As a physical therapist working with elderly patients at aged care facilities and hospitals, I am often tasked with recommending appropriate wheelchairs for everyday mobility and living. Selecting just the right chair is crucial for ensuring resident functionality, comfort and participation within the facility. Important factors I consider include:
Safety Features and Durability
As a PT, safety is paramount. I advise chairs made of durable materials to reliably handle daily usage without failing. Key safety features include tip-proof designs, seat belts, adjustable wheel locks for stability when transferring or standing and anti-rollback mechanisms for hills. Bright colours also increase visibility.
Ergonomics and Comfort
Proper support aids postural alignment and pressure injury prevention. I recommend adjustable cushions and customizable backs/leg rests for spinal protection and joint pain reduction, especially for extended sitting durations. Breathable fabric keeps skin cool and dry. Handles facilitate transferring in and out of chairs with minimal strain.
Compact mobility is vital for navigating tight aged care quarters. Mid-wheel drive power chairs with a small turning radius deftly manage halls and rooms. Lightweight transport chairs are easily pushed by caregivers. Easy-roll wheels minimize pushing effort over long distances on tiles, carpets and ramps.
Accessibility and Maintenance
To preserve independence in activities, chairs must integrate well with the facility’s infrastructure. Recommendations may include narrow frames for navigating doors/ramps, fire-safe battery boxes for emergency evacuation compliance and easily chargeable batteries/motors for constant readiness.
By extensively evaluating resident ambulation status, conditions, needs and facility layouts, I recommend ideal chairs for maximizing ageing users’ safety, comfort, mobility and lifestyle. My guidance ensures quality equipment is prescribed to enable regular daily living within their communities. Please let us know if you have any other rehab equipment questions!