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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

Information

  • Travelling for Wheelchair Users

    The entire process from planning to actually getting to a holiday destination can be stressful. One can only imagine how much more difficult it is for those with physical disabilities who have to travel with wheelchairs.

    Wheelchair users suffer from restrained mobility and may find it very inconvenient to have to move around with such bulky luggage. Nevertheless, travelling is not impossible for a wheelchair user. There are an extensive amount of wheelchair users that travel on a regular basis as they have become accustomed to moving themselves around without being dependent on much assistance.

    Although the idea of travelling may sound quite discouraging, wheelchair users should not let the thought hinder them from going where they want to go. What may be encouraging are tips experienced travelers have taught others who would like to try travelling with their wheelchairs.

    When booking flights the wheelchair user should inform themselves about who they will be flying with and what restrictions are made when travelling with a wheelchair. The majority of airlines cater for wheelchair users but may have their own restrictions and regulations that the wheelchair user has to abide to. Some airlines will provide a transport chair or basic wheelchair for the interim period and will place the private wheelchair in the hold.

    Choosing the flight can be difficult depending on your destination, long distance flights which have one or more stops or where the wheelchair user has to change planes should be avoided where possible. When choosing a seat an aisle seat is most probably the most comfortable to allow for more space.

    If you use an electric wheelchair and wish to take it on holiday with you then you will need to inform the airline, there are specific rules that have to be followed due to the batteries. Make sure the wheelchair batteries are secure. It may be necessary to remove them and store them in another container while the wheelchair is not being used.

    Travelling with wheelchairs is not at all as difficult as some people may think. With todays allowance for custom accommodations, wheelchair users are no longer hindered from travelling wherever they please. All it takes is some careful planning and a cautious attitude. In spite of some difficulties a wheelchair user may face, wheelchair users need not stay immobile. Although they may still feel confined to their wheelchairs, what is important is that they can now enjoy the pleasures of travelling.

  • Vertical Wheelchair Lifts

    How fast can you ascend or descend stairs? If an answer pops into your head in a flash, you're likely to hesitate giving one, thinking you've been asked a trick question. But those who find this simple act strenuous and challenging may find the question testing, if not irritating.

    Mobility challenged people including senior citizens, who spend much of their day in a wheelchair, have limited access to certain areas. As a consequence, their independence is likewise limited in comparison to their situation prior to finding themselves in a wheelchair.

    People who find themselves in such unfortunate circumstances are the primary beneficiaries of special transporters such as wheelchair elevators, wheelchair ramps, and vertical wheelchair lifts. These systems allow the wheelchair bound to negotiate different floor levels without having to get out of their wheelchair.

    Powered either by electricity or hydraulics, vertical wheelchair lifts or wheelchair platforms come in various models, including:

    • Enclosed Wheelchair Lift:
      This model has walls completely surrounding the platform or stage so as to enclose the wheelchair and the wheelchair user within a chamber while the stage moves up or down. This type of wheelchair lift is practical for use outdoors where altering weather conditions may compromise safety or comfort.

    • Shaftway:
      This model can be made to fit within pre-existent walls in much the same fashion as standard elevators. This type of wheelchair lift is best suited for public buildings as well as residential structures.

    • Stage:
      The stage wheelchair lift model features an open stage. It is the most commonly used wheelchair lift for negotiating small heights or elevations, like risers, bleachers or vehicles.

    • Opal:
      The opal wheelchair lift is much the same as the enclosed wheelchair lift but with one difference, the Opal wheelchair lift doesn't have a ceiling.

    The following conditions demonstrate how wheelchair lifts or platforms may be utilized in various areas:

    Confronted with divergent floor levels, it is the vertical stage wheelchair lift which gives the wheelchair bound an optimal solution for entering, move through and exit their homes. Stage lifts allow wheelchair access between a lower level and an elevated section of the house, as in the case of moving between ground level and stepped front or back porches.

