Wheelchair vs Pushchair
Getting a suitable wheelchair can be a daunting task for first-time wheelchair buyers. After all, what is more important than the comfort and mobility for yourself or your loved ones? An appropriate wheelchair leads to proper quality of life, better health and independence.
Wheelchairs have larger rear wheels that are essential for self-propelling. Suitable for users who do not requirement much assistance.
Pushchairs on the other hand, are more compact with smaller rear wheels that are unreachable by hand, hence require an assistance of a caregiver to push from behind.
What you need to consider when buying a wheelchair
In determining whether a wheelchair is right for the user, it is important to consider the following areas:
- Does it suit the user’s lifestyle?
- Where the wheelchair will be used
- How frequently does the user uses the wheelchair?
- What is the purpose?
- Does it cause any safety issues?
Consider all these factors as a package to ensure that the wheelchair/pushchair is the right ‘fit’ for the user.
For example, a frail patient who is unable to self-propel a wheelchair and needs to be transported frequently to and from a daycare centre, with the help of a caregiver, will require a light and compact pushchair for ease of storing in a car booth. A wheelchair will also serves this requirement but is not ideal as it is heavier to carry into and the car booth.
Common features you need when buying a wheelchair
1. Seat size
Give an allowance of 2 inch (1inch of either side) for clothing or wiggle room. The user must be measured in sitting either at the hips or at the thighs. This also ensures that the armrest can be comfortably used.
2. Seat depth
Ensure that there is a 2 Inch gap from the back of the knee to the seat edge.
3. Capacity of the wheelchair
Most wheelchairs can accommodate up to 100kg. Ensure that there is some allowance in case the user gains weight. Check if the weight capacity of the wheelchair is suitable for the user.
The arm rest is not just a resting place for the arms of the user, it serves to balance and stabilize the user during sudden stops or on sharp turns. If the user needs safety reminders, it is best to have armrest that are filled in; this helps to minimise the risk of getting their hands caught or siding out to either side. Removable (or detachable) arm transport allows easy side transfers on and off the chair.
5. Big or small rear wheels
Big rear wheels are essential to users who will be self-propelling. It is also great exercise for those who are largely wheelchair dependent. If the wheelchair is purely for transit purposes, small rear wheels will be sufficient.
If the user can sit upright comfortably, a standard backrest is sufficient. If the user is bedridden, a reclining backrest can be considered. Bedridden users can’t readjust their posture on their own. A reclining backrest helps to relieve pressure and encourage blood circulation. A reclining backrest also helps in patient transfer from wheelchair to bed.
For patients with back problems, an adjustable tension backrest (tension back) can be adjusted to accommodate the curvature of a person's back. The tension straps can be set to any desired tension and readjusted when preferred or needed.
7. Maintaining Hygiene
Removable seat cushion Is handy for easy washing and maintaining hygiene. An Ideal feature for users with continence issues.
Adjusted the high of the footplates to allow the user to bend 90 degrees at the knees and ankles.
A user with a cast over the knee cannot bend their knee. The user needs an elevating leg rest that is adjustable in the angle.
Fixed footrest should suffice for users who can easily walk in between the footrest when getting in or out of the chair. Otherwise, removable footrest, or flip-up footrest are essential for users when transferring from the front or the side.
9. Safety belt
Safety belt is for safety only. In case the person Is knocked or if the chair comes to a sudden stop.
Safety belts should not be used to position somebody who cannot maintain sitting balance, otherwise, they will slide down which will restrict breathing and can be uncomfortable.
Anti-tippers are useful for users who sit back heavily in the chair and might have a risk of tipping backwards, often considered for users who have double knee amputations.
However, do be mindful that It could also get in the way when going up and down curbs or steep slopes. Do away with this problem by having ones that can be easily adjusted.
Recliner wheelchairs are designed for patients who will be on their wheelchairs for a long period of time and cannot move on their own. The reclining feature allows the user to lie down fully with elevating footrest which allows the user to change the body angle without much hassle and to prevent bedsores.
BION Detac Recliner Wheelchair
Bariatric wheelchairs are heavy duty and are designed to handle users of higher weight requirements. The seat widths are larger often 20 inches or more, and it can hold user of more than 100kg. Bariatric wheelchairs are wider in overall size. Do ensure that your door widths are sufficient for the wheelchair to pass through.
BION iLight Wheelchair Detachable HD FB 20" with Foldable Backrest