wheelchair – types and uses

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introduction

A wheelchair, as the name suggests, is a chair mounted on wheels intended to make its user mobile. It can be controlled and operated manually or electronically.

Investing in this personal mobility aid is a great way to allow the user to get around, carry out their tasks, participate in activities, and lead an independent life. All this while preventing injuries and life-threatening situations. 

While a wheelchair has several transformational advantages, not every person’s needs are the same. While some people need wheelchairs for their day to day mobility, others may only require it temporarily, for instance, to recover after an accident. 

Depending on your financial situation and specific needs, you can either buy wheelchair or opt for wheelchair rentals.

why wheelchairs are needed?

There are several conditions, permanent or temporary, that impact the mobility of a person and make wheelchairs for patients necessary. Known as mobility impairments, these range from being orthopaedic or neuromuscular and include:

  1. Leg injury
  2. Amputation
  3. Spinal cord injury
  4. Muscular dystrophy
  5. Multiple sclerosis
  6. Cerebral Palsy
  7. Alzheimer’s Disease
  8. Rheumatoid arthritis
  9. Parkinson’s disease
  10. Brain injury
  11. Paralysis
  12. Inability to walk for long distances
  13. Problems with gait or balancing

what are the different types of wheelchairs? 

Wheelchairs were first used in the 15th-century and gradually gained popularity because of their benefits and functionality. 

Today, with advancements in technology, there are several varieties of wheelchairs available that open up a world of possibilities for patients with compromised mobility. These include:

Manual Wheelchair

As the name suggests, this type of wheelchair is propelled by the user by grabbing the wheels. Alternatively, it can also be pushed by an assistant standing at the back of the wheelchair. This wheelchair can move forward and backwards easily. 

Electric Wheelchair

Also known as powered wheelchairs, motorized wheelchairs, or automatic wheelchairs, they are propelled with a motor and batteries. Made using advanced technology, they are sophisticated and come without the limitations of a manual wheelchair. Electric wheelchairs can move across gravel, climb upstairs, and can even be raised to gain height to allow the user to reach up to higher shelves. Due to their motor, these wheelchairs are heavy and expensive. 

Reclining Wheelchair

Also known as positioning wheelchairs, reclining wheelchairs are much more flexible and lighter in weight. Typically, they are motorized and allow the user to assume different positions and elevations. They can recline backwards, raise and lower the feet, tilt, and much more. This allows for better circulation and prevents ulcers and sores. People who have an extremely low range of motion can opt for recliner wheelchair with commode. This makes maintenance of hygiene more possible.  

Standing Wheelchair

A standing wheelchair is one that can be used to assist a standing position. They move the user seamlessly from a sitting position to a standing one and let them navigate with motorized wheels. These wheelchairs are especially important to support the body ergonomically and enable the user to do all the tasks that require standing, meeting people and make eye to eye contact, and maintaining their functionality. 

Most of these types are foldable wheelchairs that can be folded up into a smaller and compact space. This makes them easier to carry and transport, especially while you are travelling. 

what are wheelchairs for different purposes? 

Wheelchairs vary in usability and functionality greatly. The best way to maximise the use of your wheelchair, you need to let your doctor pick out the best option for you. Usually, this is done considering your:

  1. Age
  2. Size of the body
  3. Lifestyle
  4. Physical condition
  5. Budget
  6. Home layout
  7. Personal preference

Considering all these factors, our experts have rounded off some of the top wheelchairs available that meet most of the user’s needs and environmental situations: 

  1. Mag wheelchair: This wheelchair has better tensile strength and can bear more weight. It has composite mags made of lighter yet sturdier material. They are customisable and address the needs of the user.
  1. Wheelchair with commode: These wheelchairs are for the use of patients with severely compromised mobility and are bed-ridden. Specially designed for the use of the aged, they ensure optimum hygiene. These wheelchairs with commodes allow changing head positions and offer a comfortable backrest. They can be easily used either at home or in the hospital and can hold almost 100 kgs.
  1. Standard wheelchair: Whether you are looking for a full-time wheelchair for a temporary option, this standard wheelchair is one of the best options. Designed to suit a variety of activity and lifestyle choices, this wheelchair is lightweight, functional, and allows for maximum mobility. It comes with several add-on features such as a detachable armrest & footrest, user-controlled brakes, and a chrome steel frame. 

how to choose the best wheelchair? 

It is essential to choose the right wheelchair to have effortless movements and enjoy your freedom along with good health. Here are some important things that will help you choose the best mobility option for yourself:

  1. Your weight: This decides how sturdy should be the wheelchair and the strength of its frame and components. The wheelchair that you choose must be durable and able to take higher levels of stress. Opting for a portable wheelchair will keep you mobile and enhance your quality of life. 
  1. Physical condition: People who are rehabbing from an injury or recuperating from surgery and are bed-ridden, have extremely low levels of mobility. The best choice, in this case, is a toilet wheelchair. 
  1. Your lifestyle: If you are working or need to be out of the house for a part of the day, you need to opt for a folding wheelchair. These are easier to fold up and transport in a car. 
  1. Financial constraints: This is one of the most important considerations for most people. Powered and lightweight wheelchairs that are designed for better comfort are more expensive than the standard manual wheelchairs. 

Besides these, always look for wheelchair specifications such as its weight, manoeuvrability, and stability. 

how to use wheelchairs?

How much you benefit from a wheelchair depends on how you use it. Here are some expert tips:

  1. Whether you are using a standard wheelchair or a wheelchair for toilet use, it is essential to get familiar with its functioning. A wheelchair has several components, each with its specific functioning, which can be understood from the product manual.
  1. One of the most important things is to locate its brakes and learn how to use them.
  1. Next, adjust its seat and backrest to make it comfortable.
  1. Position your footplates on the sides and sit on the seat. 
  1. Swing the footplates back into the position. You are now ready to move. 
  1. If you are using a wheelchair with toilet facility, it is essential to learn and practice good hygiene practices. With several great options of a wheelchair with commode near me, you are assured of comfort, safety, and privacy while meeting your hygiene needs. 

When chosen carefully from a credible company, a wheelchair is a great way to live a fuller life. They also help in improving and managing your condition well. 

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