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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

Monthly Archives: September 2016

  • When to select a transport wheelchair

    Sometimes we have customers who want to buy a transit wheelchair but enquire
    about transport wheelchairs and end up buying one as they are far more
    suitable for their needs. So what is the difference and which should i buy ?

    A transport wheelchair is intended to be used for short trips only whereas a
    transit model is intended to be used for longer periods and therefore provides
    more comfort and has more features including adjustment to ensure that a
    decent level of comfort can be achieved.

    A transport wheelchair is likely to suit those who need the chair rarely for
    trips to the medical centre or hospital. They are sometimes referred to as
    porterage chairs or even ambulance chairs. Typically they will have four small
    wheels and rely on a carer or attendant to propel the wheelchair.

    Because it is likely that the chair will need to be transported, they are
    generally made to be lightweight and to fold away easily in to a relatively
    small space, making them easy to stow and store when not in use. Some
    porterage or transport wheelchairs will actually fold flat so as to occupy the
    smallest space possible when not in use.

    Due to them having small wheels, many transport wheelchair are supplied with a
    lap belt that ensures the occupant is kept on the chair should the wheels get
    stuck by an obstacle. There are different levels of refinement but generally
    these wheelchairs are kept very basic. Often they will not have arm rests like
    a normal wheelchair. This is often the case to make transfers to and from the
    chair easier for both the user and the attendant.

    Most transport wheelchairs will have removable leg rests that hook on and off with ease. Again this is to assist in the transfer of the user on and off the wheelchair, making standing easier when the leg rests are removed. Some models have brakes but not all, particularly those classed as porterage or ambulance wheelchairs.

    Other considerations when buying such a wheelchair are the seat size and chair weight. Essentially there are 3 sizes being:

    Narrow – a 17” wide seat – for users under 9 stone in weight
    Medium – a 19” wide seat – for users between 9 stone and 20 stone
    Wide – a 22” wide seat or wider , often classed as bariatric for users over 20 stones in weight

    Ensure that the transport wheelchair that you buy is suitable for the weight of the user. What tends to happen is that the models for larger user heavier because more materials are made in the manufacture and heavier materials, for example steel frame tubing rather than aluminum. The downside of a heavier wheelchair is lifting requires more effort as well as pushing the wheelchair when laden.

    If we had to select the best models that we sell it would reflect the numbers sold, so here are our best selling transport wheelchairs:

    The Enigma travelchair - which also comes with a useful bag

    The Roma Medical transport / porterage wheelchair

    The Karma Bluebird - the Rolls Royce of transport wheelchairs

    Please note that if the wheelchair you select does not come with a carry bag we sell a good selection of wheelchair bags here. If you expect to use the chair for more than an hour os so it might be worth buying a cushion, you never know how long you may be waiting and we have a good selection of wheelchair cushions here.

    Finally if you have any questions or want some advice on selecting the most suitable transport wheelchair please call us on 0800 0556377 / 01803 872020 and we will be pleased to assist.

  • Paralympics formidable display of wheelchair sports

    So the paralmpic games are now over and what a success they were for all including those participating in wheelchairs. From the opening ceremony where Aaron `Wheelz’ Fotheringham whizzed down the ram in his wheelchair to perform a breathtaking somersault to the games themselves, a wonderful event and possibly the best games ever. Much was done during the event to break preconceived ideas around disability.

    The 11 day event saw over 4000 athletes from 160 countries compete for over 500 medals and there were certainly some spectacles to be seen in most of the 23 sports. During the opening ceremony Wheelchair basketball veteran Brad Ness had the honour of carrying the flag for Australia. The Aussies’ gold was the final medal presented at the Games, and marked the first time any nation had won back-to-back wheelchair rugby Paralympic titles and a world championship in a four-year stretch.

    Wheelchair rugby received a great deal of coverage and popularity as the sport builds its momentum in the UK and the rest of the world. How the wheelchairs stand the brutal punishment is beyond me and the players control and speed is most impressive. Team Canada has long been considered one of the best wheelchair rugby teams in the world with the UK coming in close behind them.

