We sell many many wheelchairs over the course of a year and have done so for over ten years. We are very lucky with our staff, many of whom are family and have worked for us at UK-Wheelchairs for several years. Over this time their depth of product knowledge has increased and their ability to advise others on what type of wheelchair is most suitable has improved. We supply many different brands and many different types so there is a lot to learn about. From transit to self propelled or manual models, specialist models like tilt in space or reclining and of course models designed for children or pediatric wheelchairs as they are often referred to.
Our experience helps us to select the right wheelchair for you
Then each brand or manufacturer has its own quirks and intricacies. For some users, build quality is paramount whereas others maybe looking for a budget wheelchair as they only have short term requirements due to injury or operation. Either way, assessing ones mobility needs is key to supplying the right chair.
Lifestyle consideration and its impact on chair selection
Another big consideration is the lifestyle of the wheelchair user. We're all different and therefore have different requirements. Some of us have more active lifestyles than others, particularly younger users. Others simply want maximum comfort and ease of transfer. We pride ourselves in knowing the entire range of chairs that we sell. We are in a very good position to supply the right model once we have listened to you and understand how and where the wheelchair will be used. Many folk receive good advice from their doctors medical specialists or following accidents occupational therapists will often assist in selecting the right type and even model for your needs.
Once you have selected the right one you then have a massive range of wheelchair accessories to ensure that you are both safe and comfortable and for many the right look is also important. Luckily over recent years, design has become more important and the looks of mobility equipment has improved massively. There are now colour choices for most wheelchairs so users can now differentiate theirs from others. Similarly specialist clothing is now available in more vibrant colours. Cushions can be bought to suit both size and seat width but also have patterns designs and other features to make them more appealing.
Selecting accessories and clothing
So here at UK-Wheelchairs our quest to supply the most suitable mobility equipment goes on and we are confident that if you want advise that we can give you the time to make sure you select the right wheelchair. So how do we start ?
- The first choice is whether it is going to be self propelled, pushed by an other often referred to as an attendant or electric powered?
- Secondly is it for permanent or for occasional use ?
- Thirdly is it going to be used indoors or outside?
- Finally is it going to be transported by car?
With this information in place we can begin to narrow down the choice of wheelchair and start to propose some models to fit your budget and individual needs. There are pros and cons for each type of chair and with so much choice it can be difficult to know where to start without the right advice.
Your physical ability
We pay attention to your physical state and your ability to stand, your balance and of course stability. Depending on your disability these all vary enormously. We also consider the layout of your home and other places where you spend most of your time. We can then assess whether you need to go through narrow doorways or down corridors, whether you need to tackle steps or lifts etc. Even small intricacies like where your power plugs are sited can make a difference to the type of wheelchair that we would suggest as some are designed to make leaning and turning more easy.
Need more help ? Please watch these videos:[embed]https://youtu.be/S5CvZP6k8l8[/embed]
We could ramble on for a long time at this point but instead we encourage you to call us so that our experience can help guide your decision. But if you are interested and want to read on we look into more intricate things like frame design and wheel size, both of which affect the ease of manoeuvre. Basically, the larger the rear wheels are the easier it is for the wheelchair to manoeuvre. The positioning of the wheels in relation to the user also make a difference. Some wheelchairs have an adjustable axle for this reason, this allows the positioning of the wheels to be adjusted in relation to the users position, which means it requires less effort to move the chair forward. Other big considerations are storage and transportation. Many chairs spend most of their lives in use and rarely have to be folded. If this is the case then the ease of which this can be carried out is if less importance. If you are a user who travels frequently and or needs to fold the chair away for storage then we would propose a different model that caters for this.
Wheelchair seat size and seat angle also have an affect on the maneuverability and comfort for the user. In addition, the positioning of the feet in relation to the body also influences levels of comfort and accessibility. We often refer to standard wheelchairs which tend to be cheaper or active user models that do cost more but also allow a greater level of adjustment to ensure user comfort. This is more important when the user spends more time in their chair so that they receive better support and higher levels of comfort to avoid pressure sores.
Wheelchair selection assistance
Of course if you are dependent on being pushed we also like to consider the requirements of your carer or attendant. It is equally important that they too are comfortable if they are likely to be pushing you in your wheelchair for long periods of time. Push handle height and grip are key factors. These have to be just right to avoid the attendant getting either back ache or sore hands. Similarly wheelchair weight is a big consideration also, as they will be the ones pushing you and the chair and indeed lifting and folding it for transport or storage.
So where else can you get some useful tips ? Why not try these videos and informational articles for more advice - the NHS is a great resource of knowledge:
Looking beyond the standard wheelchair This video displays the options if you are not wanting an NHS model
Independent living How leading an independent life with a physical or learning disability is now more achievable than ever.
If its children's wheelchairs that you are looking to learn about why not visit here
Part two of the wheelchair selection video:[embed]https://youtu.be/8HEVruGqG-s[/embed]
We hope that this article has been of help to you. Please call us if you want more help in the selection of yours - we're here to help!