    While most tall buildings are fitted with standard elevators, many elevators can not accommodate a wheelchair. Often, building administrators choose to complement elevators with wheelchair lifts to address this special need for the wheelchair bound. Wheelchair lifts are especially suitable for old buildings which commonly have tiny areas where ramps can not be used. In this instance, building administrators may favor vertical wheelchair lifts over space taking wheelchair ramps.

    Wheelchair lifts are of great importance to wheelchair users that have restricted physical capability. Such devices can improve the quality of life of wheelchair users, by enabling greater access to more activities and facilitating greater independence. Be they installed in homes or public buildings; vertical wheelchair lifts or platforms can effect the wheelchair user's quality of life.

  • Canopies for Wheelchairs

    Wheelchair canopies have become so popular because they are so effective in protecting wheelchair users from harsh weather and they are also very convenient to use. Since they simply attach to the wheelchair, users can have both hands free to manoeuvre the wheelchair while also being protected either from the harsh sun, rough winds, or rain.

    Wheelchair canopies are available in a variety of models ensuring that each wheelchair user finds the one that suits their preference(s). Wheelchair canopies are not wheelchair specific meaning they can fit any wheelchair no matter what wheelchair model or where it was bought. The wheelchair canopy comes with instructions and are simple to install.

    A wheelchair canopy consists of two main poles and five supporting poles, all of which interlock and constitute the main frame. The material used for a wheelchair canopy ranges from nylon to mesh fabrics. Once the canopies frame is in place, the material is simply hung over it.

    The canopy can be drawn back should the wheelchair user have no need for it at any given time. Depending on the preferences of the wheelchair user, wheelchair canopies can also be bought with a variety of features including draperies and storage accessories.

    The wheelchair canopy has done wonders for many wheelchair users around the globe. However, one must not expect it to protect against all types of weather. Much like how umbrella users can still get wet in heavy rain, wheelchair canopy users can experience the same. For this reason, it is still recommended to wear clothing that protects against harsh weather while using wheelchair canopies.

    Wheelchair canopies can range widely in price. However, they often start at around £40. Should you be among those whose physical condition is heavily affected by harsh weather, try consulting with your physician who will let you know whether or not your insurance can cover the cost of purchasing a wheelchair canopy.

  • Wheelchair Q&A's

    Wheelchair Q&A's

    You may already realize how significant being mobile is This may be especially true if you have already experienced breaking your leg or ankle. Surely, you did not like the feeling of being unable to move or at least go through your daily activities as you normally would. Lessening your ability to move around can not only lower your quality of life but also make certain medical conditions worse.

    Although wheelchairs are often associated with the elderly, they certainly play bigger roles to many other people. The concept of wheelchairs may still be foreign to you if you or anyone close to you has not personally experienced using one.

    Below are some questions many people who are unfamiliar with wheelchairs ask. Accompanying them are some answers that may help you realize how important wheelchairs have become in today's world.

    Since when have wheelchairs existed?

    Wheelchairs go as far back as 525CE among the Chinese craftsmen whose work was even depicted as being used by Spains King Phillip II. Although that device could not be propelled by its user, it did feature a chair on wheels.

    The first folding wheelchair created using steel tubing, something more familiar to the modern day wheelchair, was created in the 1930s by a man named Henry Jennings.

    Is there only one wheelchair size for all?

    No. Wheelchairs are not one size fits all assistive devices. Although there are standard sizes, many have been created specifically for children. Wheelchairs come in multiple sizes to fit almost any user.

    Wheelchairs can be custom built for those who do not find it comfortable using a standard sized wheelchair. Wheelchairs also come with different weight capacities to suit the needs of all kinds of users.

    Will my insurance policy cover wheelchair costs?

    This depends on your policy. Generally, if your doctor prescribes the use of a wheelchair, your insurance should cover all or some of the costs of buying it.

