Wheelchairs and other mobility options
Updated: Oct 10, 2020
There can be quite a few options for wheelchairs depending on the user and their needs. If we being with the basic folding wheelchair, size would be a good start. Non custom wheelchairs, what we will be discussing here, are sized by the seat width. Sizes for your basic adult wheelchair go 16" wide by 16" deep, 18" wide by 16" deep, 20" wide, 22" wide, and 24" wide. The users height and weight will determine their best fit, but the most common sizes are going to be 18" and 20" wide. Another thing to keep in mind is where the person will be using the wheelchair. The 18" wheelchair is 25-26" total from wheel to wheel. While this will go through most doorways just fine, the user may hit their hands on the door frame. Other options for a basic wheelchair, desk length arm pads or full length. Desk length arm pads are shorter, which allows for the wheelchair to be closer to a desk or table. If the individual is able to ambulate easier to another chair, desk length may not be needed and full length pads are more comfortable. Leg rests would be the final decision when picking a wheelchair. Standard footrests, are stationary rests for the users feet. Limited in adjustability and are only for feet placement. Elevating Leg Rests or ELRs are the other option. ELRs can be adjusted by the angle of the leg rest and comes with a calf pad standard for more leg support. These are commonly used when the user has a broken leg which needs to be elevated, or for users who need extra leg support.
Maybe the user has limited mobility, but constantly using a wheelchair will be counter productive to their strength building or rehabilitation. Maybe the user will not be strong enough to push themselves. A transport wheelchair may be a better option. A transport wheelchair does not have large push wheels, but four small wheels. This makes it lighter and easier to put into a car, a great option if the user will not push themselves going to a doctors appointment, or trips where the user will be pushed. Transport wheelchairs are usually around 20lbs and have multiple folding points to become compact and fit into a car.
If it is a walking progression, the user may not be ready, or need a wheelchair quite yet but is still at risk of falling. A cane or quad cane are good places to start for mobility aids. Canes can help give the user support and help keep balance and avoid falling. If the cane does not give enough support, a walker might be the next step. Basic folding walkers act as a safety frame for the user and come with four legs, or front wheels and tennis balls/ski on the back. The user may use the walker for long periods of time and get tired. Walkers with a seat or "rollators" have four wheels for easy pushing, hand brakes for control, and a seat for when the user gets tired. Having a seat where ever you go can be quite helpful when avoiding falling. Rollators also come with a basket or bag for easy carrying and can be folded to place in a car.
Range Medical Homecare Supplies carries all the mobility equipment and aids for people to try. Everyone and their needs are different and its important to find the right equipment to help keep the user safe and independent.