What is a wheelchair?
It is a chair fitted with wheels for the purpose of mobility, for those who are unable or struggle to walk due to disability, injury or other medical condition.
What is the purpose of a wheelchair?
The main purpose of a wheelchair is mobility. A wheelchair can be used both indoors and outdoors. There are many variations of wheelchairs. Our K7 physiotherapist can recommend an appropriate wheelchair for the individual.
What are the types of manual wheelchair?
There are several types of manual wheelchair in the market. The main variations are:
- self-propelling manual wheelchair
- attendant-propelled manual wheelchair
What Is A Self-Propelling Wheelchair?
If the user can propel themselves using a propeller in a wheelchair and move from one place to another, it is a self-propelling wheelchair.
What is an attendant-propelled wheelchair?
If the individual sits in the wheelchair, and another person pushes the wheelchair around, holding the handles, it is an attendant-propelled wheelchair.
What is a one-arm drive self-propelling wheelchair?
Usually, a user sits in the wheelchair and propels it by holding the propellers on both sides. However, if a person has only one arm or is able to use only one arm, both of the propellers will be fitted to the working-arm side. Initially, it may be difficult to manoeuvre. After a time, most users master the art.
It is a wheelchair that is powered by electricity from a charged battery. There are powered chairs available in the market built exclusively for indoor use. Moreover, there are powered chairs built for both indoor and outdoor use.
The other major difference is rear-wheel drive and mid-wheel drive. The latter is easy to manoeuvre and turn 360 degrees compared to the former. Rear-wheel drive is especially useful to climb kerbs and navigate rough terrain.
Both have their merits and demerits. A physiotherapist considers all factors before prescribing an appropriate wheelchair for the individual.
Who can benefit from an electrically powered wheelchair?
People who have difficulty propelling a wheelchair, stroke survivors with one usable upper limb, and amputees.
What is a mobility scooter?
It is an electric vehicle similar to an electrically powered chair but designed similar to a motor scooter. The main benefit is that it can be driven outdoors. The handling and manoeuvring is far more sophisticated when used outdoors compared to that of a powered chair.
The main disadvantage is that you cannot spend long sitting on it, compared to a powered chair, due to its scooter design.
Who can benefit from a mobility scooter?
- People who have some remaining mobility,
- People who are mobile indoors but struggle with outdoor mobility,
- People with respiratory disorders such as COPD,
- People with the cardiac disorder,
- People who use it only for mobility purposes,
- People with pain,
- People with arthritis,
- People with a neurological disorder.
How do I get exercise when I use a mobility scooter?
When an individual begins to use a mobility scooter, they often lose the capability of walking long distances, and their endurance can be reduced. It is recommended that individuals build their exercises into their daily routine. For example, on visiting the supermarket, the individual can park the scooter and walk unaided inside the supermarket.
It is not recommended to walk long distances from the outset. Gradually increase exercise tolerance by slowly increasing the number of steps taken each day.