    Those who do not have insurance opt to buy from medical supply outlets where good quality second hand wheelchairs can be purchased. Some foundations and other social groups also provide financial aid for mobility devices.

    Can I make my home more suitable for wheelchairs?

    Many find benefits in ensuring that each door's width is enough to allow wheelchair users in and out. Wheelchair ramps may also be placed where steps can be found. Sometimes, specific bathroom accommodations have to be in place. Very often, families with a wheelchair user opt for single-storey or bungalows.

    This is no longer necessary because of so many wheelchair accessories have been developed. For those with limited or no knowledge about making home improvements to accommodate for wheelchair users, contractors are available to discuss and realise your requirements.

    What can I do when I am using a manual wheelchair and my hands are becoming irritated by propelling the wheels myself?

    Many manual wheelchair users have this problem. Most choose to use special gloves that can be worn for long periods of time without having any feeling of discomfort. These gloves are often made of leather.

    Sometimes, they have padding in the palm area to really protect the hands of the wheelchair user. These often cover only the palms to allow its users to wear them and be able to still make full use of their hands and fingers. This way, they have no need to take the gloves off.

  • Sports and the Wheelchair Bound

    Anywhere you go, those who make use of wheelchairs continue to enjoy the competition and fun that wheelchair sport has to offer. More and more wheelchair users actively engage in sports - even on a professional level. A good number of wheelchair sports associations and gaming opportunities exist in many countries. The following are a few examples of what gaming opportunities are available to the wheelchair-bound.

    Probably the most common wheelchair sport is wheelchair basketball. Wheelchair baketball started in 1946 when the US Veteran's Association adopted the game as a rehabilitation program for disabled veterans. From there the game spread throughout the world, gaining increasing interest and patronage. Today, there are international level competitions, including the Paralympic Games, and the Gold Cup.

    Different variants of wheelchair basketball have been developed, each great fun to play. Some even have low, netted rims that revert the ball to players without their having to chase it down. A lightweight professional sport wheelchair is essential for playing wheelchair basketball.

    The Paralympics added boccia (pronounced Botcha) to its line up in 1984. The wheelchair version of boccia is played either indoors or outdoors by two opposing players, pairs or teams of three armed with either blue or red balls. A white target ball or jack is thrown at the start of the game. Each side or team (red or blue) takes turn to propel their ball as close to the white jack as they can. At the end of each round, a referee measures the distance of the balls closest to the jack and awards one point for each ball that is closer to the jack than the opponent's closest ball.

    Quad rugby combines elements of wheelchair basketball, ice hockey and handball. It is a mixed game where men and women compete in the same team. Today quad rugby is played in more than twenty countries around the world including Canada, the USA, Australia and Great Britain and is a Paralympic sport.

    In quad rugby, two teams play against one another and each team can comprise of a maximum of 12 players, 4 players play at any one time. The offense endeavors to carry the ball past the line that determines the opponent's goal, while the defense endeavors to prevent them from reaching their goal. Physical contact of wheelchairs is common, however, players are not allowed to have physical contact.

    Power soccer is commonly played across all the major counties in the world. Here, electric wheelchairs are used by players. These electric wheelchairs feature foot guards that allow players to play with soccer balls and maneuver them around the court and other players. Two opposing teams must each have 4 players playing at a time. The 4 includes the goalkeeper.

    As each wheelchair sport tends to use specific types of wheelchairs, a variety of sports wheelchairs can be found on the market. Wheelchair accessories include belts and harnesses, gloves, drink holders and special back supports. Prosthetic devices are also available for amputees. So, being confined to a wheelchair need not keep you from enjoying any or the majority of sporting activities.

  • Accessories for Mobility Scooters

    Like all kinds of assistive devices, mobility scooters can be customised to meet the specific needs of each individual user. Users can choose from a wide variety of additional features and accessories that allow for better and more convenient use of their mobility scooter. Accessories for mobility scooters can range from larger batteries all the way to cup holders.

