What Are the Different Types of Wheelchairs?

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 Wheelchairs

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.

Motorized Wheelchairs

Motorized 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.

Transportable Wheelchairs

Transportable wheelchairs are 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.

Heavy Duty Wheelchairs

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.

Specialty Wheelchairs

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

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 and Olney 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.

One Response to What Are the Different Types of Wheelchairs?

  1. Gloria Heemann December 29, 2016 at 4:10 pm #

    Do you have transporter wheelchairs in stock?

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