How to Use Your Wheelchair

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Tips for Using a Wheelchair

Whether you’re a wheelchair expert or you’ve just recently started using one, there are some great tips to improve your safety and overall maneuverability. It’s important to be aware of how your device works. Plus, it’ll help you take full advantage of the features and functions of your wheelchair. All Home Medical Supply has gathered some useful tips below. If you’re still searching for the perfect mobility aid, visit us in San Diego, CA. Our staff would be delighted to answer your questions and guide you in the right direction.

Prioritize Safety

One of the most critical aspects of proper wheelchair use is safety. There are a few steps you can follow prior to using your mobility aid to ensure safety. First, check for any cracks or excessive wear on the tires. When you’re performing this inspection, you’ll also want to confirm the air pressure is at the recommended level. You shouldn’t use the wheelchair if there’s not enough air pressure. Use a bicycle pump to fill them with air. When you’re finished, check to confirm the air valve stem on the tire has been fully screwed in.

The next thing you’ll want to address is the brakes. Make sure that they’re functioning correctly. When the brakes are locked, you’ll want to confirm they prevent both the main wheels and driving wheels from moving. Remember to always have the brakes applied when you’re not in motion. Many other basic safety practices come down to common sense. For example, don’t stand on the footrests or apply excessive pressure because it can cause you to tip forward.

Sitting & Standing

When you first sit down, you’ll want to make sure the brakes are on and that the footplates aren’t in your way. Start with your back facing the wheelchair and place your hands on the armrests. Slowly begin to lower yourself onto the seat. Lower the footplates and place your feet against the heel loops. If your footplates aren’t at the correct height, you can adjust them accordingly. Loosen the front bolts with a wrench and rotate the plates as needed.

Approach standing in the same manner, which starts with checking that the brakes are on and footplates are out of the way. If you use an additional walking aid, you’ll want to have it within reach. It’s always a good idea to discuss this process with a medical professional, who might have helpful advice for transferring. The last step is to place your hands on the armrests, lean forward, and push yourself into a standing position with both of your feet on the floor.

Folding & Unfolding

Whether you’re transporting your wheelchair or storing it, you’ll need to learn how to properly fold and unfold it. This process will vary by model and can differ greatly when it comes to manual and power wheelchairs. You’ll start by rotating and lifting up the footplates. Then, you’ll lift up the front and back parts of the middle of the seat simultaneously. Hold the grips on either side and push inward to fold.

For unfolding, stand behind it and hold the grips on either side. Next, pull the grips outward to unfold the chair. Hold the grip on one side with your hand and push down the seat with your other hand. This step-by-step process mostly applies to manual models. Power models often require a brief disassembly in order to store or transport the wheelchair. No matter what type of chair you have, you should always refer to the owner’s manual before you attempt this process.

We hope this guide has been helpful. If you’d like more information or you’re still shopping for a wheelchair, stop by All Home Medical Supply in San Diego, CA to browse our inventory.