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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

Wheelchair News

  • A Manual or Motorised Wheelchair?

    When it comes to wheelchairs and the amount of wheelchairs that are available on the market today - the choice isnt made easy. The various options are there to address the varied requirements of people with diverse combinations of physical disabilities.

    To guarantee that you end up with the wheelchair that matches your needs, take your time scrutinising and weighing up the various options that the individual wheelchairs bring with them.

    When choosing a wheelchair dont think short term, the long term factors are important, you are investing in a wheelchair that could possibly change your lifestyle. Your comfort and convenience are the primary concerns, so make certain you opt for a wheelchair you can really live with.

    Whether you are looking for a manual wheelchair or a motorised wheelchair, spending wisely now may spare you additional expense and difficulty later.

    Manual Wheelchairs:

    Manual wheelchairs require the user to have upper body strength as the wheelchair user has to operate or propel the wheelchair themselves. If the user has neither the strength nor the ability to operate the a manual wheelchair or if operating the wheelchair aggrevates their condition, they should consider a motorised wheelchair.

    Motorised Wheelchair:

    A motorised wheelchair or commonly known as a "power wheelchair" has the benefit of an electric motor providing the propulsion, making it ideal for users who are unable to propel manual wheelchairs themselves.

    As a rule, power wheelchairs are much more expensive than manual wheelchairs.

    The reason why is because of the development and technology that is used. If your condition necessitates the use of a motorised wheelchair, it would be wise to check with your insurance provider. Find out if Personally Operated Vehicles (POV's) are listed within your policy.

    If not, bear in mind that a wheelchair is normally a one-off acquisition, so the pricey power wheelchair may ultimately be worth it.

    The standard power wheelchair is controlled via some form of joystick, there are other forms of control systems available, some more innovative than others.

    Motorised wheelchairs can operate both indoors and outdoors, and may be customised with various features that enhance comfort and ease of use. So, analyse which features will really help you move about with greater efficiency.

    Purchase associated wheelchair parts and wheelchair accessories at the same time as the wheelchair. An example could be a portable wheelchair ramp, it is a useful accessory in a location that limits a wheelchair users maneuverability.

  • Differences Between Powerchairs & Scooters

    Knowing the difference between a powerchair and a mobility scooter is somewhat harder than you would think, since they are typically lumped together because they are both forms of electric wheelchairs rather than the traditional manual wheelchair. The fact is you can still tell the difference between powerchairs and mobility scooters.

    First of all, looking at a mobility scooter, you'll see that it typically has three to four wheels and is similar to a bicycle, as it has a handlebar to steer with. Mobility scooters are designed to go long distance(s), as they can travel longer distances before the battery runs out.

    Most often, you'll see these devices used by those who still have some mobility but either tire from walking quickly, or are simply uncomfortable walking long distances. Also, depending on which model and make you consider buying, you might be able buy a mobility scooter that is foldable and thus transportable and can be stored easier.

    Unlike a mobility scooter, a powerchair resembles a wheelchair much more. Some particular models actually are designed to look just like older manual wheelchairs, except that they have motors attached to the wheels and are powered by batteries. Instead of the handlebars used on a mobility scooter, powerchairs use a simple joystick that is located on the end of the powerchair's arm.

    For the most part, powerchairs are used by users who will spend most of their time in the powerchair, which means that they are much easier to adapt for individual users, as opposed to scooters. Powerchairs can have modified seating and controls changed for hand, chin, or mouth use, making it a very versatile mobility product. Powerchairs are much easier to use indoors than scooters, even though they can be used outside as well.

    One of the main features about powerchairs that makes them much better for indoors is that while a mobility scooter utilizes one motor to work the rear wheels, a powerchair has individual motors on each wheel which in turn creates a smaller turning circle. That also helps with control and increases traction, making the powerchair much more stable for indoor use.

    For the most part, powerchairs are more expensive than mobility scooters, but that is because they can be adapted so easily, have better control features, and often, those who use powerchairs will be using them much more often than mobility scooter users. In some cases, these users will be unable to walk, or support themselves, so the powerchairs requirements can be vastly different than that of the mobility scooter.

