When you or a loved one spend a lot of time in a wheelchair, you are at increased risk for falls and developing pressure injuries (damage to or sores on the skin). To stay safe and comfortable, it is critical to choose the most appropriate accessories for your wheelchair.
When you or your loved one are more comfortable in your wheelchair, good posture, enhanced respiration and digestion, healthy skin integrity, and a comfortable, pain-free lifestyle can be enjoyed or restored. You will ultimately feel better, may experience less pain, and be more eager to get out and move around. You may become more engaged in everyday activities, have a reduced risk for complications, and enjoy greater quality of life.
Types of Wheelchair Accessories
Consider accessorizing your wheelchair with these important tools.
Wheelchair Seat Cushions
Prolonged sitting in a wheelchair can lead to discomfort and pressure points, particularly on the buttocks and lower back. Armed with a well-chosen wheelchair seat cushion for pressure relief, your weight will be distributed weight more evenly, alleviating pressure on vulnerable areas. This not only enhances overall comfort but also reduces the likelihood of developing painful pressure sores.
When properly fitted with a seat cushion, wheelchairs generally should also have a back cushion. Back cushions provide the same benefits as a seat cushion, but they also provide added support to the lower back and help to improve posture.
These handy tools attach to the back of a wheelchair to keep it from tipping over while shifting weight in the chair. They provide additional peace of mind by preventing falls and injuries.
Wheel Lock Extensions
Most wheel lock extensions easily slip onto the existing wheelchair brake lever. Extensions provide increased leverage while locking the brakes, making it easier for those with limited strength. Ensure the brakes lock securely prevent falls or injuries while sitting down, standing up or shifting your weight in the wheelchair.
Fitting a wheelchair with heel loops is a great way to provide a more supportive and comfortable foot position on the footplate. These loops prevent injury by keeping your feet from slipping, sliding and falling off the footplate.
A positioning belt or seat belt can prevent falls by keeping you or a loved one from sliding forward in the wheelchair.
What to Consider When Buying Accessories for Your Wheelchair
As you accessorize, be mindful that every addition adds weight — which in turn adds to the effort needed to propel, push, or power your wheelchair. While one or two wheelchair products might not make a big difference, accessories can add up to as much as an additional 50 percent of the total weight you push! Additionally, when it comes to manual wheelchairs, it’s crucial to be mindful of the center of gravity. Adding a bag behind the seat can affect the chair’s stability, making it more prone to tipping.
You may also be able to get some wheelchair accessories covered under your insurance or Medicare. Your durable medical equipment provider can help you determine which wheelchair products you qualify for.
Discover Drive Medical Wheelchair Accessories
Peruse our selection of wheelchair accessories here and ask your medical equipment provider for more information. To locate a medical equipment provider in your geographical area, use our provider locator here.