For anyone who uses a wheelchair, they are going to be reliant upon a proper fit to make sure they can still maneuver around their home and ensure that the wheelchair isn’t going to conflict with any activities being out and about. There are a few things that are very important to consider when fitting a wheelchair.
Width and Depth of Wheelchair Seat
Both of these items are incredibly important as incorrect depth or width of a seat could result in unnecessary pressure sores, or it could inhibit their ability to comfortably maneuver the wheelchair in everyday life. One way to measure for the width is to measure in a straight line the person’s hips from one end to the other. After you have that number, add two inches for a comfortable seat width. To get the depth, take the measurement from the back of the hip to the back of the knee while the person is seated. Once you have that number, take off one inch, and you’ll have the correct seat depth.
Wheelchair Arm Rest Types
The arm type selected will be completely dependent on the lifestyle and activities the person has. For example, if you select a full-length arm it will likely be for someone who is frequently standing or moving in and out of the wheel chair. So, potentially for someone who uses the wheelchair but is also able to do some small activities – like going to the washroom – without needing it. If you choose something closer to desk length arms, it would be for someone who is completely wheelchair bound and needs to be able to pull up to a desk or a table as it allows them to get as close to the edge as possible. The actual length of this will vary depending on the person using it, but if there’s an option for adjustable arms, it is always recommended to go with that option.
Foot Rest Types for Wheelchairs
Sometimes those in wheelchairs need to elevate their legs to minimize swelling or edema. Therefore they might want a foot or leg rest that allows them to elevate their legs. For people who are taller, they may want to look at an articulating leg rests which actually allows the leg rest to extend longer and can elevate the legs at the same time. In order to determine the measurement of a foot or leg rest, measure the distance from the back of the person’s knee to the heel of the foot.
Seat Height of a Wheelchair
The seat of a wheelchair should always allow the person using it to reach the floor with their heel. This is in case they need to be able to propel themselves forward with their feet for any reason, but also if the person is semi-mobile on their own, and they are often in and out of the chair for things like going to the washroom, bathing or getting in and out of bed then they need to have some way to steady themselves before pushing out of the chair.
Certain wheelchairs are built with weight limitations, so it’s important to know the weight of the person using it to make sure the chair will work for them. On the other hand, some people who use a wheelchair to get around certain places are still able to do things like drive, so they need to be able to move their chair into a car. With this in mind, it’s also important to think about the weight of the wheel chair and to make sure the person using it – or their loved ones – will be able to pick it up and place it in the back of their vehicle.
Wheelchairs are not a one-size fits all device, which means proper fitting is essential for both comfort and functionality, especially for long-term use. Our staff at Brant Arts Pharmacy in Burlington, Ontario can further assist you with Proper Wheelchair Fitting. Call or visit us today! If you only need a wheelchair for the short term, we also rent wheelchairs and transport chairs, as well as other medical equipment.