A wheelchair is designed for patients who cannot walk. It is designed to replace walking. It is a chair made with wheels, usually two big wheels at the back and two smaller wheels in front. A wheelchair may be pushed by someone from the back, it may be motorized and it can also be moved by the same person sitting on it. It has a handle at the back so it can be easily pushed. The wheels have metal rims attached to its side so the occupant can turn it and move on his own. Today, there are two kinds of wheelchair, the manual or self-propelled wheelchair and the electric wheelchair.
There are basically two designs of manual wheelchairs, the folding type and the rigid type. Folding wheelchairs are made of light materials and as the name implies, can be folded for easy transport. This designed is usually used by patients outside the hospital or home. They are usually pushed by a caregiver. The rigid design has many welded joints and less moving parts. Most of them are made from light materials making it easy for the occupant to move himself. There are three kinds of manual wheelchair; the self-propelled, the attendant propelled, and the wheelbase chairs.
The self-propelled wheelchair can be moved by the patient or occupant himself. This kind usually has two big wheels at the rear and two smaller wheels at the front. The occupant moves himself by turning the rims attached to the side of each big wheel; the rims are slightly smaller than the wheels.
The attendant-propelled wheelchairs are pushed by an attendant from behind. This kind has handles behind the seat and the wheels do not have rims. This type of wheelchair is usually found in hospitals and airports.
Wheelbase chairs are platforms with wheels. They have molded seats and are used by patients whose posture is a bit complicates. To make the molded seats, a patient's best achievable sitting position is cast and carved on memory foam. This would make the person more comfortable when using this chair.
The electric wheel chair was designed for those who cannot propel themselves. It has a motor attached to its wheels and is controlled by a joystick mounted on the arm rest. The motor is powered by rechargeable batteries which carry an onboard charger that can be plugged to any power outlet. The seats are usually made like a captain's chair. This makes it more comfortable for the patient.
When choosing a wheelchair, always keep in mind the patient's comfort. There are many different kinds out in the market and choose what is best for the patient.