelchair, which makes it much harder to use. If the seat is too low, it can cause uneven weight distribution.

The height of the backrest is also very important. If it is too high, it can restrict the movements of the shoulder and upper body. However, a backrest that is too low will not provide enough support and can result in poor posture.

The overall width of the wheelchair is another important consideration, because a wheelchair that is too wide can result in the user developing poor posture. This is because the individual will have to lean side to side to reach the wheels. Of course, a wheelchair that is too narrow can cause discomfort and sores, so finding the correct median is essential.

A seat that is too deep can also cause problems, as it can reduce circulation and attribute to poor posture. It can also be dangerous, because the weight of the user is not as evenly distributed, resulting in less weight on the thighs.