What type of chair do I need?
Two types of Manual Wheel Chairs exist: Standard Wheel Chairs and Transport Wheel Chairs. Standard wheel chairs are usually self operated by the wheel chair user, they also can be pushed by a loved one or helper. Distinguishable features of standard wheel chairs are they usually have two small 'caster' wheels in front followed two large wheels in the back. Transport wheel chairs are slightly different. Transport wheel chairs cannot be self operated by the user only, meaning the user can not turn the wheels with his arms. In order to propel Transport wheel chairs an individual needs to be pushed by a helper or loved one. As far as description, Transport wheel chairs look different than a standard wheel chair, all wheels on them are smaller similar to 'caster' wheels that are located on the front of a standard wheel chair.
What arm-rest types are available?
Armrests are there to provide support for an individual's arms and shoulders. Armrests are available in two lengths Full Length and Desk Length. Desk Length armrests are shorter and allow individual to move in closer to desk, table's, counters & etc. Full length armrest as the name implies are full length.
There are many different combination types of armrest but the standards types are: Fixed, Adjustable, Removable, and Flip-Back. Fixed armrests do not adjust, they also cannot be removed. Adjustable armrests are adjustable to varying heights for different comfort levels. Removable and Flip-Back armrests can be taking off or flipped backed as the name suggest, in order to allow the individual to easily get in and out his/her wheel chair or to allow for easy transfer of an individual in a wheel chair
What type of Footrests / Legrests do I need?
For leg support Footrests and Legrests are the two types of support available. Legrests can elevate and usually has a Calf Pad attached to it. This function allows an individual to raise and lower their legs, a locking feature allows for the individual to lock the legrests in a comfortable elevation position. Footrests on the other hand, gives leg support in a seated position and also do not elevate. Both legrest can have a Swing-Away option. The Swing-Away options allows for the legrest to be moved out of the way from their natural position in front of the wheel chair, to the side of the chair; which allows for a clear path to the seat of the wheel chair.
These cover most of the basic aspects which go into buying a wheel chair. Hopefully this information will help to aid someone in making a more informed wheelchair purchase. And hopefully save lots of time and effort in buying the best wheel chair that fits your need. Good luck and I hope your wheel chair purchasing situation is a great one.
How much does a wheel chair weigh?
When buying a wheel chair you will see term such as "light weight wheel chair." These are not to be overlooked; a lighter wheel chair can make the workload of a user or companion easier. An example, a wheel chair weighing 20 pounds will be easier to push than a 40 pound chair, if a wheel chair needed to be place in the trunk of a car or lifted up stairs, a 20 pound differential will save a lot of time and effort. People have different needs, comfort levels and budgets, so choose a chair weight which better fits your individual circumstances while remembering that lighter weight wheel chair are usually easier to work with
What is the weight capacity of a wheel chair?
Bariatric Products are items which are made for individuals that have a body weight more than the average population usually between 350 and 550 pounds. Most Standard wheel chairs have a weight capacity of only 250 lb - 300 lb. If the wheel chair user requires a larger chair to accommodated more weight than 300 pounds, heavy-duty or bariatric wheel chairs are probably an item you might want to take a look at. In the long run a bariatric wheel chair will be more comfortable to larger individuals and less prone to weight related breakage.
What is the size of the seat?
Seat size can be a large factor in comfort. As human our body dimension are different, especially in the hip area. Sometimes 'one size fits all' but that is not the case at all times. The standard measurement of seat size is usually in width x depth form. Wheel chairs are available different sizes but most are 18 inches wide by 16 inches deep (18" x 16"). In order to make sure that the seat will fit your body type perfectly you need a measurement of you hip. Using a tape measurer, lay it flat on a bed or chair, sit on it, then take a measurement from one side of your hip to the other(one or two inches should be added to ensure a comfortable fit). The depth of the seat should be factored in also. The Seat depth measurement is measured from the back of the seat to about the beginning of an individual's knee. So if you want a seat depth measurements follow the same steps as above just measure from your back to the beginning of you knee.
What is the height of the seat?
Seat height is one of the most important areas to ensure a proper fitting wheel chair. Seat height is usually a measurement from the floor to the top of the seat, of a wheel chair. This has to be very accurate because if the seat of the wheel chair is too low the occupants feet will scrape the ground, but if the occupants seat is too high, they will have a very have hard time getting in & out of the wheelchair. The correct way to measure the seat to floor height is to measure the length from a person's heel to there knee while the occupant sit upright. (Remember add an inch or two to account for comfort)