Wheelchair Varieties: One Size Does Not Fit All

Guess what? As it turns out, everyone is different!! We come in all sizes and shapes and therefore require different sizes and styles of just about everything. This train of thought also applies to wheelchairs. Since there is a wide range of needs and requirements, there are different types of wheelchairs available to accommodate just about everyone. Each patient will have varying levels of functionality; therefore a patient that suffers from rheumatoid arthritis may not need all the features as someone who suffers from quadriplegia.

I Thought a Wheelchair Is Just a Wheelchair?

As we age the prevalence of injury or disability increases. Use of a wheelchair can help maintain our mobility and quality of life. According to the 2005 census survey, 3.3 million Americans reported using a wheelchair at some time or another. Many people may think of a wheelchair just as a seat with wheels to get pushed around in. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Manual wheelchairs can be manipulated by the user or by a caretaker or even tilt and recline for those who need pressure relief. Power chairs are run by rechargeable batteries and can make the user extremely mobile. Understanding what your needs are can help you select the right one for you.

Basic/Standard Wheelchair

A basic or standard wheelchair is probably the most familiar to everyone. They feature a foot/leg rest as well as armrests that can come in desk length or full-length allowing them to be customized to the user’s needs. Their seating options usually range from 16-20 inches to accommodate a wide variety of body types. Some chairs like Invacare Tracer SX5 Wheelchair have multiple seat widths, seat-to-floor heights and arm styles. You can also opt for narrow, which is usually no more than 16 inches. A chair that is a great personal, as well as commercial choice is the Invacare Tracer EX2 Wheelchair. With permanent arms and a seating option up to 20 inches, it provides safe reliable transportation with a weight limit of 250 pounds.

  Drive Silver Sport 1 Single Axle Wheelchair

Lightweight Wheelchairs

For those who like to travel, these lightweight wheelchairs are perfect. They offer many of the same options as the basic or standard wheelchair, but some offer a removable wheel option as well as an adjustable back. This allows the wheelchair to be stored in a trunk or maybe even a backseat depending on the vehicle being used. This gives patients the freedom to be mobile and independent. For convenience and flexibility, the Drive Cruiser X4 Lightweight Dual-Axle Wheelchair provides height adjustable armrests, which are removable. For those that might be looking for a little bit more performance in their wheelchair, the Invacare 9000 XT Lightweight IVC Manual Wheelchair provides stability to meet each user skill level. Its dual axle positioning allows for different seat to floor heights as well as an offset axle position for an adjustable center of gravity to increase maneuverability and stability.

  Drive Chrome Sport Dual Axle Wheelchair

Bariatric Wheelchairs

Sometimes due to a medical condition, patients require a wider chair that needs to support greater weight. While most wheelchairs can safely support approximately 300 pounds, a bariatric wheelchair can handle heavier patients. For instance, the Invacare 9000 Topaz Bariatric Manual Wheelchair has a maximum weight capacity of 700 pounds as well as proven mobility and stability. For a chair that is designed for the active individual, the Invacare Tracer IV 22 Inches Desk-Length Arms Wheelchair provides the strength needed while still providing streamlined books. These chairs allow bariatric patients freedom and independence they would normally have lost.

  Drive Bariatric Deluxe Sentra Heavy Duty Extra Wide Dual Axle Wheelchair

Transport Wheelchairs

Transport wheelchairs are built for transport and not self propulsion, therefore requiring a caregiver. Typically they offer a 12 inch rear wheel that is not designed for the user to reach down and propel them forward. Many offer hand brakes so the caretaker can have greater control and may have a folding back for easier storage. These types of chairs may not have as many options available as others and seating options are limited. One option that provides easy storage and lightweight materials is the Cardinal Health Aluminum Lightweight Transport Chair. It’s perfect for safe comfortable patient transport. Another chair that is designed for safe and efficient patient transfer is the Columbia SkyMaster Folding Airline Transfer Chair.

 Columbia AisleMaster Airline Transfer Chair

Reclining Wheelchairs

One feature that can be important to some users is the ability to recline. This allows the user or caretaker to avoid pressure sores and can provide comfort. A versatile, lightweight reclining wheelchair that fits this definition is the Invacare 9000 XT Recliner Wheelchair. Its triple chrome plated, carbon steel frame provides strength and durability as well as improved maneuverability and stability. For someone who might be looking for a wheelchair that can recline to a full 180°, the Invacare Tracer SX5 Recliner Wheelchair has urethane rear tires mounted on dual sealed precision bearings for a smooth comfortable ride and is available with multiple seat widths, arm styles as well as front riggings.

Drive Deluxe Sentra Full Reclining Dual Axle Wheelchair

Power Chairs/Scooters

Power chairs and scooters are powered by rechargeable batteries and can be used by just about anyone who has some form of hand/arm control. Even those affected by quadriplegia can use a power chair as long as they are able to move their head. For simpler handling, power chairs have a tight turning radius which is perfect for in-home use. No matter what physical challenge you may face, there is no reason to sit put. The many wheelchair options available to patients today can allow anyone to maintain their freedom to enjoy this crazy world we live in!!

 Afikim Afiscooter Breeze C4 Mid Size 4 Wheel Scooter