How to Get Fitted For a Wheelchair the Right Way
Unfortunately, many wheelchair users are not properly fitted to their chairs. This can lead to severe pain and medical issues such as pressure ulcers and problems with posture or balancing. Knowing how to get fitted for a wheelchair is the best way to avoid these issues.
Read on to determine how to get the best wheelchair for your body type and personal preferences so you can ensure you always have a comfortable ride.
How to Get Fitted for a Wheelchair
A poorly fitted wheelchair is more than just uncomfortable. It's a serious health risk that can limit your mobility.
Knowing how to get fitted for a wheelchair is important for all new riders. It starts with choosing the right type for your needs and condition, getting the proper wheelchair measurements, and consulting with qualified professionals.
Know the Types of Wheelchairs
Part of getting a proper wheelchair fit is choosing the right type. The two major classifications are manual wheelchair and electric wheelchair, also known as a power wheelchair.
When a person pictures a wheelchair, they most likely imagine a manual one. These devices require the effort of the rider or their caregiver to propel them forward.
Electric wheelchairs are an increasingly popular option because they provide increased freedom and ease of use. They run on batteries and are usually controlled by a joystick.
The two categories can be broken down even further. Types of manual wheelchairs include:
- Standard wheelchairs
- Sports wheelchairs for athletes
- Reclining or titled wheelchairs
- Pediatric wheelchairs for children
Types of electric wheelchairs include:
- All-terrain wheelchairs
- Electric scooters
- Foldable power wheelchairs
Other specialized wheelchair types include:
- Beach wheelchairs
- Standing wheelchairs
- One arm drive wheelchairs
Get Accurate Wheelchair Measurements
Several important measurements must be taken before you purchase a wheelchair to ensure you get a proper fit.
Hip width, thigh depth, and lower leg length help determine cushion size. Hip width, scapular height, chest width and depth, and axilla height relate to the wheelchair's back supports.
Professionals may also measure the width and/or depth of the rider's elbows, shoulders, and other body parts. This helps to ensure the most accurate fit and should be performed both while the wheelchair is moving and while it's stationary.
Visit your doctor before beginning the wheelchair fitting process. They may be able to write you a wheelchair prescription that places some or all of the costs onto your medical insurance provider.
After receiving a prescription, consult a wheelchair fitting specialist. They know how to measure for a wheelchair to ensure you get a comfortable fit.
What Happens After I Get Fitted for a Wheelchair?
Knowing how to get fitted for a wheelchair properly is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and quality of life. It prevents medical issues, gives you a more comfortable ride, and helps you makea smarter purchasing decision.
The first thing to do when choosing a wheelchair is to decide what type you need. Next, consult professionals to complete the required measurements and/or get a wheelchair prescription to lower the cost.
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