Last week I had an assessment at our local Wheelchair service as my chair is now unbelievably 10 years old and had an overhaul 5 years ago.
I don’t think people realise how much discussion and measurement goes on to get the right wheelchair for someone, it isn’t a case of choosing one, although many people do have wheelchairs that are not a custom fit.
My appointment was at 09.30 at the local wheelchair service which is housed on an industrial estate, I have been there quite a few times and so knew what to expect.
It is a good idea to prepare a list, if this is your first chair you may not know exactly what you want but if like me you have had your chair for a while, you will know what does and doesn’t feel right and obviously over the years our needs change.
There also options on wether you take a chair that will be paid for by the Wheelchair Service or if you wanted to upgrade to another model, there are options on how that is paid for. You can even then get a voucher for the value that the Wheelchair Service would pay and shop elsewhere!
I have always felt like my chair wasn’t right, I feel like I sit too high and when Alan the RGK rep saw me sat in my chair, he said I was sitting too high. I feel like I am sat on it and not in it!
A discussion of needs and disability will take place along with a lot of measuring.
We are all different sizes, heights etc, for instance I am 6′ 4″ but for I have a long torso and apparently shorter legs for someone of my height.
What’s ‘made to measure’ all about?
- Reduce your risk of developing severe health problems and provide optimum comfort with a frame size that’s built to you.
- Increase the wheelchairs efficiency, make the chair compact, manoeuvrable and practical, reduce the amount of energy required to propel… All done by just having the optimum castor position.
- Ensure comfort, pelvic positioning and balance with our range of ergonomic backrests and seats.
- Feel snug and grounded with tapered seats and frame
- Taper seat frame design for complete support
The assessment was about 90 minutes long as I was measured, measured again and measured some more and discussion of how I transfer, how I sit and what problems I face when sat for longer periods of time.
I have to say that I came out of that assessment smiling as I don’t think it could have possibly gone any better!
Alan fully understood my needs and made suggestions that will mean this chair is going to be a lot better suited to me and my needs. I will be sat slightly lower with the seat being slightly higher under my knees than where I sit and the frame with taper in to support my legs better.
It will also have push handles that can be screwed in if I need assistance, a few times a year my shoulders flare up from damage from using crutches for way too many years. On the first assessment I said I didn’t want them, it wasn’t that I didn’t need them but me trying to prove to myself that I was still independent.
The new cushion will be better suited to my needs, I currently have a J2 but will now have the Xtreme Active with support wedges at the side, these will reduce the movement in my legs and so help to reduce the pain.
You also learn a lot, you learn things about you and your disability/needs that you may not have realised before. For instance I didn’t realise that I sat slightly to one side!
Also a few years ago I had back problems, the doctor and the consultants couldn’t come up with any ideas as to why and so after many months I phoned the Wheelchair Service and when I went to see them, they figured out that I was sat wrong and that visit has stopped my back flaring up so often.
I had the choice of being assessed by a few wheelchair manufacturers but went with RGK as they have a very good reputation and rightly so!
I did resist the urge to upgrade my chair, I stuck with the Chrome (model name not colour) and it took a lot of willpower as the Tiga is a beautiful chair, but finances are tight and the Chrome will serve me well.