Choosing a powerchair takes time, trialling and plenty of research. The same goes for choosing accessories for your chair to enhance comfort, independence and the ability to travel greater distances. Your powerchair should suit and adapt to your requirements, and any changing needs in the future. Your chair is designed to improve day-to-day life and make getting around much easier, and the accessories should only reflect this. As such, Karma Mobility – specialists in powered wheelchairs – are sharing just some of the accessories you should consider to enhance mobility.
The importance of a headrest is unparalleled, particularly for those who require a great deal of stability for their spine and neck. Due to the nature of powered wheelchairs, there are a variety of levels available for headrests, should you require the additional support for better posture and balanced movement when travelling outdoors. Adjustable headrests are designed to provide a greater deal of comfort, but we do suggest trialling several chairs before purchase to ensure you have the right fit. Essentially, your chair is a part of you and the accessories must be correct.
Similar to a headrest, an adjustable footrest can provide a great deal of comfort. Those with long-term heart conditions, such as Edema, will benefit from the ability to place their feet above heart level. Likewise, a footrest can also work in conjunction with tilt options, enabling you to recline and rest during long journeys and relieve pressure.
The armrest, along with the headrest and footrest, is one of the better accessories to improve posture and reduce the risk of pain – especially for those who use their chair regularly. There are a variety of armrests available for enhanced comfort and the ability to move and transfer from the wheelchair with ease. The adjustable armrests also reduce the risk of sagging and hunching the shoulders, which can greatly affect those who require head, spine and neck support. If you are looking into purchasing a powered wheelchair, you must look into these accessories. You don’t want to sacrifice time spent in the chair.
There are various controls for chairs, depending on grip strength and movement. The joystick is, perhaps, the most common control, but is also available in miniature for those that do have less arm and hand movement. Alternatively, touchscreens can be a huge advantage, but we suggest avoiding the touch screen controls if you are prone to hand tremors.
Position of the wheels
The wheel positioning for your powerchair can also be adapted to suit your requirements – especially if you are using the chair for outdoor travel and everyday use. The rear-wheel drive chair is great for those covering outdoor terrain, with the wheels positioned at the back for enhanced handling and security. The rear-wheel chairs also benefit from a wider turning radius. Alternatively, the mid-wheel drive – while still great for outdoor travel – provides better indoor accessibility. Similarly, the mid-wheel position makes for a smaller turning radius.
Seating and tilt
While all of the above functions are critical, powered wheelchairs must be comfortable. You must test out various seating options if you are hoping to spend several hours in the day in your chair, to reduce the risk of pressures sores and other issues due to the inability to move positions. The choice of seating can also be paired with the tilt function, helping to relieve pressure after sitting for long periods and reduce muscle strain.
There are additional accessories, such as drink holders and the like, which can also provide more comfort. However, it’s important to try before you buy and research which accessories best suit your condition.