A wheelchair is an essential assistive device for people who face difficulty while walking. Today wheelchairs are available in different types and are not limited to only manual wheelchairs. It is vital to know about the different types so that one can make an informed choice.
- Self-Propelled- The self-propelled wheelchair is the most commonly used. Often these daily wheelchair users who have sufficient strength on the body’s upper portion particularly the arms use it. These wheelchairs have 4 wheels (two big side wheels and two little caster wheels), back cushion, footrests, and push-rims. It is push-rims which make the self-propelled wheelchair push the chair through the push-rims. Hence the user needs to have sufficient arm strength. This wheelchair is of two types namely folding frame and rigid frame. The user can easily squeeze the foldable wheelchair to bring both the sides together.
When the wheelchair is in a folded state, it will take less space to store. These wheelchairs can be loaded quickly into a car and stored easily in an office or a house. The folding variety is less sturdy thereby making it an ideal choice for people traveling in cars or part-time users. The seat s made out of foldable materials such as leather, cloth or synthetic material such as artificial leather cloth. These adjustable seats enable the side of the chair to collapse as well as come together. The next variety is the rigid type. It is stronger thereby making it ideal for daily users. The seat is made out of a solid material such as plastic, wood, and metal.
Such wheelchairs compared to the folding model are heavier, but the latest models are ultra-light. The best part about these wheelchairs is that the makers can customize it for the user. These are some accessories that you can fit in the wheelchair. It includes things like oxygen tank holder, crutch holder, additional support for the neck, head or limbs, wheel, and mudguards, drink holders, tilts and reclines features, adjustable backrests, safety belts, and anti-tip wheels or bars – for best results use the disability living aids.
- Attendant-Propelled Wheelchairs- Such wheelchairs come with handles at the rear that helps the attendant to push the chair forward. The attendant-propelled wheelchair is small in size. Often brakes are fixed in the handle to help the attendant. It also has parking brakes which the attendant can apply with the foot or hand. You can see the attendant driven wheelchairs in institutional places where the common public can use in places such as in supermarkets, hospitals, railway stations, and airports.
- Motorized/Powered Wheelchair- Electricity propels these wheelchairs. Its frame incorporates electric motors and batteries which spin the wheelchair’s wheels. The power chair is controlled through the joystick fixed at the armrest. The joystick can also be attached on the chair’s upper side if the attendant requires operating it. The motorized wheelchair can easily travel more than 15-18 kilometers in single battery charge. In case the user is not comfortable using the joystick there are other control mechanisms which manufacturers can fix like a sip and puff controller, a joystick that is chin-operated or head switches.
Apart from these, there are some special wheelchairs too available in the market such as stair climbing chair, beach wheelchair, reclining wheelchair, sports wheelchair and mobility scooter. Contact an expert to know more.