A wheelchair is the main device used for independent movement of people with limited mobility. And it is in this feature that they differ from the seemingly similar-looking wheelchairs.
At the same time the latter differ in other sizes of wheels and maximally simplified design. It provides for the constant presence of an attendant, who leads it in motion. Such equipment is most often used in hospitals and boarding houses, where the patient in need is expected to be periodically transported over short distances.
In turn, wheelchairs are fully adapted for independent movement of disabled people both indoors and outdoors. They come in a variety of different modifications, designed to solve particular problems.
Types of wheelchairs and chairs
- Stroller. These are the most classic and are driven by the rotation of the wheels by force of the hands. They are suitable for daily use, are reliable, convenient (due to the possibility of installing various additional accessories such as armrests) and affordable.
- Lightweight. Similar to the previous, but characterized by an aluminum alloy frame. It provides a product with low weight, due to which such a stroller is well suited for active people with disabilities and fans of frequent walks.
- With an electric motor. Operated by a motor, which receives its energy from the battery installed to the frame. Controlled by a joystick, which can be installed on the left or right side (for left- or right-handed people), as well as on the footrest (to control the legs). Often have the ability to rotate the wheels manually, which eliminates a complete stop in case of a strong battery discharge.
- Multifunctional. Designed specifically for people who are impaired, as well as those with complex problems with the musculoskeletal system. They are equipped with a reclining high backrest, armrests, straps and other additional equipment.
- Sanitary. Able to play the role of a mobile shower and toilet. They have a corrosion-protected frame and a fully waterproof seat, under which technological niches for tanks are located.
- Childrens. They differ in reduced size and weight. For children suffering from cerebral palsy, are equipped with a special support system in the form of belts.
- Lever. Have a mechanism that transmits the motion to the wheels by moving the levers located in the upper part of the body. Suitable for people with limited mobility who prefer an active lifestyle, as well as for disabled people who have only one working limb (because the design of the wheelchair allows it to be adjusted to work with one hand).
- Active. Close in design to the lightweight, but even smaller in size, making it easy to fit in the trunk or even the back seat of the car. Suitable for both daily walks and for use while traveling.
Functionality of wheelchairs for the disabled
When choosing a wheelchair, you should consider not only its type, but also its operating characteristics, as well as the functionality available for a particular model. Thus, it is important to pay attention to:
- frame. Steel makes the product much cheaper, but also significantly increases its weight. This is not so critical if a disabled person will always be accompanied by an attendant. But for people who serve themselves, you should buy wheelchairs with aluminum frames;
- possibility of folding. This is important if you intend to make periodic trips by car (because a monolithic wheelchair will not fit in the trunk of even a large car);
- wheels. They are divided into all-cast and pneumatic. The first have a virtually unlimited lifespan and do not require maintenance, but are suitable only for moving indoors, because they are unable to cushion even the smallest irregularities. For this reason, for walks on the street should choose only models equipped with wheels with cameras. As for their width, the greater it is, the smoother the ride will be and more comfortable;
- the seat. Its size should be selected individually, under the characteristics of the passenger. If necessary (if you are going to spend a long time in a wheelchair) you should buy an anti-decubitus cushion corresponding to its exact size;
- backrest. It can be both standard and enlarged (and often folding). The models of the latter type are intended for disabled people, whose locomotor system needs an external support. For the same purpose they can be equipped with restraining straps;
- armrests. They can be fixed, removable and hinged. The first are uncomfortable when changing because they disturb and restrict movement. Therefore, to transport the handicapped or simply unable to sit in a wheelchair on their own, you should buy only models with removable or folding armrests;
- footrests. The armrests are either fixed or removable. As in the previous case, the latter are more convenient and practical;
- brakes. They are needed for safety, especially when moving on the platform of a mobile or stationary wheelchair elevator and on streets with a slope. Wheelchairs that require the presence of a companion are equipped with an additional pair of brake handles in the upper part.