Wheelchair use allows more independence today than ever before. However, despite widespread accessibility, you can’t disregard safety measures. Some situations will require an attendant’s help. Even after ordering the best wheelchair from your health supply provider, you have to take special precautions to ensure you use it properly.
Reaching and Leaning
Practice reaching for things, leaning, and bending forward and backward from the safety of your home to identify the center of gravity. Always set your casters forward to increase and stabilize wheel base, and lock your wheels before trying any type of reaching. Never reach backward farther than arm’s length, as leaning backward can cause you to tip the wheelchair backward, possibly causing serious injury.
If someone is going to tip your chair for you, as if to climb a curb or small ledge, make sure he knows to inform you before doing so. You should lean backward upon his prompt to aid the tip. Your helper must grab the chair at an area that does not move or slip off and use the step tube on the back of your chair for added stability. Keep your hands and feet clear of wheels and areas that could cause pinching upon movement.
Always try to avoid obstacles like curbs and steps. Most cities have wheelchair-accessible crosswalks, but you should always cross the street with an attendant if these are not available. You should determine which method of ascending a curb is most comfortable for you and relay this to your attendant. You can tip backwards over the curb or have your attendant carefully push the back wheel over the curb as you face forward.
At Williams Lift Company, we not only provide wheelchairs and accessibility materials; we also care about your health and safety. Call us at 908-322-7070 for more information on pricing and functionality for wheelchairs, lifts, and ramps in New Jersey.