The use of a wheelchair means different things to different people. It can enable individuals with reduced mobility to get around much more easily, reduce pain and joint stresses felt during weight-bearing, it can restore function and independence, and for some it means the chance to integrate more in society and take part in sports.
Wheelchairs therefore need to be comfortable, safe, well-maintained and appropriate for the age, size and level of function and mobility that is required by the individual. Poorly-sized wheelchairs, inappropriate seating and support, and inadequate teaching of the individual as to how to use their chair safely can lead to other physical problems or injury, and frustration for the wheelchair user.
We acknowledge that often, wheelchair choice, design and seating are about much more than improving function and providing comfort. We undertake a thorough assessment of an individual requiring a wheelchair, including an analysis of their current level of function, their physical abilities and difficulties (both upper and lower limbs), their cognitive and mental abilities, skin integrity, pain, sensory status, communication levels and their usual environment. An understanding of a person’s vocation, hobbies and leisure activities, home and work set-up, and any associated care they receive is essential in helping to decide which type of mobility aid is required.
At Yorkshire Neuro Physiotherapy, our specialist team can evaluate existing seating and recommend modifications or alternative seating if necessary. We can provide training for those requiring assisted mobility to include wheelchair set-up, maintenance and how to use the chair safely in order to help with functional needs and to optimise quality of life. Training may also include teaching an individual how to gain the necessary strength in their arms and their core, alongside the correct technique for optimal propulsion, how to transfer to and from their wheelchair, and how to achieve specific functional activities from within their chair.
Wheelchair skills may also include spatial awareness, fall safety, managing and control on different gradients / levels and integration into different environments.
Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to know more about this service and how we can help you.