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How to decide whether a manual, power or customised wheelchair is right for you

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How to decide whether a manual, power or customised wheelchair is right for you
If you’re living with a health condition that affects your ability to stay mobile, it may be time to think about investing in a wheelchair to help increase your independence and confidence inside and outside of the home.

Complete Care Shop offer a wide choice of both manual and power chairs from many trusted brands, such as Quickie, Kuschall, TiLite and Permobil, which are designed to suit a variety of personal requirements. For selected wheelchairs, we also offer a free home wheelchair assessment service that enables you to have a wheelchair custom-built to your measurements and needs. Below, we explain the different types of wheelchairs available and everything you need to know about our wheelchair assessment service.


Do I need a manual or power wheelchair?

Choosing the right wheelchair for your needs is a big decision – something which needs to be considered carefully and discussed with a professional to understand what type of wheelchair can offer you the best support. Your own abilities, environment and clinical needs are important factors to think about – not only should your new wheelchair support your individual needs so you are safe and comfortable, it must also fit in with your way of life and ideally help you to live more independently.


The low-down on manual wheelchairs

Manual wheelchairs can either be self-propelled or attendant-controlled, meaning that they rely on the person using it, or an attendant supporting them, to push the chair along. 

The main difference between the two chairs is that a self-propelled wheelchair will include large back wheels with push rims, enabling you to control the wheelchair yourself, whilst an attendant controlled wheelchair, such as the Deluxe Folding Wheelchair, will typically have smaller back wheels. 

They both include handles at the back of the chair that enable them to be pushed by someone when required, as well as arm and footrests that help you to maintain a supported position in the chair. 

It’s important to remember that you will need a certain degree of core and upper body strength in order to manoeuvre yourself around in a self-propelled wheelchair. If you have reduced strength in your upper body, then a powered wheelchair may be a better option for you.


Getting up to speed on power wheelchairs 

The obvious difference between a power wheelchair and a manual wheelchair is the way in which it is operated. Whilst the movement of a manual wheelchair relies on the power of the person pushing it, power wheelchairs are battery powered and are typically controlled with a small joystick by the user of the chair. 

Power wheelchairs are designed for comfort and include a supportive seat, arm rests, footrests and often a head rest. Most power chairs are custom made to ensure maximum comfort and performance by enabling features to be added or altered to meet your own personal requirements. 

Depending on the wheels and overall design, some power chairs are designed mainly for indoor use, whilst others are suitable for outdoor use on grass or pavements. Some power wheelchairs, such as the Q500M Sedeo Pro Power Wheelchair are ideal for use both inside and outdoors. 

A power chair can offer you even more freedom than a manual chair by allowing you to move around safely at up to 8mph and travel further afield, with some battery ranges boasting 30 miles or more. Some power chairs also include the option to add functions such as chair raisers, seat recline or a seat tilt, that enable you to have improved social interaction, comfort and pressure relief.

self-propelled-wheelchairs q500m-sedeo-pro-power-wheelchair

What does your wheelchair home assessment service involve?

Complete Care Shop offer a free wheelchair home assessment with many of the wheelchairs available to order on our website, including both power wheelchairs such as the Permobil M1 Power Wheelchair and active wheelchairs, such as the Kuschall Champion Carbon Wheelchair. All the wheelchairs which include our free wheelchair home assessment are made to order and are customised to your clinical needs and your specific individual measurements.


How do you carry out a home assessment safely?

Anyone who orders a bespoke wheelchair or requests a home wheelchair assessment will have a consultation with our in-house wheelchair specialist who will use their expertise to identify the most suitable wheelchair for you and your budget. 

We understand, in these unprecedented times, that some people may have questions about the protection used during the assessment to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our wheelchair specialists practice social distancing and wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all times to protect themselves and you from Coronavirus. In your consultation you can discuss the process of measuring your chair and address any questions you have, including about COVID-19, with our in-house wheelchair specialist. We will always ensure you are happy to have the assessment before arranging a date for our wheelchair specialists to come out to you.


What happens during a home assessment?

On the day of your assessment our wheelchair specialist will bring one or more of the most suitable wheelchairs with them, as agreed on your consultation call. In most cases you’ll be able to sit in and try the different wheelchairs to help you get an idea of the comfort and design. We’ll talk to you about what you want the wheelchair to do for you and discuss your specific medical needs to ensure you choose the best chair within your wheelchair budget. At this stage we’ll take your specific wheelchair measurements, run through all the different customisable options available on the chair and discuss how, or if, they can benefit you and support your personal needs.

You will not be under any obligation to buy the chair and will be left with a quote to decide whether you want to proceed with the purchase of the custom-made wheelchair after your assessment.  


To find out more about the wheelchairs on offer at Complete Care Shop, please visit our wheelchair page to see the full range available.

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