Monday, 26 October 2015

Getting The Right Wheelchair For You

Surely, it's easy to pick a wheelchair, right? It's just a seat with wheels, how hard could it be? 

There are many different types of wheelchair and to get the right one, that is comfortable, going to last a while, and be suitable for your individual needs, you need to consider a few things.

As a prolific list-maker, I've come up with factors to consider when picking the right wheelchair for you.
  • Age: who is the wheelchair for, child, adult?
  • Body type: wheelchairs have weight capacities and seat widths vary
  • Places you'll go: indoors, outdoors, both?
  • Type of chair: self-propel, transit, powerchair*
  • Condition: are you able to self-propel? 
  • Short term/long term: will you need the wheelchair for a few months or for the foreseeable future?
  • Activities: what kind of things will you be doing in your wheelchair? 
  • How often: how much time will you spend in your wheelchair? More than eight hours a day or once a week (etc)?
  • Transfer: how will you move from your wheelchair to other seats? Will you need assistance from a carer, a hoist, are you able?
  • Transport: will you be using public transport, wheelchair assisted vehicle?
  • Place to place: how will you transport your wheelchair? Do you need a ramp in your vehicle, a hoist, can you/someone else lift it?
  • Distance: how far do you want to travel in your wheelchair? If you go for a powerchair, what is the mileage on a fully charged battery? Can you self-propel far?
  • Storage: do you have somewhere to store your chair? Are parts easily removable?
  • Home: are your doors wide enough for your chair? Do you have stairs? Is there a step to get in/outside? 
  • Surrounding area: what are the surfaces like? Is there gravel, steps?
  • Accessories: cushions, stick holder, storage bag, gloves, weather protection, blanket
  • Insurance: you don't want your wheelchair to breakdown or have a fault - insurance is vital
  • Measured: get measured for your chair by a professional, preferably an Occupational Therapist
  • Where: will you buy your chair privately, have a wheelchair assessment from the NHS, go through Motability, rent?

*More about types of chair:

- Self-propel has large back wheels, is usually light-weight and pushed by the user but can have handles to be pushed by someone else. You can also get power-assisted wheels.
- Transit wheelchair has small rear wheels and is pushed by someone else. It's ideal for someone who is unable to self-propel and will always be using the chair when with another person.
- Powerchairs are electric and are controlled by the user. They have a variety of styles and specifications.

These are all the things I am currently having to think about as I have a self-propel wheelchair that I cannot get in and out of my car without assistance and I can't propel due to my shoulder dislocations.

I intend on writing a few posts about wheelchairs, let me know if you think they're helpful.


  1. This post is going to be really helpful to so many people! It's so easy to think you've covered everything you need to when considering what type of, well anything! It's not until you start using something for the 1st time that you realise for all your research & planning you hadn't thought of one crucial element! It's great that we're in a world where we can now share information like this to help each other. Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

    1. Thanks, since going through the process, there was a lot of things I hadn't considered so thought I'd share it for others x

  2. Great post lovely, I am lucky as currently don't use a wheelchair but I can't rule it out in the future with my joints and body. I always curse in towns and shops and say to my hubs, 'How on earth do people in wheelchairs manage?", as there needs to be a lot more thought into disabilities being a major part of life, not just a minority. A really interesting and helpful post, one that so many will need.
    Heidi x

    1. Thanks, Heidi. I hope it finds its way to those who need it x


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