Manual Wheelchair User Tips
Below are a series of tips that will make the use of a manual wheelchair easier for users and caregivers.
- Caregivers pushing a wheelchair over rough or soft terrain will find it easier of they pull the wheelchair backwards instead of pushing it forwards.
- Folding a standard wheelchair with seat upholstery is easily accomplished by gripping the front and rear of the seat upholstery and lifting straight up.
- Unfolding a standard manual wheelchair can be easily done by tipping the wheelchair to one side and pushing down on the seat rail on the opposite side. (The seat rail is the part the seat upholstery is screwed to)
- Keep air inflated tires fully inflated to ease rolling of the wheelchair and maximize tire and tube life spans.
- Having a wheelchair's wheel bearings checked for wear and adjustment yearly will lengthen there lifespan and make the chair easier to push.
- Closing a door behind a wheelchair user will be easier of there is a 3 foot length of cord or rope tied to the door handle. The user holds the end of the cord when passing through the doorway and pulls the door closed behind them.
- The easiest way to traverse a curb or low obstacle for a care giver is to push down on the rear side frame with one foot and pulling back on the push handles to tip the wheelchair and the user backwards. Once tipped, the care giver pushes the casters up onto the curb and then pushes the rear wheels up while lifting on the push handles. (For this to work the wheelchair can't have anti-tippers installed. The anti-tippers must be removed or flipped out of the way.)
- Independent users who have trouble climbing ramps or grades without rolling backwards between pushes can purchase grade aids (hill holders). Grade aids/hill holders prevent the wheelchair from rolling backwards. They are easily disengaged for normal maneuvering.
- To turn a wheelchair around in the shortest space, the user can push one wheel forward while pulling the other wheel backwards.
- Wheelchairs equipped with flip back armrests can be brought closer to a desk or table by flipping them back.
- Having a bright orange flag will make the manual wheelchair user more visible in traffic and parking lots. (Available at most bicycle shops for a low price)