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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

Information

  • Wheelchair Chest Harnesses

    With the number of companies specialising in wheelchair chest harnesses and the wide variety of wheelchair harnesses that each manufacturer develops, it may be quite difficult to choose the one that's perfect for you. When choosing a chest harness, remember that the most important thing for you to ensure is that is fits properly and comfortably.

    A proper fitting harness fits right across the wheelchair user's chest. It is important that the harness doesn't move around when it is in use. To make sure of this, you must make sure to fit and test the harness before making the purchase. When the harness is fitted to the wheelchair ask the wheelchair user to move around in all directions. If the harness supports the wheelchair user properly without discomfort and undue movement restraint then it is most probably worth buying.

    Because of the wide variety of wheelchair harnesses available in the market, you, no matter what size or build, should be able to find one that fits to your wheelchair and body type correctly and best suits your needs.

    Standard wheelchair harness styles include :

    • H Style
    • X Style
    • Backpack Style

    There are also many different sizes to choose from as standard harnesses are available anywhere from extra small all the way to extra large.

    The most commonly purchased wheelchair chest harnesses are linear types because these often fit adults of average size. There are also pediatric wheelchair harnesses available for children and individuals with relatively small frames. Furthermore, wheelchair harnesses can be customised to fit any specific person. These can even contour according to the body shape of the user.

    More often than not, chest harnesses are made of a specific type of foam with fabric wrapped around it. Harnesses are generally elasticated to allow the wheelchair user(s) to move while still being strapped in, movement is restricted but not completely stopped.

    When using a wheelchair harness you must be sure that you are familiar with the required safety measures. In addition to this, you must keep in mind that chest harnesses are not made as substitutes for seat belts. These products are made for wheelchair users to ensure proper posture and minimise back strain.

    They are not meant to protect wheelchair users from injuries during accidents, so it is still necessary to make use of appropriate restraints when using them in vehicles.

  • A Little Wheelchair History

    Wheelchairs have become so lightweight that they may even be used in sports. They can even be customised according to the needs of its users. Electric and battery operated wheelchair have also been developed and companies continue to search for new developments. Because of the technology associated with wheelchairs, people fail to realise that they have existed from the time both wheels and chairs were invented. Antique wheelchairs are now found generaly in museums and maybe in sketches from the old days.

    The roots of wheelchairs can be traced back to the 6th century as a sketch from that era is considered as the oldest indication wheelchairs. Historians believe that wheelchairs may have existed even before they were drawn.

    Another image portraying a chair with wheels was traced to Ancient Egypt. According to historic records, Spain's King Phillip owned a rolling chair way back in the 16th century. Furthermore, France's King Louis XIV also owned one while recovering from an operation. It is likely that common craftsmen also developed their own types of wheelchairs.

    Wheelchairs are believed to have begun resembling the modern version back in the 18th century. Following the American Civil War and the First World War, the antique wheelchairs were wooden and had seats made of wicker.

    By that time, wheelchairs featured spoked wheels, the foot and armrests could also be adjusted. By the late 1800s, a patent for a wheelchair that could be propelled by its user had been filed.

    It was not until 1932 when the foldable wheelchair was invented through the efforts of a mining engineer who experienced some serious injuries. Through a partnership with a mechanical engineer, the E&J Company was established. By the mid-1900s, the same company developed the first electric wheelchair.

    At this time, manual wheelchairs were already prolific and were even used in sports, especially in England. In 1964, the Paralympics was already launched in Tokyo and in 1975, the wheelchair sportsman Bob Hall finished the Boston Marathon using a manual wheelchair.

    Wheelchairs started becoming lighter through the 70s and 80s because of the use especially in sports. Electric wheelchairs using microprocessors were also developed in the 80s. After this, more and more types of wheelchairs became considered as antique, so, many new developments have replaced them.

  • Wheelchair Lift or Carrier Options

    A wheelchair lift or wheelchair carrier is a device that enhances the mobility of the wheelchair user. A lift on a vehicle allows the wheelchair user to move from one location to another easily. There are various models and vendors of wheelchair lifts and carriers to choose from. But before purchasing one, keep in mind the following:

    First, confirm the model and brand of wheelchair that you use. Some wheelchairs require special docking device for them to be lifted onto a vehicle.

    Confirm the exact make, model, and year of the vehicle that where the wheelchair lift will be fitted to. These details are especially important if a lift that installs inside the vehicle is being considered. As for external lifts and carriers, a Class II or III trailer tow bar has to be installede. A Class II bar usually has a 350-lb weight capability while Class III has 500-lb. Compute the weight of the wheelchair plus the weight of the lift. The sum should be at least 10% below the recommended capacity of the bar.

    An external lift is preferable when there is not enough room for the wheelchair inside the vehicle. Manual lifts are less expensive because no motor is required to lift the wheelchair. However, the person who is loading or unloading the wheelchair requires upper body strength.

    An internal lift, on the other hand, employs a motor to raise the wheelchair and stows it inside the vehicle. This type is recommended for large vehicles such as vans.