    Earlier days trying to dismantle a powerchair was a much more difficult process than that of dismantling a scooter, but things have started to change so that powerchairs can now fit into the car boot. As well as the size, the structure and manufacturing process of powerchairs are being redesigned to create a more sturdy and durable powerchair that can match the ruggedness of a scooter.

  • Wheelchair Carriers

    Wheelchair carriers are important for those wheelchair users that travel a lot, the carrier makes it possible to accommodate the wheelchair when the user is traveling for example by car on holiday.

    Wheelchair carrier variations:

    • Car Top or Roof:
      Car top wheelchair carriers are often powered by an electric motor controlled by switches. These carriers lift wheelchairs and place them into a storage compartment. When the wheelchair is in place the carrier closes and locks.

    • Bumper Mounted:
      Bumper mounted carriers are attached to the vehicles bumper. They can simply be mounted then removed when not in use. However, installing this type of carrier requires holes to be drilled into the bumper, so professional help is recommended.

    • Tow Hook or Hitch Mounted:
      Hitch mounts are attached to the vehicles tow bar/hook. Wheelchairs can be placed onto these carriers by simply releasing a bar that will allow the carrier to tilt. The wheelchair can then be rolled into/onto the carrier.

      When the wheelchair has been mounted, the bar should must be reattached and the carrier and the wheelchair will lock in place. This type of wheelchair carrier generally has a maximum carrying capacity of 75lbs.

    • Pick Up:
      A pick up wheelchair carrier is specifically made for wheelchair users who own or use pick-up trucks for transportation. Pick-up carriers lift the wheelchair and place it safely onto the vehicles loading bed.

    No matter what type of vehicle the wheelchair user owns or uses, there are suitable wheelchair carriers on the market to accommodate all needs.

  • Wheelchair Common Sense

    Having the correct wheelchair is of great importance for those with a physical mobility disability. Although many of the factors seem obvious, it is often necessary to go through and review each element to make the right decision(s) when buying the right wheelchair.

    Among the first things to consider is how the wheelchair user will be transferred to and from the wheelchair. Another related factor is how the wheelchair will be propelled, either by the wheelchair user him/herself or by an attendant. These factors have significant implications on the size of the wheelchair.

    First of all, having the wrong height may cause the user to have bad posture which can lead to long term health problems including damaging the spine.

    The seat's height is also important for the safety of the wheelchair user and the ease by which he can transfer to and from the wheelchair. Furthermore, those who have the need to propel the wheelchair with their feet may need to have a seat height that will allow them to use their heels while still comfortable.

    How the user will transfer to and from the wheelchair also has significant implications on the kind of wheelchair arm rests that are required. Should the user be able to stand and walk to the wheelchair, full length and stable arm rests are recommended. On the other hand, swing away, folding, or removable arm rests are recommended for those who have to slide on to their wheelchair.

    For users who have no trouble transferring to and from their wheelchairs, it might be more beneficial to use shorter arm rests especially when the wheelchair user works from the wheelchair in front of a desk or table. Shorter arm rests allow the wheelchair user to get closer to the table they are using.

    Adjustable arm rests can be requested when customising wheelchairs so that the height can be perfect for every immediate need of the wheelchair user.

    The wheelchair users height is significant in determining how high the back rest should be. Although the typical wheelchair back rest ends just below the users shoulder blades, other factors have to be considered. The strength of the wheelchair users upper body determines what type of wheelchair frame and wheelchair type is needed.

    Those wheelchair users that have limited upper body strength a lightweight wheelchair is recommended to lessen the strain on the arms and shoulders.

    The weight of the wheelchair needed depends on the weight of the user. A standard wheelchair has the maximum load capacity of 250 lbs. Should the user weigh more than this, a bariatric wheelchair is recommended as they hold users up to 700 lbs.

    For those with weight and height requirements that exceed the average, custom made wheelchairs are an option - these wheelchairs can be more expensive than the standard "off the shelf" wheelchair that can be bought almost anywhere.

