Health

  • Written by News Company

Any kind of disability is unfortunate and difficult to come to terms with for the patient and their loved ones. For a wheelchair user, accessibility is the biggest issue. As a caregiver, you can assist the patient to lead a more dignified, convenient and independent life. The patient would not be bound to the wheelchair all day long. They would require transfers to the bed or to the car. They may be able to stand up and use braces or a walker for short distances. They may require assistance to use the bathroom or to get up from the bed.





There are various kinds of manual and power wheelchairs available in the market. With technological advances in the mobility industry, electric wheelchairs are becoming more and more customizable to suit the patient’s special needs. They provide more independence, comfort and ease of use. Go through the best tips for buying an electric wheelchair to make the most informed decision for yourself or your loved one.

If you are a caregiver, colleague or friend of a wheelchair user, you must keep these things in mind -

  • Know about wheelchair safety – Before offering to help someone, make sure you can take the weight of the chair and the person. Many people suffer from back and muscular injuries if they are not fit to push, lift or transfer the patient. Do not hesitate to seek help. You can cause more harm than good if you don’t know what you’re doing.

  • Learn how to push and lift a wheelchair – Learn the techniques of pushing, positioning, lifting and directing a wheelchair properly, before you help someone. Skidding and tripping hazards are a great risk on slippery or sloped surfaces. Practice speed control, maneuvering through obstacles and adjusting to the centre of gravity of the chair to prevent jerky movement.

  • Ask to offer help – Do not assume that everyone in a wheelchair requires help. Seek permission. Not all wheelchair users are wheelchair-bound. Some can walk for short distances, some can stand, and yet others only use wheelchairs to get from point A to B. Some wheelchair users also use modified cars and scooters and can drive efficiently.

  • Indoor and outdoor usage – Most indoor wheelchairs are not meant to be used on rough terrain. Outdoor wheelchairs that are made for travel and portability can handle ramps and kerbs well but may not have the comfort of extra cushioning and padding. Know the wheelchair type to help the user maneuver indoors and outdoors with ease.

  • Posture improvement – It is crucial that the patient maintains a healthy wheelchair posture. They’re probably leading a more or less sedentary lifestyle. Take care of seating and positioning in such cases and ensure that the seat size is appropriate, the recline is comfortable, and their weight is spread out evenly. Also, remind the patient to avoid a forward neck posture with hunched shoulders. The headrest, backrest and armrests must be positioned for optimal comfort.

  • Never touch the wheelchair – For someone with a disability, a wheelchair is an extension of themselves. Leaning on its armrest, touching its back, moving or repositioning it without permission is bad wheelchair etiquette and an offensive invasion of someone’s privacy and personal space. And of course, you must never sit in someone’s wheelchair, mess with its settings or drag it around when it is not in use.

It is important that you respect the wheelchair user and work with them instead of assisting them in your own way without their active involvement. They’re the best judge of their comfort and with efficient handling, your support can help them function freely and safely.

 

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