I was contacted last week from a lady wanting information about the width of a doorway that is needed for a wheelchair to pass through easily. Although this seems like it should have a simple answer, it doesn’t.
After writing a rather long and complicated response by email, I thought it should be a topic that I should go into with more depth on the website.
So, I’ve added a page in the Articles section of the Mobilitybasics.ca website about wheelchair and doorway widths for those who are interested.
I came across this today and was staggered by the lack of knowledge the creators of these ramps have shown. I suspect they never expected anyone to use them and even if one was able to I doubt they’d survive most of them.
Now we know why building and accessibility codes are needed in most places.
On Saturday I visited the Toronto Abilities Expo at the International Centre on Airport Road in Mississauga. This show was a three day public show to for manufacturers and dealers in the home health care industry to display their products to the public.
In addition to the product displays, there were many booths occupied by organisations whose purpose was solely to provide services to people with disabilities. One of these organizations is My Team Triumph Canada.
This organization teams up people with disabilities with able bodied helpers in order to allow them to participate in sporting events such as runs, marathons, triathlons, etc., that they normally wouldn’t be able to participate in. This organization is completely donor funded and provides it’s services at no cost to the participant. For more information on this services please visit: www.mttcanada.org/
I’ve added a page to the wheelchair section of the site today with information on Rowheels replacement wheelchair wheels. I came across these wheels when researching different types of alternative drive systems for manual wheelchairs and thought this was something many people may be interested in.
These wheels provide benefits to the user in terms of more efficient wheeling, improved posture, reduced shoulder injury, strengthened back muscles and improved range of motion.
These wheels, as the name suggests, propel the wheelchair when the user turns the hand rims backwards. Like a rowing a rowboat, the user pulls backwards to propel the wheelchair forward. The difference is, of course, the wheelchair user will be facing the direction they are going.
There is a lot of data and studies to support the theory of pulling back to propel forward and when I think about how one propels a wheelchair it actually starts to make sense.
While pulling backward to propel forward may have many benefits, I’m not sure that these are wheels that a long term wheelchair user could easily change over to. I’m sure the learning curve experienced by user will vary greatly and new wheelchair users will probably have less issues with this departure from normal wheel chair propulsion.
Okay, this is a little bit different from the normal stuff I post about but thought my visitors might be interested in it.
There is an article in the Toronto Star today about a little girl who uses a home made wheelchair built by her parents. The young girl is paralyzed below the arms by a tumor on her spine and there was no expectation she’d be able to even pull herself around on the floor for two or three years. Apparently it didn’t take long before she figured out that by pushing and pulling on the wheels she could move around their house independently.
Her mom went online looking for wheelchairs for toddlers and found a design that they could make at home for about $100.00 using an off the shelf toddler seat, a cutting board, a couple of small bike wheels and a couple of casters.
I’ve recently been looking at propulsion aids for people who have limitations that make propelling a wheelchair difficult. The last few wheelchair devices I added to the site were to make propulsion easier by using motors. Today I’ve added a page on the Neater Uni-Chair.
The Neater Uni-Chair is designed to provide people who only have the use of one foot and one hand independent mobility in a manual wheelchair. The Uni-Chair uses a single handrim that propels both wheels through a specialized differential and a movable footplate that allows the user to steer the wheelchair with their foot.
This chair is manufactured in the UK but is available in North America through their US distributer.
I’ve added a new product page to the website’s wheelchair section on the Xtender power assist wheels for manual Quickie wheelchairs. The Xtenders are options for Quickie wheelchairs only and can be added to compatible models at the time of purchase or as an add-on later.
The Xtenders are similar in theory to the Alber e-Motion wheels I added yesterday but have some specific differences. For one, they only are compatible with select Quickie Wheelchairs. Two, they are available in two models depending on the needs of the user. Three, they can be ordered with either Lithium or Nickel batteries. Four, the wheels actually communicate with each other to provide controlled tracking.
I’ve just added a new product page to the Mobility Basics website about the power add on wheels from Invacare. These wheels are battery driven and can be added to many different makes and models of wheelchairs the make propelling the chair easier for the user.
The wheels are operated by pushing on the handrims and can greatly increase the speed of the chair and the power of the user. The combined improvement in propelling the wheelchair leads to more independent use and much reduced fatigue.
The e-Motion wheels can be pushed as regular wheels are pushed and activated when needed for enhanced propulsion or kept activated all the time for constant assistance.
While having a level area to use at the top of a ramp when trying to access a building via its doorways seems like a no brainer, situations where the threshold rise is only 1, 2 or even 3 inches are often dealt with using a simple threshold ramp. In the USA the accessibility regulations now require that even for these low rises that there be a level area in front of the doorway of buildings.
It really does make sense that this level area be available regardless of the rise. Trying to manipulate a door and pass through it using a wheelchair is hard enough without having to deal with gravity pushing you back down the slope whether it’s a 30′ modular ramp or a 3 foot threshold ramp.
How to create these level areas are up to the building owner. They can pour concrete and create sloped access to the platform, they can create the platform out of wood and use threshold type ramps to access the platform, or they can purchase a level entry ramping system that is installed over the existing sidewalk or porch.
I came across this TED video these morning and thought our visitors might be interested in seeing it.
It’s a short talk about how a fellow from MIT in the US came up with a design for an all terrain wheelchair that can be inexpensively manufactured and will meet the needs of people who live in places like Africa, India and other third world areas. The video is a bit old but interesting anyway.
The Willgo Wheelchair pictured is not what the video is about but the principle of using levers to propel a wheelchair is similar. The Willgo has been in the new and unique products section of my site since August of 2012.