    The wheelchairs seat size depends on the wheelchair users physical build. Standard wheelchairs have seats from 14" to 30". The standard depth is 16" and goes up to 20". Should the wheelchair user need a wheelchair seat cushion that is wider custom made cushions can be bought.

    In order to measure the perfect seat size, the wheelchair user must be measured in two ways. First, the width of the hips should be measured. The resulting measurement plus an inch is the recommended seat width. Second, the length from the users hip to the knee must be measured. This measurement should be taken while the user is sitting down. Subtract an inch from the resulting measurement and you will get the recommended seat depth.

    Lastly, the kind of wheelchair foot rest(s) should be looked at. Wheelchair leg rests come in all shapes and sizes, fixed, swing away, light weight and steel, the majority can be adjusted according to the height of the user. Other wheelchair leg rests can elevate to allow the user to raise or stretch the legs. These are often used by those who experience leg swelling. For those who do not experience this problem, a regular type of foot rest can be used.

    Considering all these factors have significant effects on the type of wheelchair to be purchased for or by a wheelchair user as these also will determine just how comfortable and effective the wheelchair can be used.

  • Wheelchairs for Sport

    Sports wheelchairs were specifically developed for use in physical activities including basketball, tennis, and even racing. They weigh very little making them easier to control and maneuver. However, sports wheelchairs are certainly not limited for use in sports. In truth, physically disabled individuals have much to gain by using sports wheelchairs for everyday use.

    Sports wheelchairs are a popular choice because they are a lightweight wheelchair. It is recommended for individuals who still have full upper body functionality to use manual wheelchairs and sport wheelchairs are a common choice among them.

    However, not everyone can make use of a sports wheelchairs especially if they are over 250 pounds as sports wheelchairs often weight only 19 to 30 pounds so they will not be able to carry individuals that are heavier than average.

    The reason why sports wheelchairs are so light is due to the lightweight material(s) used to build them. Whether the sports wheelchair you choose is made from aluminium, chrome, or titanium, you can be sure that they are manufactured to be both lightweight and sturdy.

    For the seating material, plastic, vinyl, and spandex are often used. Because of such light materials being used, sports wheelchairs have become easy to control with features that allow them to shift direction easily and move speedily.

    There are many different types of sports wheelchairs to choose from and the best choice would really depend on its purpose. Several types of wheelchairs are available for specific types of wheelchair sports but there are also standard wheelchairs that can be used for daily activities.

    Whenever sports wheelchairs are bought, it is common to purchase wheelchair accessories at the same time. The most common sport wheelchair accessories are safety or constraining belts that keep the user safe on the seat when playing sport, wheelchair bags for personal belongings or sport accessories, and others such as gloves and upper body supports.

    Remember that buying a good sports wheelchair is not always about choosing the most popular brand. It is always good to evaluate your needs before buying a sports wheelchair. Make sure that you read user reviews and general opinions about the durability and useability of the wheelchair that you want to buy. Test the wheelchair to make sure that you can use it properly, they are similar but not the same as a standard manual wheelchair.

  • Bags for Wheelchairs

    There are a wide variety of wheelchair accessories on the market that wheelchair users can choose from. Among the most popular accessories are wheelchair bags which are specially designed for wheelchair users to be able to travel around in their wheelchairs while also being able to comfortably take some of their personal belongings with them.

    Wheelchair bags come in several types, shapes, sizes, and have a variety of functions. The most popular bags include armrest bags, down in front bags, glove boxes, and cargo shelves.

    As the name suggests, armrest bags hang from the wheelchairs armrest, to the side of the wheelchair. They are widely preferred because of their convenience and accessibility to the seated individual. When buying this type of wheelchair bag, make sure that the bag is the right size to give you maximum storage space without it touching the wheelchair wheels.

    "Down in front" bags are those that are installed directly onto the frame of the wheelchair and are located right in front of the seated user. These often come with flaps to ensure the security of the items inside, preventing the items from falling out of the bag.

