Wheelchairs provide those with limited mobility the freedom and independence to get around on their own and carry on with daily tasks without much help. When purchasing a wheelchair, a full assessment should take place to ensure that there is enough support and that the chair has everything the user requires. It is extremely important to maintain both a power or manual wheelchair to ensure optimum safety and avoid any accidents. Maintenance is vital and will give a wheelchair user the confidence to operate the chair properly without risk of injury. There are a few wheelchair safety tips that will minimise hazards and keep a wheelchair in great condition. Here are Momentum Healthcare’s top wheelchair safety tips for you to follow.
How Do You Use a Wheelchair Safely?
While using a wheelchair, there are a few tips to follow that are fundamental in order to ensure you can travel and transfer safely. These are simple yet crucial steps that will make a difference to your life.
Apply Brakes When Transferring To and From a Manual Wheelchair
One of the most important steps to take when transferring from your wheelchair is to ensure the brakes and wheel locks are applied and the wheelchair is secure before you attempt to move into or out of the seat. If the wheels are not locked in place the wheelchair may easily move forward or tip, which could cause injury. If it is not easy to lock the brakes, there are add ons such as levers and brake extensions that can make braking much easier and safer.
Make Sure The Pathway Ahead is Clear
While moving about, the wheelchair user or caregiver should ensure the pathway ahead is clear and that there are not any loose items that could get stuck in the wheels. The route the wheelchair is taking should be free from obstacles as they can cause the wheelchair to become unsteady. A person can simply move objects out of the way of the wheelchair, if there is a caregiver present, or if the wheelchair user is alone, they should try their best to avoid routes that have too many loose items or uneven surfaces. However, some wheelchairs are adapted to the outdoors, so these will allow users mobility across different terrains. Caregivers and those with limited mobility should also ensure doorways are wide enough for the wheelchair to get through.
Ensure Seat Cushion Provides Support
As a wheelchair user spends the majority of their time seated, the cushions should distribute the pressure of the person evenly and provide enough support so that they do not experience sores or injury. Some seat cushions can also cause a person to slide, so there
must be a full assessment of seating requirements before purchasing a wheelchair. It is also possible to buy seats with belts and other aids to keep the wheelchair user safely positioned and secure. A belt can make the user feel safer; the belt will position them properly and stop them from sliding around so much in the seat.
Move Footrests Aside When Transferring from Wheelchair
Other simple safety tips include moving the leg rests out of the way when getting in and out of a wheelchair. Leg supports and other items that stick out can be a tripping hazard and lead to someone falling either on to the wheelchair or hard ground. Position the wheelchair so that there are no obstructions or safety hazards.
How Can You Prevent a Wheelchair from Falling?
One of the most likely ways that a wheelchair can cause injury is by tipping backwards or forward while in use. Wheelchairs can fall or become unsteady if the user is leaning or positioning themselves on the edge of the seat, or if there is too much weight at the back. It is vital that while sitting, a person positions their weight into the centre of gravity; if they are sitting in a position too far forward on the seat, the wheelchair can fall forward and cause injury.
Additionally, a curb should be avoided if those with limited mobility are alone. A curb and other inclines can cause wheelchairs to fall if not careful, so it is best to avoid a curb and use a ramp or slope to get onto a higher elevation, where possible. Floor ramps provide a safe way to navigate around alone. As mentioned previously, remember that the brakes should be applied when transferring in or out of the chair.
Safety for Wheelchair Users
These basic wheelchair safety tips will minimise hazards and ensure caregivers and those with limited mobility can be confident and protected while out and about. You can carry out daily safety checks by being aware of a potential sign that may lead to the wheelchair breaking or becoming unsafe. As well as these steps, it is crucial to maintain both manual and power wheelchairs and put them through a service when necessary. A service schedule can be found in the user manual and should be followed to ensure safety.
Here at Momentum Healthcare, we stock a huge range of wheelchairs, aids, backrests and more. Safety is incredibly important to us which is why we ensure all of our customers receive aids that are right for them and their requirements. Browse our website today and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about our products and ranges.