    Larger batteries are often more expensive and are not needed by standard users. However, those who often cover long distances and travel on their mobility scooters for long periods of time will find that having larger batteries are more favourable. On the other hand, those who often travel using their mobility scooter find that having smaller batteries are better because they are lighter.

    Tyres can also be customised in such a way that users can choose from different types. Those who often travel on uneven terrain find that pneumatic tyres are favourable because they provide a smoother ride improving the comfort. As with all products there are "pros" and "contras", with pneumatic tyres they are vulnerable to punctures and therefore many users prefer the solid tyre - the choice varies and the benefits have to be weighed up by the scooter user.

    Individual controls for the mobility scooter can be custom built or chosen from a wide range of manufacturers. The standard directional controls are some form of tiller, many scooter users prefer to use "Delta Tillers" because they can be controlled by using just one hand and they are not direction dependent. These tillers are best suited to users that have limited strength in their hands, when one hand tires then the other can be used.

    Mobility scooter accessories include holders specifically made for crutches or walking sticks. Those who travel with a mobility scooter can choose to walk whenever they please because their walking aids can travel with them. Among the other commonly used mobility scooter accessories are rear view mirrors and oxygen cylinders.

    Even different kinds of bags are available for mobility scooters. These range in wide varieties of styles, functions, colours, and designs. There are those that are small enough for items such as keys and mobile phones and there are large bags that are big enough to go across the rear of the seat to carry items such as groceries.

    Canopies and umbrellas have also been specifically developed for use on mobility scooters. These are commonly used among those whose illnesses or disabilities are made worse by excessive exposure to the elements. Additionally, those who simply do not enjoy the hot sun or rain make use of these accessories. They are installed onto the scooter and can be drawn whenever they are needed.

    Furthermore, scooter users can purchase ramps in order for them to gain access to uneven floors or areas. These are commonly used in the homes of users so that it can be easy for them to travel from one platform to another. The scooter ramps can also be used to load the scooter onto a vehicle. These types of ramps can be foldable so that user can easily store them especially when they would like to travel while carrying them inside their vehicles. More often than not, mobility ramps feature handrails to ensure the safety and convenience of the user.

    To individualise, mobility scooter users often choose different kinds of accessories to make their assistive devices truly their own.

  • Buying an Electric Wheelchair

    When you decide to buy an electric wheelchair at your local shop you should take your time with your decision. There are a wide variety of wheelchairs available and knowing which one has the functions you require may take a little time and thought. Not to mention that there may be upgrades available for the wheelchair that you eventually choose.

    There are a great many dealers of electric wheelchairs that offer used wheelchairs. Ask if there have been wheelchairs sold that meet the same requirements that you are asking for. Find out what kind of warranty comes with the wheelchair you are interested in. They should also be able to let you know if there are special permits required for the type of wheelchair you wish to buy.

    If you have a specific wheelchair in mind find out if the business specialises in that wheelchair. You should make sure that they give you an estimate as well before you agree to buy. Try to find out if there have been any problems with the warranties before you purchase a wheelchair.

    Pay attention to the questions that the salesman asks you. A good wheelchair salesman knows the appropriate questions to ask. If they don't seem particularly interested in your needs then you should consider going with a different business. Move on to the next business and watch for the cues that the salesman is interested in meeting your needs. You will eventually find a company that you are comfortable doing business with.

    Make sure you don't make any snap decisions. Investing in a wheelchair is a big step. If everything checks out find out the price and warranty information before you head over to the shop. Make sure they don't try to sell you a used wheelchair.

    When you arrive at the shop, make sure you test the wheelchair thoroughly before you buy it. You don't want to get the wheelchair home only to find that it has problems you didn't notice. Even if you have a warranty it is better to know in advance if a wheelchair is defect.

    There are a great many providers of wheelchairs available. It is up to you to check them out and find the one that you can feel comfortable doing business with.

