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How Long will You be Using Your Wheelchair?

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How Long will You be Using Your Wheelchair?


It's important to remember not all individuals who use a wheelchair do so for the majority of their waking hours. Sometimes, a wheelchair is a supplementary transport or is used in place of another device from time to time.

 

For those who do call a wheelchair their primary mode of transportation, considerations will be different than for those who only use a wheelchair some of the time. People who spend the majority of their time in a wheelchair require a chair with features that go beyond standard inclusions.

 

Are you going to be using your wheelchair full-time, or as a mobility solution only for certain situations? Additionally, will you be using the wheelchair for a relatively short time period or is it a permanent addition to your life? Considering these two questions will help you make a better determination on which type of wheelchair might be best for your needs.

 

For short-term applications, a simpler manual wheelchair might be a good solution, while those looking for a permanent wheelchair should consider a design with more support options, skin protection, and a customized fit.

 

If you only need your chair for a short period of time and you have someone you can depend on to push your chair for you, then something like a standard manual wheelchair or transport chair might be a good cost-effective solution for easy mobility.

 

Generally smaller and more narrow than standard wheelchairs, transport wheelchairs have smaller wheels and are easier to navigate and control for caregivers and attendants. Because they can't be manually controlled by the rider, transport chairs are well suited for short-term use, such as post-op, or during injury recovery, along with secondary use in combination with a larger electric or manual wheelchair.

 

Regular manual wheelchairs offer a good mobility option for both the short and long-term, especially for users who retain upper body strength and are able to self-propel. Electric or power wheelchairs are better suited for riders with injury, disability, or illness challenges that prevent them from self-propulsion.

 

Power wheelchairs are also recommended for long-term use, as they are often roomier and have more positioning supports than their manual counterparts. For people with degenerative conditions or for the elderly, electric wheelchairs are preferable as they require very little control or strength on the part of the user. They also tend to be larger and heavier than manual wheelchairs, but many of today's power designs can fold down into separate components for easier transport by vehicle. 

 

Ergonomic and customized wheelchairs include a host of various design elements to make extended sitting as comfortable as possible, with tilt-in-space and reclining functions to improve energy and reduce fatigue, adjustable-height and or width seats, armrests, and footrests to provide the perfect fit, and flip-away and/or removable armrests and footrests to improve access for frequent transfers. 

 

If you'll be using an electric wheelchair for extended amounts of time, it's crucial to find one with plenty of battery power, along with a backup battery or two to ensure you always have power when you need it.

 

Some wheelchair designs, especially those for children, include a wide variety of accessories or design features that enable modifications and adjustments as the user's needs change, making them a much more cost-effective selection for the long-term. 


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