    There are also glove boxes available for wheelchairs. These can be attached beneath the seat where valuables can be kept. These are often made to fit standard sized wheelchairs but they can also be customised to ensure that they fit properly.

    To store bigger things, cargo shelf bags can be attached to the wheelchair frame. These often come with additional, smaller-sized pockets to accommodate the storage of smaller items.

    For individuals who need to store and transport even larger items, other types of bags can be customised. Even standard wheelchair bags can be custom made according to the needs and preferences of the wheelchair user. Additional features like zippers or extra compartments can be requested. Buckles, flaps, and straps can also be used for the stability and security of the items being stored.

    When customising wheelchair bags, the options are limitless.

  • Electric Wheelchair Know How

    George Klein was the first person to invent electric wheelchairs. He was an employee of the National Research Council of Canada and helped veterans injured in World War II.

    There are four major types of electric wheelchairs: center, rear, four wheel or front wheel drive. Each individual wheelchair type has its own handling attributes. The types of electric wheelchairs differ based on seating type.

    Some of the electric wheelchairs look like manual wheelchairs with a frame and sling seat while others look like a captain's chair with a car type seat. There are portable and small sized models which allow easy folding to heavy weight and large sized electric wheelchairs also known as rehabilitation chairs.

    Electric wheelchairs are manufactured for indoor, outdoor or dual functionality use. Wheelchair users who find it difficult to use a manual wheelchair due to shoulder, arm or hand disorders, or those who lack sufficient leg strength to move the wheelchair, need electric wheelchairs. People who have sufficient upper body functionality tend to use manual wheelchairs as their insurance policies may not include electric wheelchair costs.

    Using joystick controllers the occupant is able to maneuver the electric wheelchair and control the wheelchair speed. If coordination between fingers and hands is poor then other control mechanisms can be used to operate the wheelchair. Chin controls or sip and puff scanners for people with C2-3 type spinal cord injury and head injuries are available. By blowing into tubes located beside the occupant's mouth the wheelchair is can be moved.

    These controllers are not only fragile but very expensive. You can have different powered functionalities built in the electric wheelchair such as leg raising, tilting, reclining, elevation of the seat etc. as well as other functionalities to improve seating posture.

    Electric motors are used to propel the electric wheelchairs. Rechargeable batteries of 4 or 5 amperes capacity power the wheelchair. You can use both dry and wet batteries with the wheelchair, whereby dry batteries are morepopular. Charging facilities are present on the electric wheelchair, which you can plug into wall outlets. The older electric wheelchairs have separate units for charging the batteries.

  • Looking at Lightweight Wheelchairs

    One of the most popular types of wheelchairs that are currently available in the market are lightweight wheelchairs. Light weight wheelchair variants are the same as standard steel wheelchairs.

    Although there are also electric light weight wheelchairs available, they will never be as light as the manual wheelchair as they are constructed differently to accomodate special features and have to carry the weight of the electric motors.

    Lightweight wheelchairs vary dramatically in price, anything from £60 to thousands of pounds, this of course depends on the technology and the wheelchairs features.

    Aluminium or titanium is used when manufacturing lightweight wheelchairs, the more expensive lightweight wheelchairs or specialist wheelchairs are built using carbon fibre.

    Lightweight wheelchairs are the best option for those who place high importance on their mobility. Because of its lightweight features the wheelchair is easier for its user to move themselves or have others push them.

    Having a lightweight wheelchair would be a big help to those who, despite being disabled have an active lifestyle. This way, even those with physical disabilities can take part in sports such as wheelchair basketball and even wheelchair tennis.

    Although it cannot be argued that the wheelchair users would not be as active as the able bodied, the wheelchair allows the user to push themselves further and enjoy physical activities. Although the wheelchair sports are played differently, lightweight wheelchairs allow for more physical hobbies and sports.

    The folding wheelchair is also considered as a lightweight wheelchair and these are most appropriate for those who like to travel on a regular basis. Visiting friends and relatives would not be a problem because light weight folding wheelchairs are compact making them easier to transport.

