Everything There Is to Know About Wheelchair

The wheelchair is a type of assistive device that enhances mobility and promotes quality of life for disabled individuals. In addition to improving mobility, appropriate moving support ameliorates the users' physical health and quality of life. It does so by helping in minimizing common problems like the progression of deformities, pressure sores, and enhancing digestion and respiration. The tools may involve individualized controls, specialized seating adaptations, and specificity to tasks, as evidenced in sports and beach wheelchairs. In powdered instruments, the electric motors and batteries provide the propulsion, whereas, in manually propelled devices, an attendant offers the pushing force from the rear with a handle. There are many accessories for a wheelchair. They include storage bags, cup holders, cushions, seatbelts, and lights. If a user does not have the right pose with a device, a cushion can be added to the seat to create comfort and proper posture. 

History of wheelchair 

The Chinese initiated wheelbarrows to move heavy objects as well as people. Around 525 CE, the use of wheeled chairs to carry people in Chinese art began. In Europe, it got invented by a Spanish inventor for King Phillip II. Stephan Farffler, a paraplegic watchmaker at the age of 22, built the first self-propelling chair of the globe in 1655. This invention was a three-wheel chassis with a system of cogwheels and cranks. The hand cranks on the front wheel gave an appearance of a hand bike more than a wheelchair.

In 1887, rolling chairs got introduced to Atlantic City for a boardwalk of invalid tourists. Two mechanical engineers, Harry C. Jennings and Herbert Everest invented the first portable wheelchair in 1933. It was lightweight, foldable, and made of steel. Everest had a broken back in an accident and noticed the business potential of the invention of a walking aid. He, along with his friend, became the 1st mass-market producer of wheelchairs. The X-brace idea of folding camp stools and chairs rotated 90 degrees in Elbert's mind, so he used it at the mines and outdoors. 

Indications to use a wheelchair  

The device is beneficial for people with mobility difficulties as a result of health impairments. Indications for use include poliomyelitis, amputation, arthritis, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy. Assistive technologies have a significant effect on the older people and patients of spina bifida and stroke. It also reduces the burden of care for family members of the patients. It enables people with disabilities to remain healthy, become mobile, and participate in community life. The capability of movement enhances a person's ability to interact, learn, and earn a living. 

Mobility

An appropriate wheelchair enables the user to move around to access and conduct activities of daily living freely. An active lifestyle provides mental and physical benefits with increasing activity levels and day to day mobility. It reduces the risk of CVA, diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and many cancers. 

Independence

A comfortable and functional wheelchair results in raised levels of activity. Independent mobility reduces dependence on others. Thus, users can be more independent in control of their life. Individuals who can keep sitting for prolonged time are often highly productive as they have more opportunities for taking part in the household and raising their quality of life.

Health

A well-fitting wheelchair with cushion can decrease common problems like pressure sores and contractures. They also avoid other secondary complications related to poor postures. Postural support improves digestion and respiration. Also, it raises the head, trunk, and upper limb control. Maintained health is a critical factor in a good quality of life. These factors increase access for employment, education, and participation within the community.

Self Confidence

Wheelchair users with high self-esteem and more confidence increase their participation levels. The tool is like an extension of their body that fits them. The raised confidence of the users is independent of age, gender, and disability type. 

Quality of Life

The tool has a profound effect on the quality of life and participation. Maintained health increases access to education, jobs, and involvement in the community. 

Access to Community Life

It includes community participation and being active in family and community life. Access to the community is significant for social assistance and many positive health indicators. An appropriate wheelchair increases the user's involvement in community life, including going to school or work, visiting friends, or other community activities. Additionally, the tool raises the users' autonomy as they facilitate daily living activities in the home and society.

Economy

Economic benefits appear when users access the opportunities for learning and employment. With a moving aid as a support, an individual can earn a living. It contributes to the income of a family and national revenue. So, users should consider their long-term needs in choosing the equipment. It lowers the costs of multiple repairs and absences from school and works on account of breaking this tool. For society, economic benefits include less health care expenses, like treating pressure sores and managing deformities. 