    Wheelchair racing was as fascinating as ever and the speeds achieved over both short distances and the marathons were phenomenal. None more impressive than 24 year old Hannah Cockcroft from Halifax who has expanded her horizons recently by setting up her own management company for athletes that already boasts clients from both the British Olympic and Paralympic teams. Her performance in the events was formidable. Known for her tough attitude she attacked Nike by claiming it had shown no interest in endorsing her because “I have no feet”. That might have appeared puerile – the brand sponsors other Paralympic wheelchair-users – but it also demonstrates that, as an athlete, Cockroft has a huge ego and wants to be seen – and heard.

    Perhaps what is most striking by events like this is the determination displayed by all of the athletes who apply themselves to their chosen sport. To watch the various sports undertaken by wheelchair users is fantastic to show how mobile they are and how they have adapted to using a wheelchair in their chosen sport. A brilliant event with great organisation and in the end a good following from spectators for virtually all of the sporting genres.

  • An upright wheelchair is born in Israel

    Inventor and engineer Amit Goffer from Israel has recently announced his plans to launch his innovative upright self stabilising wheelchair at a medical conference in Germany in October.

    Amit who previously designed and released a robotic exoskeleton at his previous venture ReWalk Robotics which enabled folk with paralysis below the waist to walk. It has had some remarkable results and transformed the lives of some disabled folk.

    Amit has been confined to a wheelchair since an accident in 1997 which left him with limited function in his arms and legs. His idea for an upright wheelchair has been in his mind for a long time but only recently has he had the resource to make it a reality.

    Known as UPnRIDE, the wheelchair has no chair as such but will be categorised as such when it passes its two clinical tests to get regulatory approval and ensure health insurance companies can assist customers with the rather hefty price tag.

    The new 4 wheel chair uses gyroscope technology similar to that in a Segway to navigate all types of terrain while keeping the user in a stable upright position. Uprigth wheelchairs as such are not an entirely new invention and can provide great assistance to those with serious spinal cord injuries. Its added benefit is that it can also help to stave off other problems that can arise in a normal wheelchair, including cardiovascular and respiratory issues.

    Gabi Zeilig is the director of the neurological rehabilitation department at Israel's Sheba Medical Center, he comments "The (UPnRIDE) idea is fascinating," he said. "There are devices today to move from one place to another, but for short distances and never on a sloped ground."

    He stated that the prime function of the UPnRIDE is its ability to self stabilise around the user who effectively acts as the centre of gravity for the wheelchair.

    Good luck to Amit and lets hope that he is able to get the necessary certification to make the UPnRIDE wheelchair a commercial reality and that is made available to those who could truly benefit from this very unusual wheelchair.

  • Powerchairs resorting to the roads

    We've all experienced the UK's rough roads and all too often this extends to the pavements making it hard going for all wheelchairs whether electric or not.

    Things got so bad for one resident in Hove E. Sussex to leave her local pavements and take to the road as here powerchair was not taking the bumps well. Tree roots seem to be the offending items that have pushed up the pavement making for a rough ride in her electric wheelchair.

    Ann Agnew has asked the council (two years ago) to make some repairs but so far nothing has been done. Bumps are generally OK for wheelchairs despite uncomfortable for the user. However when tree roots disfigure the pavement and cause ridges and slopes they are potentially hazardous as the tilt can be enough to tip a powerchair if they are not handled carefully. Indeed Mrs Agnew has at times been 'thrown' into the nearby wall or railings as the roots jolt the wheelchair as she passes. A good idea for users of all powerchairs is to fit and wear a Lap seat belt for wheelchairs.

    So is the road the right way to go ? There are Highway Code rules for powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters, including on pavements and on the road. The essentials of these rules are that Class 2 vehicles that includes some electric wheelchairs and scooters must travel on the pavement where it is available. Where this is not possible then the road can be used however the wheelchair must travel in the same direction as traffic and when travelling at night, lights must be used. This is known as rule 42.

    Rule 43 for states that electric wheelchair users MUST follow the same rules about using lights, indicators and horns as for other road vehicles, if your vehicle is fitted with them. At night, lights MUST be used. Be aware that other road users may not see you and you should make yourself more visible - even in the daytime and also at dusk - by, for instance, wearing a reflective jacket or reflective strips on the back of the vehicle.

    For more information or if you are concerned about a friend or relative who is a scooter or powerchair user, please visit the Highway code for electric wheelchairs.

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