Choosing your wheelchair
Joanne McConnell is an Occupational Therapist and Mobility and Seating Specialist. Jo offers some advice on how to choose your chair and what to discuss with your clinical team when looking for a wheelchair.
“A wheelchair will always be built for one specific user; it is never an 'off the shelf' wheelchair. There are many options in the market and it is important to choose one that fits the user’s lifestyle. An active wheelchair user can expect to spend up to 14 hours a day in their wheelchair.
"Choosing the right wheelchair can make integration into work, education, family life and all social situations more accessible. With an active wheelchair, the user is positioned in an optimal position for independent mobility and as such, can propel or drive with ease for a whole day.
"In addition to comfort and accessibility, a wheelchair user seated within a correct chair chosen to meet both their physical and lifestyle needs will feel more confident about their own abilities.
"A user needs to take a few things into consideration when choosing a wheelchair and the initial assessment should cover the following;
• Does the user drive a car? Many will need to lift their own chair in and out of their car several times a day.
• What level of functional ability does the individual have and what is their condition? Can the user lift a chair across their body onto the passenger seat or will it be lifted into the boot of their car by themselves or a carer?
• What are the home, work and educational environments of the user? The chair assessment should always look at the variety of locations it will be used in.
"Once the initial assessment has taken place, the wheelchair representative will provide a detailed quote and prescription. For help and advice on financing your wheelchair, visit our wheelchair funding pages.
"Once the funds are in the place the user can place the order and the chair will be custom built for their individual needs.”