Wheelchairs are used by a wide range of individuals, including:
- Older people or others with chronic mobility issues such as osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease and more
- People with permanent physical disabilities who are unable to move on their own
- Bariatric patients suffering from severe obesity
- Otherwise healthy people recovering from an illness, injury or surgery
As we grow more sensitive to the diverse needs of individuals with short- or long-term mobility issues, more wheelchair options are becoming available that offer improvements in quality of life and independence. One downside to this is that choosing the right model for your needs can be a daunting task. Here’s a quick guide to some of the main types of wheelchairs available today.
Standard manual wheelchairs are the type most commonly found in hospitals, clinics, and senior care facilities. They feature a simple design and operation that’s easy to maintain, while still being durable enough for years of use. Standard wheelchairs are self-propelled, making them best for short-term applications, such as post-operative care or occasional use by individuals with mild mobility issues.
Our standard wheelchairs come with many features including easy glide wheels so you don’t need alot of strength, and flip up foot rests. They come in many different sizes in length and width depending on the size and weight of the individual. Usually we can simply measure you for a wheelchair by using your height and weight. Don’t forget to add a wheelchair cushion if you plan to spend extended time in the mobility chair.
Standard mobility wheelchairs also come in a lightweight version. Typically more expensive they are designed for patients that don’t have the strength to push themselves. You would need a prescription from your doctor to quality for this type of chair.
Motorized or power wheelchairs are suitable for individuals with more serious mobility conditions or permanent disabilities. Rather than having to propel themselves or having a caregiver push them, motorized wheelchairs are equipped with special controls for greater autonomy and convenience. Various models are available to support individuals in both indoor and outdoor travel.
Again these come in various sizes and features. When shopping for a power wheelchair we recommend you visit a seating clinic or have yourself evaluated by our ATP – Assistive Technology Professional, who have years of training and experience in custom fitting you for your wheelchair.
Transportable wheelchairs are extremely lightweight and foldable, making them easy to fit in the trunk of a car or on public transit. Because of their slimmer design, they often lack the comfort and convenience features found on other units. As a result, they are most commonly used by individuals with occasional mobility issues or as a secondary chair for short trips outside the home.
These are also great for traveling whether you are going on a short vacation, a weekend getaway or going to the grocery store. They offer the ease of loading as they are light weight and can fold into a small area.
Heavy duty wheelchairs feature the extended widths and weight capacities necessary to support heavier patients. They can be either powered or self-propelled, though powered units are more common. Heavy-duty wheelchairs often come equipped with additional safety and comfort features to prevent accidents or injuries such as pressure ulcers. They are meant for patients over 250 or 300 pounds and go up to 500 pounds.
These wheelchairs are very heavy and well built to stand the test of time. They are usually larger in size as they are built for bigger individuals. In fact we carry a whole line of bariatric equipment for obese patients.
Specialty Wheelchairs in Baltimore, MD
Other types of wheelchair include pediatric models that are smaller and easier for young patients to operate, narrow chairs built for use in tight spaces, and more. Athletic wheelchairs include performance features that allow individuals with mobility conditions to stay active and healthy. Some wheelchairs are designed to recline or tilt and feature anti-microbial materials that reduce the risk of infection.
Choosing a Wheelchair and Accessories in Baltimore, MD
The above categories of wheelchair are augmented by a large selection of available accessories. These include safety features such as belts and leg rests, convenience features such as baskets and carriers, and performance features such as heavy duty wheels and suspension components.
If you’re in the market for a new wheelchair, contact Towson Medical Equipment first. With locations in Parkville MD, we offer convenient sales and service for the entire Baltimore metro area and beyond. Give us a call and let us match you with the right chair for your needs and budget.