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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

What is the best wheelchair for nursing homes

This is a question that we are asked fairly regularly by nursing and care homes from around the UK. When looking for a wheelchair for a care home then there are a few key questions that need to be asked before you can choose a wheelchair that will meet your requirements and as often as not, most nursing homes have a range of wheelchairs to make sure they can provide for all of their users.

Wheelchair size

What size of wheelchair is needed? the seat width is the best guide, where 18 is considered standard. if you have some overweight or larger users then you might need to consider a heavy duty extra wide wheelchair, these are often referred to as bariatric wheelchairs

Maximum user weight

All wheelchair manufacturers’ give guidance on the maximum user weight for each model that they supply. it is imperative that you stick well within these guidelines to ensure that the wheelchair is sufficiently strong to take the users weight without the risk of damage to the chair and the user.

Wheelchair type

These can be split mainly in to one of two types being transit, where the user is pushed by an attendant or a self propelled wheelchair which is moved along by its user although does have push handles so can be propelled by an attendant also.

Fixed or reclining

Reclining wheelchairs were viewed as rather specialist a few years ago but more recently they have become accepted as fairly routine. These allow the user to be reclined when they wish to rest or when they need to reduce the pressure on the spine. Tilt in space wheelchairs are another type of reclining wheelchair but these tilt both the seat and the back rest which again helps to alleviate compression of the spine.

Special features

Some wheelchair users will have specific requirements such as elevating leg rests, head rests or other features. If this is the case it is often best to get advice from an occupational therapist who can best prescribe the functionality required.

In general most care homes require a range of wheelchairs to cover all eventualities. Although most wheelchairs will be used only within the carehome and its grounds some will be taken off site when outings or hospital visits are arranged. Folding wheelchairs are essential if this is the case to make the storage and transportation easier. Although most models fold its worth looking out for one with a half folding backrest as this reduces the space needed to store the chair.

Reliability is key as is the quality of the build. If it is unlikely that the wheelchair will need to be lifted in and out of vehicles then the weight is of less importance. This is where steel wheelchairs come in to their own as they tend to provide a stronger frame that will withstand the knocks of time better than their lightweight aluminum equivalents.

Finally one key feature for wheelchairs is hygiene and the ability to clean the upholstery on a frequent basis. It is worth checking that the wheelchair upholstery can be removed as this allows a more thorough wash.

One manufacturer, Karma Mobility has its own system that uses Aegis microbe shield fabric which prevents the growth of microbes on textiles keeping the upholstery cleaner and fresher between launderings. It does this by preventing the growth of odor causing bacteria on the upholstery.

If you want any further advice or guidance on selecting the best wheelchair for your care home then please call and we can point you in the right direction.