Sports Wheelchair

A range of disabled sports is available for disabled athletes, like rugby, basketball, tennis, dancing, and racing. The movement supports for each recreation have evolved to fulfill the specific requirements of that sport. It provides stability and is beneficial for making sharp turns. This equipment is often composite and lightweight materials with different seating positions. Sports devices are not for everyday use. They are specific for sports use. Some disabled people, particularly lower-limb amputees, use a wheelchair only for sports, not daily activities.

Complications of using a wheelchair 

Most (80%) of disabled individuals are unemployed. Thus, they face a lot of financial barriers to paying for a device themselves. 

A lot of physical barriers hinder the proper use of walking aid. These include inadequate road systems, lack of pavements, and physical and climate terrain. Some private and public buildings are out of access to a walker. These barriers place additional requirements on the durability and strength of the equipment. 

Disabled individuals lack access to rehabilitation services, making them prone to getting secondary complications and premature death.

Proper information and education are deficient in the aid users. They do not know about preventing secondary problems, rehabilitation services, and even about their conditions. 

There is a lack of diversity in the availability of moving aid. Every user has separate movement demands, working environment, physical needs, and lifestyle. 

The users of these aids feel stigmatized due to the community and the government's ignorance. 

Lack of knowledge about the rights of the users to access their community includes:

  • Inaccessible buildings
  • Poor road designs 
  • Drivers not sensitive to the road requirements of walking support users
  • Unavailable and expensive public transport with minimum space available for walking aid users

How a wheelchair works

For sitting in a moving aid, raise the footplates of both sides and lock the brakes. Hold the armrests with hands and slowly sit down on the seat. Place feet on the footplates to attain the ease of sitting. While standing up from the device, lock both brakes on the sides and take feet off the footplates. Slowly stand up from the seat and hold the armrest to avoid slippage. If the gadget is not locked, it can tip over, leading to an accident. Take care of the air pressure in the tire, as low pressure can cause brake locking failure. If an attendant is moving the device, he or she should stand behind holding the grips. 

To open the walking aid, hold the grip on one side, and push the seat down with the other hand. During unfolding, make sure to save hands as they can easily be caught on the device's sides and in between the seats. When the caregiver pushes the walker up over a step, he should use his foot to step down on the tipping bar. It will gently lift the front wheels over the stage. While going down a slope, turn the wheelchair around and walk down in the opposite. For moving up a stair, the caregiver should hoist the moving aid up. Make sure to support the assistance by holding the back support, base pipe, and other security positions.

Market Leaders 

Living Spinal

They have worked hard to join brands such as Medicare and Medi-Cal. Now they can serve a more significant portion of disabled individuals with their services as they connect with more distributors and manufacture medical tools for quadriplegics and paraplegics. Wheelchair mobility opens up chances for users to work, study, and engage in societal activities.

Jianlian Aluminum Co.

The company is a part of the homecare rehabilitation industry who developed nine categories of over 150 various models. It has buyers from thirty countries worldwide, with a specialty in seat belts for posture and security. Some users require them for straight sitting and others to ensure that they do not fall from the aid. They encompass steel, aluminum, commode chairs, shower benches, rollators, walking frames, and homecare medical beds. 

Conclusion 

A wheelchair is movement support with wheels used when there is a walking abnormality due to illness, disability, and age-related problems. The problems include brain injury, spinal cord injuries, broken leg, osteogenesis imperfecta. Some other abnormalities are muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, brittle bones, multiple sclerosis, and motor neuron diseases. The support comes in a wide range of formats to fulfill the specific requirements of their users. They enhance the lifestyle of the user and make them independent for mobility. In 2003, a study showed that out of 20 million disabled who require a device for movement, a very few have access to them, and of these, only a minority have access to proper wheelchairs.

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