  • Buying a Sports Wheelchair

    Are you the type of wheelchair user who lives a very active outdoor lifestyle? Do you enjoy playing sports like tennis or basketball? If you answered yes to these questions then you might want to consider buying a sports wheelchair. It does not take a great effort to transition to a lightweight sports wheelchair from a heavy standard wheelchair. In fact, it will probably be very easy for you to make the change.

    Even though a sports wheelchair is considerably lighter and smaller than a traditional wheelchair they are extremely strong. Because they are specifically designed for sports they are made of materials such as titanium for durability. There are a couple of other differences that you should be aware of like the footrests are actually built into the frame instead of being attached and there are no arm rests on a sports wheelchair.

    You will find that a sports wheelchair can be customised much easier than a standard wheelchair. With the wheels you are able to choose the dimensions and set the angle at which they lean ensuring better and easier control of the wheelchair. Folding a sports wheelchair is a very simple process as well. A sports wheelchair uses the same technology as a mountain bike making them very lightweight and durable.

    When sports wheelchairs were introduced they were mainly designed for outdoor activities. It was only later that they started being used instead of a standard wheelchair. They are completely manual and do not come as electric or power wheelchairs. This only makes them interesting for those who have the upper body strength and mobility to use them.

    Sports wheelchairs are made from lightweight materials like titanium and aluminium. There are sports wheelchairs made for specific sport events such as wheelchair tennis, wheelchair racing, wheelchair basketball, hand cycles and even wheelchair skiing.

    There are a great deal of accessories that you can purchase to go along with your sports wheelchair. You can find special safety belts or seat belts that are designed to keep the user in his or her seat during a sporting activity. Totes for water bottles, back support and gloves for pushing are some of the accessories that are available.

    Before you purchase a sports wheelchair you should take into consideration what sport you are buying the wheelchair for. A hand cycle can only be used for that activity. You will not be able to use that particular sports wheelchair for your everyday wheelchair.

    This is also true of a "court" wheelchair. Court wheelchairs have wheels that are designed to work on specific court surfaces, such as a tennis court and will not be useful on other surfaces. However, if you buy a standard sports wheelchair you will find that it can be used everyday. You will simply have a lightweight and strong wheelchair that can be used for sports and everyday use.

    Small modifications can be made to the wheelchair to allow a normal use, when you want to use it as a sports wheelchair then the modifications can be removed, such as wheelchair tyres and wheelchair wheels.

  • Choosing Wheelchair Tyres

    Wheelchair tyres not only protect the wheelchair wheels but also provides for more comfort. Acting as shock absorbers, the tyres not only make the wheelchairs ride smoother but also allows less damage to the wheelchair itself.

    Although the wheelchair wheels are functional in nature, many wheelchair users believe that they may be the part that is best decorated. Some people like to make use of designer hand rims while some like to change the designs of spoke guards. No matter what the design, wheels will always come with tyres made of rubber.

    Wheelchair tyres can be compared to tyres made for bikes. Although they may seem simple enough, they actually come in different types. The two most common types of wheelchair tyres are pneumatic and solid. The two are very different in terms of construction, composition, and benefits.

    Pneumatic Wheelchair Tyres:

    Are those that use inflatable tubes, just like the tyres used by most bikes. The tube or inner tube allows for better shock absorption making the ride more comfortable for its user. Using pneumatic tyres, the wheelchair user can enjoy a comfortable ride even when riding along bumpy or uneven pathways.

    Pneumatic tyres are known to be easily damaged. Should the wheelchair user run over a nail or other sharp edged material the tyre(s) will most likely be damaged especially when heavier wheelchairs such as electric wheelchairs are used.

