Manual wheelchairs are a necessary part in the lives of millions of people worldwide. Many of these individuals who suffer from a temporary injury, such as a broken bone or recovering from some other injury, may require the use of a wheelchair to get around temporarily. However, others are plagued with chronic illness, diagnosis or have endured a severe injury that has forced them to remain permanently in a manual wheelchair. For patients whose daily lives are inextricably tied to their wheelchair, the comfort, support, and ease of transport of the chair is vital to their quality of life. Unfortunately, many manual wheelchairs often force patients to sacrifice or compromise on these important factors due to construction that is designed to fit the needs of a large generic group of people rather than cater to the specific preferences or needs of a unique individual.
Ultralight wheelchairs are a special type of wheelchair that can solve this problem for many patients who require the permanent use of a wheelchair. These wheelchairs are a fairly new development in the world of wheelchair manufacturing. They are constructed to be as light as possible and are designed with alterable parts that can be customized to fit the exact needs, specifications, and preferences of the patient using the chair. Ultralight wheelchairs are revolutionizing the wheelchair industry because their goal is to adapt as closely as possible to the individual using them, whereas with standard manual wheelchairs, patients are forced to adapt their needs to fit a universal wheelchair. Here is a great video by TiLite, an ultralight wheelchair manufacturer, which will help you understand how the benefits of an ultralight wheelchair:
In order to be considered an ultralight wheelchair, a wheelchair generally must weigh less than thirty pounds. Many ultralight wheelchairs weigh as low as twenty-five, sometimes even twenty or less pounds. This extremely low weight allows patients to transport their chairs easily and creates less impact on the shoulders for every push of the wheels. It makes the wheelchair easier to load into cars or onto public transportation such as trains or buses. This ease of transport allows wheelchair users to travel more places and live a more normal daily life without having to worry about the weight of their wheelchair holding them back.
Many parts of ultralight wheelchairs can be customized in order to achieve the highest levels of comfort and support for each specific patient. Most ultralight wheelchairs allow patients to adjust the chair’s caster angle, frame angle, footrest height, center of gravity, seat height, and more. Ultralight wheelchairs are also constructed to preserve the health of the patient using it. Each wheelchair is designed with an optimal back support height, leg to seat surface angle, foot support, seat length, seat to back support angle, and more. All of these standard wheelchair features are carefully designed in an ultralight wheelchair to ensure the position of the patient in their chair provides the most effective support for their body, maximizes wheelchair propelling efficiency and does not cause additional injury or worsen their health in any way.
For example, if a wheelchair’s back support is too high for the individual, it can gradually begin to limit the range of motion of their upper extremities. An ultralight wheelchair eliminates this and similar problems because measurements of the wheelchair user is taken into consideration when building a wheelchair for that particular customer.
Ultralight wheelchairs seem to be the wheelchair of the present and future. Their customizable design and incredibly lightweight construction allows many patients to live a more active, fulfilling life without suffering from discomfort or pain in a wheelchair since it adapts to their unique needs. Ultralight wheelchairs might be the most difficult product to evaluate a client for since every wheelchair is custom built for a specific person.
That’s why you must be sure to find a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional on staff with a supplier to work with your healthcare team to be evaluated for specific configurations as well as seating and positioning components. American Seating and Mobility has over 10 of these professionals on staff at our 4 branches in Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Contact us today to schedule a comprehensive seating and mobility eval along with your physical or occupational therapist. We supply ultralight wheelchairs by TiLite, Sunrise Medical (Quickie) and many other manufacturers.