When considering purchasing a wheelchair the overall weight of the chair can have a big influence on your decision. This is particularly true when looking for a wheelchair that is easy to lift and transport.
The lighter the chair the easier it will be to push the person. The lightest wheel chairs can be around 9-10kg. These tend to be the travel wheelchairs which are compact and designed for storage and transportation.
Self propelled wheelchairs are designed with larger wheels at the back so that the user can propel themselves as and when they so wish. It can take quite a bit of upper body strength to propel a wheelchair for sustained periods but for most people even with limited mobility they would be able to move the wheels if they needed to propel for short distances. The larger wheels at the back also make it easier to push the wheelchair and to get over obstacles such as kerbs and low steps.
When propelling in an active wheelchair you can have choice of pneumatic tyres or solid and there are options to customise the rims and wheels to suit the user.
This question should be considered in terms of the amount of time the user will be spending in the wheelchair.
Many standard wheelchairs are designed for occasional use and short trips and not really for prolonged durations. The seating and back rest will not be ergonomically designed in a way that a premium or active wheelchairs would be.
Wheelchairs that are designed for more extensive use will offer more comfort and support to the user. Cushioning can also play an important role in getting correct seating in a chair for prolonged use. We can adjust many of the more premium wheelchairs to suit your needs and requirements. Our rehab team can assess your requirements and talk through the options and help to get the right chair for you.
Getting the right sized seat is important for your overall comfort whilst sitting in the chair.
Having your weight distributed over the seat evenly will also make it easier to push the wheelchair.
If your chair is too narrow you may find that you end up with pressure sores. If a chair is overly wide you may find it diffucult to spread your weight evenly.
It’s also important that you are able to rest your arms comfortably in the chair and be able to reach the arm rests safely to help you in and out of the wheelchair. Its important to also consider the clothing that you are going to wear whilst in the wheelchair and how this is going to change with the seasons, for example bigger coats during the winter months.
The majority of wheelchairs are designed to be used with a cushion. Our rehab team would usually recommend a cushion even it is an economy model when buying a wheelchair.
If you are going to be in the chair for prolonged periods and have sensitive skin, we would always recommend using more advanced cushions such as pressure care cushions that are made to an exacting standard and prevent pressure sores.
Those at a lower risk can move towards a basic foam cushion. A memory foam or gel cushion should be used for those who are at a moderate or medium risk. Companies such as Invacare and Sunrise Medical offer an excellent range of cushioning and we have these available to try in our showrooms.
Every wheelchair has a maximum user weight and the average limit is around 18 stone. We do offer heavier duty chairs for those users exceeding the 18 stone capacity.
We do and Active wheelchairs are a substantial part of our business. We would always start by adding that experience levels of the user is key to getting the right chair for the right person. Pushing a wheel chair can be hard work and it will take a user a while to really know what they want from an active wheelchair.
If you are relatively new to the world of active wheelchairs, it makes sense to look at chairs that can be altered and adjusted further on down the line and offer future proof alterations.
We have a good team at Magbility who are strong in this area and we can help you on your journey to find the right active wheelchair.
Primarily there are two main distinct types of wheelchair on the market today. The first is the attendant propelled or transit wheelchair which has slightly smaller wheels at the rear than its counterpart the self propelled wheelchair which has larger wheels with rims that allow the user to push themselves along.
If the user is planning to be pushed all of the time whist in the wheelchair then we suggest the transit style of wheelchair as they are easier to steer and manage in comparison to the self propelled wheelchairs.
On the other hand, if the user thinks that they may wish to propel themselves even occasionally, going for the self propel option would be advisable but the increased width of the wheelchair due to the larger rear wheels must also be considered.
There are no hard and fast rules to choosing a wheelchair but taking the time to think about when and where you are going to use the wheelchair is a good idea. We have all of the wheelchairs you see on display in our showrooms.
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