Here at CareCo, we offer a great range of wheelchairs from standard travel chairs to fully functional sports chairs, but before choosing your wheelchair there are several different factors to consider. In this article, we’ll give you all the information you need to make the right choice.
Self-propelled or transit wheelchair?
The first consideration to take into account is whether or not you want to propel yourself in the wheelchair. Younger wheelchair users and the more able bodied tend to choose self-propelled wheelchairs as it gives certain advantages over a transit wheelchair, the most important being freedom, as they can travel around even when there is no-one to aid them.
A self-propelled wheelchair is often more comfortable on uneven terrain due to the larger rear wheels, so those who usually travel over this type of terrain often choose a self-propelled wheelchair even if they have an attendant to push them.
Transit wheelchairs and travel wheelchairs are ideal for those who are less abled and require the aid of an attendant to push them. The smaller wheels make these wheelchairs highly manoeuvrable and easier to load into a vehicle.
Wheelchair features to consider
Wheelchair tyres come in two different styles, pneumatic or solid rubber and both have their advantages and disadvantages. Pneumatic tyres are much like tyres on a car or bike and are filled with air to a standard pressure. Pneumatic tyres can be adjusted depending on the terrain condition and are often more comfortable than solid rubber tyres, although they are prone to punctures and have to be replaced more often.
Solid tyres are cheaper than pneumatic tyres and have the benefit that they are puncture resistant, although the ride can be a bit firmer and may not suit some people.
Some wheelchairs also come with anti-tip wheels located on the rear of the chair; these prevent the wheelchair from tipping backwards when in use. Anti-tip wheels are often adjustable and removable, although it is recommended that if a chair is fitted with them that you keep them fitted for safety.
Wheelchair footrests can be adjusted to ensure that the user is in the most comfortable position possible. Some also come with Velcro straps to stop the user’s legs from slipping off the footrest plate, while others detach from the chair for easy storage and easier vehicle loading.
Armrests are an essential accessory on any wheelchair and provide stability and balance whilst getting into and out of the chair. Armrests are usually adjustable for support and comfort while using the chair and some are removable for easy transportation.
Brakes are a must have safety feature for any wheelchair and are usually located just below the armrest for easy reach. Some wheelchairs have brakes located on the push handles and can be operated by the attendant. The brakes must always be used when the wheelchair is left unattended or the passenger is transferring out of the chair.
When choosing a wheelchair there are many options when it comes to cushions. These can range from simple foam seats to pressure relieving cushions specially designed to help relieve sores. It is best to try out a few different cushion types to see which one suits you best before making your mind up, alternatively, you can always purchase a replacement seat at a later date and depending on your specific needs.
We have a range of wheelchair storage bags available from small rucksacks to large shopping bags, ideal for carrying your personal items in. some storage bags fasten to the armrests or underneath the wheelchair, while the majority of them attach to the back of the chair. This makes it easier for the attendant to have easy access to items when they are needed.
Whatever type of wheelchair you choose, you can be sure to get the best deal at CareCo and our customer service team is always on hand to answer any questions you may have.