With around 50 million adults in the United States suffering from a disability of some kind, it is important to know how to get properly fitted for a wheelchair. Incorrect fitting results in poor breathing, problems with posture, pain in the hips and pelvis, pressure sores and of course discomfort when using the chair for long periods.
Measuring the width and depth of the seat is important to ensure the chair is roomy enough. It should be two inches wider than the width of the hips and an inch shorter than the length of the back of the hip to the back of the knee when in a seated position. The seat should also be at an appropriate height to enable the occupant to be able to use their feet to propel the chair should they need to do so.
Choosing the correct type of arms for a wheelchair is vital to comfort and practicality. Full length arms are essential support for those who will be regularly pushing themselves into a standing position while desk length arms are suited best to those who will be working in an office environment or regularly seated at a table. For ultimate convenience, a chair featuring arms with an adjustable height mechanism is best.
If the patient requires leg support to keep the leg in a raised position, a chair with a locking footrest should be chosen. If the patient is very tall, articulating leg rests are the best option. The length of the footrest can be determined by measuring the length of the patient’s knee to the heel.
If the patient requires upper back support, a higher back rest will be needed.
Make sure the wheelchair is suited to the patient’s weight to guarantee their safety.