    Solid Wheelchair Tyres:

    They get their name simply because they are made out of solid rubber. As they are solid, they are proven to be more durable than pneumatic wheelchair tyres. They can handle extreme terrain without being damaged. They also do not wear out or become deflated as easily. Because of this, they rarely need to be replaced which is a financial advantage considering that pneumatic tyres need replacing on a regular basis.

    Solid tyres have their own disadvantages: Although they prove to be more durable on rough terrain, they absorb less shock which means that the wheelchair users ride may not be as comfortable as wheelchairs with pneumatic tyres. To address this problem, wheelchair manufacturers have developed tyres which provide both durability and comfort. More often than not, these wheelchairs use solid tyres with rubber inserts that act as pneumatic tube.

    What this new wheelchair tyre technology does is combine the benefits of both types of tyres. Because of its existence, wheelchair users no longer have to choose between comfort and durability. Now, they can have both with just one type of tyre!

    Many wheelchair users testify to this new technology's benefits. They do say that they have better experiences with these tyres as they notice the significant difference the inserts have made. Electric wheelchair users say the same thing too.

    Wheelchair users also report that they don't need to change their tyres on a frequent basis. Should you be among the many who have long suffered from flat tyres or uncomfortable rides, this new type of wheelchair tyre may be your best option.

  • Transporting Assistive Devices

    Wheelchair carriers are used to transport different types of assistive devices including wheelchairs and scooters. Wheelchair users need carriers especially when they need to travel long distances. For this reason, wheelchair carriers should always be at hand. However, owning a carrier is not the only thing to note when transporting mobility devices. Because of this, it is important to first be familiar with the different types of carriers available.

    Generally, carriers can be placed at the top, inside, or in the trunk of vehicles. They have become so convenient because they are simple to mount. Because of wheelchair carriers, it is no longer difficult to load wheelchairs onto or into vehicles. Furthermore, they ensure ease of travel and peace of mind.

    Most people who travel often use foldable wheelchairs making them easy to transport. By simply folding the wheelchair and placing the wheelchair in the boot or in the back of any vehicle, wheelchair users can travel with ease. Those who do not use foldable wheelchairs attach the wheelchair carrier to the vehicle where it can be permanently installed. This way, there is no need to install the carrier each time the wheelchair user wants to travel.

    Wheelchair carriers come in a variety of models. One of the most common types is the automatic "car top" carrier, they are operated using an electric motor controlled by switches. This is preferred by people using standard wheelchairs and have vehicles large enough to carry the weight and bulk of the wheelchair on its roof.

    Another form of wheelchair carrier is mounted on or to the vehicles bumper. The installation of such a device requires drilling holes into the bumper - this should preferably be carried out by a professional. They can be easily moved to access the back of the vehicle. These types of carrier are best suited for standard wheelchairs.

    Other types include the "Tow Hook mounted carrier" and the "pick up carrier". The tow hook mounted carrier simply tips to one side for easy loading of the wheelchair and tips to another side to store it, in comparison the pick-up carrier lifts the wheelchair using a motor and places it on the vehicle bed for transportation.

    Although carriers are mainly used for standard wheelchairs (manual or attendant wheelchairs), they can also be used for carrying electric wheelchairs and scooters. Standard sized carriers can safely lift up to 350 pounds. Carriers are often made of aluminium making them lightweight and rust proof. After installation, they can be used by physically disabled people without assistance.

    Other common features of wheelchair carriers include foldable platforms and handles. Furthermore, straps and locks are available to keep the wheelchair in place while it is being lifted and transported. Sometimes, people prefer those with special features that keep the wheelchair from rattling while being transported. This feature also ensures that the wheelchair will not be damaged during transportation. Weather resistant covers or canopies are available to allow anyone to transport their wheelchairs whatever the weather conditions may be.

    Because of the wide variety of wheelchair carriers available on the market, it is best to first evaluate your needs and choose one that will suit not only your preferences but your lifestyle as well. Wheelchair carriers can cost a considerable amount of money so it would be smart to shop around before plunging in at the deep end.

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