    There are many variations of wheelchair lifts to choose from. To maximize the mobility of the wheelchair user, careful selection of a wheelchair lift ensures the suitability of the unit to the users daily needs.

    In a platform wheelchair lift, the solid platform folds for storage in the vehicle. These come in automatic and semi-automatic models. The automatic wheelchair lift folds and unfolds, as well as raises and lowers the wheelchair with a switch. With semi-automatic models, the platform is manually folded and unfolded but a switch raises and lowers the lift itself.

    Rotary wheelchair lifts raises/lowers the wheelchair and swings it inside/outside the vehicle. Obviously, it is more convenient than the platform lift.

    When considering an electric wheelchair lift, a model with an emergency manual system is best as it will ensure continued use even when the electric system malfunctions.

    Having a lift installed in a vehicle is worth the expense considering that it allows the wheelchair user to travel much further afield thus increasing sense of independence and individualism.

  • Wheelchair Shopping

    Selecting a wheelchair can be quite trying. Today's wheelchairs come in an array of designs, styles and functions to address the requirements of people with diverse combinations of physical disabilities. There are an extensive amount of wheelchairs on the market that incorporate exceptional gadgets and accessories.

    First time wheelchair buyers may find themselves overwhelmed by the numerous options available. Bear in mind that each individual wheelchair users has different needs and the wrong type of wheelchair may aggravate the wheelchair users condition. To minimize the likelihood of choosing a wheelchair that isn't suitable for your specific physiological condition, seek expert advice from your physician, therapist or possibly the wheelchair manufacturer.

    Basic factors to consider when buying a wheelchair:

    • Your age
    • Body type
    • Gender
    • Specific physiological conditions.

    The main things you need to determine for your wheelchair are the wheelchair size, wheelchair style, type of footrest and armrest needed. You should also take into consideration the various wheelchair features. If speed is a consideration, an electric wheelchair is advisable rather than a manual wheelchair. Then there are options in joystick mounting: right or left-hand and fixed or swing-away. By way of wheelchair tyres, choose them on the basis of your driving conditions. You can also choose the type of leg rest, even the color that suits you. Your comfort, convenience and personal preference determine the features you select.

    The price you pay for a wheelchair are combined from the cost of:

    • The wheelchair itself
    • Additional Wheelchair Features
    • Wheelchair Accessories
    • Replacement Parts
    • Wheelchair Maintenance Costs
    • Wheelchair training

    Although the final tally may appear staggering, at the end of the day, the wheelchair becomes more about your well being and less about cost. Since you will probably be using your wheelchair on a long term basis, the price you pay becomes irrelevant as it pays for your comfort and mobility.

    Take note that trying to save money when by buying a used wheelchair is seldom advisable. There are no assurances that a second hand wheelchair will suit your needs. Because wheelchairs are often customised to suit the wheelchair user, they are generally not suitable for others to use. Should you decide to buy a second hand wheelchair, make sure that your size and weight falls within the specified capacity of the wheelchair. Also, understand that wheelchairs do not have transferable warranties; meaning the wheelchair warranty lapses as soon as ownership is transferred.

    To increase your chances of finding a second hand wheelchair that suits you best, take your time when comparing wheelchairs. Check your local rehabilitation centre, hospital and/or local disability organisation for advertisements posted on their bulletin boards, websites and newsletters. The more wheelchairs you compare, the better and make sure that you test the wheelchair before you purchase it.

  • The Costs of Using a Wheelchair

    The costs of using a wheelchair do not only involve the cost of the wheelchair itself but a whole lot of other things. These include :

    1. The wheelchair:
      This can range in price anywhere between £100 and £7,000, depending on the type you need. Below are typical price ranges for each type.

      • Standard Manual Wheelchair: Between £100 and £1,500

      • Folding Manual Wheelchair: Between £500 and £1,750

      • Power Scooter: Between £450 and £1,500

      • Power Wheelchair: Between £800 and £3,750

      • Sports Utility Wheelchair: Between £1,000 and £4,000

      • All-Terrain Wheelchair: Between £900 and £7,000

    2. Modifications and Improvements to the wheelchair:
      This involves customizing or requesting additional features to address your specific condition.

    3. Modifications and Improvements to Your Accommodation:
      This involves adding wheelchair ramps to uneven floors and wheelchair lifts to staircases.

    4. Modifications and Improvements on Your Vehicle:
      This involves installing lifts and carriers.

    5. Wheelchair Education:
      This involves being trained to maximise the use of your wheelchair

    6. Wheelchair Accessories:
      This involves baskets or other things you would need to perform daily tasks.

    7. Wheelchair Maintenance:
      This involves replacing parts and getting your wheelchair evaluated by a professional from time to time.

    Although the costs may seem too much, any wheelchair user would gladly pay these to live comfortably and be as mobile as possible. Furthermore, for those who do not have the financial capability to pay for all these expenses at once, certain improvements and modifications on the wheelchair itself or on the home of the user can be made over time.

    Lastly, anyone would agree that this is a small price to pay for the benefits using wheelchairs bring.

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