One of the easiest ways to do this is to lift up under the centre of the wheelchair seat upholstery. To unfold the wheelchair, tilt slightly to one side, and then press down on one or both seat rails.
And remember to keep fingers and hands clear of any moving parts! If you don't, you'll only do it once. Ouch!
Just like items of clothing such as shoes, it is important that the wheelchair fits the person who is using it well enough to ensure they are comfortable and that it's not likely to press on any part of their body, as this has the potential to create pressure areas.
To ensure the right fit, you need to be able to tell us the following:
If you can't get all these measurements, there are a couple of simple things that you can do once you are in a wheelchair to make sure that it fits you okay:
And the good news is that if you are working with a therapist to help select the right wheelchair for you, they will take all of the measurements that they need during your assessment, so you don't need to worry about this!
If the leg rests swing-away, the wheelchair user can get closer to an object that they are being transferred onto, like a bed or a chair. The swing-away leg rests also make it easier if a hoist or piece of equipment is used to help transfer the wheelchair user and gets them closer to the wheelchair which will make the transfer easier and safer.
The position of the footplate can easily be adjusted to fit the individual's leg length. To alter the length, simply loosen the bolt under the end of the leg rest, adjust the footplate in and out to achieve the desired position, and then retighten the bolt securely.
The footplate should be adjusted to support the weight of the individual's foot and lower leg in such a position that permits the weight to be beared by the thighs. If the leg rest is too long, the user will have a line of pressure under the thigh, at the front of the seat upholstery. If the leg rest is too short, the knees will be too high and too much pressure will be on the buttocks.
Ideally the user's knees and hips should be at the same angle.
Anti-tippers are designed to stop the wheelchair from tipping backwards when the wheelchair is going up an incline. While some anti-tippers are removable, Allied Medical does not recommend this. They are a safety feature on the wheelchair and should be used at all times.
Ideally, you want to have the back upholstery end just under your shoulder blade. Sometimes carers like to have the push canes higher to make it easier for them to push, but be careful in raising them up too high as this can often stop the users being able to self-propel easily. An adjustable height backrest is a sensible idea, especially if you haven't yet decided which wheelchair cushion you are going to use.
What are the benefits of height adjustable armrests?
Armrests offer somewhere to rest and support the arms. We are all different sizes and choose to sit on different height cushions, so height adjustment is important. By being able to adjust the height of the armrests you may also be able to get under a table more easily, or if you are using a tray, the tray can be at a serviceable height for you. Proper armrest height is very important as it can prevent shoulder problems. An armrest that is correctly adjusted will support your forearms with your elbows at 90 degrees and your shoulders will be level.
Unfortunately not. As Allied Medical is an importer, we only stock new wheelchairs. However, from time to time we do have wheelchairs that are ex-demo and may have some minor paintwork damage. We are happy to sell these at a reduced price but with the same warranties. This is a good way of getting a great wheelchair at a price that is a little easier on the pocket.
If you want a second hand wheelchair, try looking on Trade Me or visit our Resellers page as they may have some available (link to Find a Reseller page).
Most wheelchairs come with a basic instruction manual which outlines any specific regular maintenance that is required for that model.
In general, it is a good idea to check the following on a monthly basis:
Other words of advice when choosing a wheelchair.
Try as many as you can – visit one of our Resellers who will hold several different models in stock so you can compare them there. Their staff are trained to assist people find the right size wheelchair for you that is within your price range.