To those who are particularly challenged with their ambulatory functions or find standing for a sustained amount of time too much for them to handle, self propelled wheelchairs are often seen as of invaluable help.
This is true most especially in the case of the disabled or the elderly people. Their bodies are feeble and that alone will limit their movement, particularly with respect to their ambulatory functions, which necessitates they be carried or transported while remaining on their seats.
Manual wheelchairs can be taken advantage of scenarios like this, and there are two main types here. One is self-propelled and the other is transit.
Transit type of wheelchairs come with fairly small wheels on the rear. This kind of design will keep the user from propelling themselves whilst remaining seated. Therefore, he will be requiring some help or assistance from another person, or from a caregiver perhaps.
On the contrary, self propelled wheelchairs come with bigger wheels with rings or push rims which the occupant can reach.
This feature allows the wheelchair user to propel himself on long or short distances, depending on his physical capability.
Recognizing a Chair’s Main Purpose
The key to finding the most appropriate manual wheelchair that is ideal for use in a situation is to identify first what purpose you are going to have it for. There are those who want to have it for use on certain occasions such as during doctor visits, outings, or as a means of transport where walking the required distance is impractical.
But in the case of an invalid or disabled person, it is of substantial value and a great help for their problems on mobility. For those people who may be needing it only for some occasions, getting themselves self-propelled wheelchairs is not as necessary when compared to those who will use it regularly.
Portability is another feature of prime importance. It is one of those things that you really need to look into and must not skimp on. We qualify a wheelchair as portable if it is compact, foldable, and most importantly, if it is lightweight, too.
These features though may not be seen as necessary for wheelchairs you transport via a wheelchair accessible vehicle where the user can still remain seated on it. Needless to say, the wheelchair’s weight is a point of consideration here since the weight itself will have an impact on how easy or challenging it will be to push or move the chair with someone on it.
It is typical for a standard transit wheelchair to be lighter in weight due to the size of the wheel on the rear. But a caregiver may find a self-propelled wheelchair a lot easier to push over gravel or grass when small steps are negotiated, due to the rear wheel size being larger.
A self-propelled wheelchair would be more favorable for negotiating difficult or challenging surfaces, even if you intend to use it only for short distances. Actual users will find transit wheelchairs more difficult to handle or move independently on their own in most circumstances.
Need for Armplates and Footplates
Depending on the ability of the user and the time he is intending to spend in a wheelchair, he may find armrests and footplates extra useful. The armrest height will help ensure that your shoulders will sit evenly and that you are not inclined to lean on one side.
Footplate adjustment is also important because it significantly helps in making sure that buttocks and thighs are evenly spread. For instance, specialized attachments may be necessary for someone whose leg has a cast. He may need to extend his legs outwards which can be made possible by virtue of elevated leg rest.
Such additions contribute to a wheelchairs’ overall level of comfort so that users are able to sit on them even for extended amounts of time if required. However, it must be noted that attachments will definitely add a significant amount of weight to a wheelchairs’ overall size and weight. Therefore, it is important that you make sure that they are removable or you can dismantle them fast for purposes of transporting.