    They even fit in the boot of standard vehicles. Although a folding wheelchair may have less features than any regular lightweight wheelchair, it is still a popular option because of its portability.

    Hopefully, this simple introduction to lightweight wheelchairs will help you to make better choices when deciding on the wheelchair that will best suit your needs.

  • Selling Used Electric Wheelchairs

    Electric wheelchairs help those who would be unable to move or achieve mobility. Electric wheelchairs give the physically disabled the freedom to be able to go anywhere they want or need to. Previously, those who needed to use wheelchairs had to use manual wheelchairs, propelling themselves or have someone push them.

    Using an electric wheelchair, the mobility of the wheelchair user has been simplified to operating a button then moving a joystick, which enables easy and comfortable movement. Compared to a manual wheelchair, electric wheelchairs are different as they are propelled using hydraulics and electricity.

    Unfortunately, electric wheelchairs maybe a fantastic piece of equipment, they can easily cost a few thousand pounds, which isn't something that the average person can easily afford. Most wheelchair showrooms now buy and offer used electric wheelchairs as long they have been kept in good condition.

    As electric wheelchairs are durable items, most people will often change the wheelchair before it starts to wear out and so easily sell the used wheelchair to someone who cannot afford to purchase a brand new electric wheelchair. Due to the initial price of an electric wheelchair it is possible to sell the wheelchair for at least half of what you originally paid and that's a fair trade.

    An important thing to note is the majority of wheelchair showrooms don't buy used wheelchairs that are older than three years old, and the wheelchairs they do buy back are expected to be in pristine condition.

    In order to actually sell your electric wheelchair you will obviously need to look for somewhere that is looking for secondhand wheelchairs. For the most part, you should avoid looking at the classified ads section in the newspaper the majority of time you will only find smaller companies. More often than not, smaller companies are known to be somewhat unprofessional knowing that electric wheelchairs are expensive and pushing the price as low as they can.

    Instead, you should consider using much more professional companies such as working through agencies such as the MDA or the Muscular Dystrophy Association. These particular organisations are able to match those who have specific needs to the wheelchairs they have available, most often through word of mouth or newsletters and other forms of communication.

    The important thing is that they focus on finding a wheelchair user that suits your wheelchair. Your local rehabilitation centre is also a good place to go, as when you contact them, they should look at different sellers and be able to give them therapists they can work with, therefore finding a user that fits the wheelchair better.

    In the long run, always look for serious buyers and you will find someone that will invest in the wheelchair which will help you to buy a new electric wheelchair or invest the money in something else.

  • Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV)

    Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV)

    Contrary to popular belief, wheelchair users also have the capability to drive their own vehicles. All it takes is the proper equipment specially made for the wheelchair user.

    Should you as a wheelchair user, be interested in driving your own vehicle, consult with an assessment centre near you about adaptive equipment. At the centre, your motoric functions will be evaluated as well as your medical history and road capabilities.

    Once you have been evaluated, specific adaptive equipment will be recommended and you will be trained how to use the new equipment properly.

    Many car manufacturers including Toyota, Ford, and GMC offer the type of equipment wheelchair users need to drive their own vehicles. The most commonly used equipment is a wheelchair lift that lifts the wheelchair and its user into the vehicle.

    Other equipment used are controls that adapt to the wheelchair users driving needs, including controls which control the vehicles accelerator and brakes that can be used by the push of some buttons. Depending on the wheelchair user modifications to the foot pedals or steering can be carried out.

    Apart from the standard modifications, the vehicle itself should be customised specifically for the wheelchair user who will be driving the vehicle. This means that space must be created to accommodate for the users wheelchair or if the user is not seated in the wheelchair whilst driving then space must be there to stow the wheelchair. This space is created by raising the roof as well as lowering the flooring.

    When the wheelchair users is driving the vehicle, it is important to have safety features to make sure that the wheelchair does not move around whilst the vehicle is in motion. For this reason, different types of restraints have been developed.

    Other features such as keyless entries with self opening doors are also available to the wheelchair user, this makes it easier for the user to enter the vehicle.

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