For someone who has limited mobility, using a wheelchair is very important. That is why wheelchair maintenance is essential because it saves you money for repairs. It also extends the lives of a wheelchair and prevents long-term damage and injuries to the user’s body.
The wheelchair that is properly taken care of is comfortable, easy, and energy-efficient if you’re using a performance wheelchair. And when it comes to its maintenance, everything must be checked, from wheelchair backrests, wheelchair brakes, wheelchair calf straps, and even wheelchair comfort cushions. That said, the wheelchair will continue to give pressure relief, support, and accessibility to the user.
In this blog, you will learn more about wheelchairs and the importance of wheelchair maintenance for the accessibility of the user.
Why is Wheelchair Maintenance so Important?
Did you know that about five to eighteen per cent of wheelchair users have experienced wheelchair-related injuries yearly? Unfortunately, the common cause of wheelchair injuries includes malfunctioning wheelchairs.
If a wheelchair is poorly maintained, it does not only affect the accessibility of the user. Still, it may also increase the risk of users being injured because the wheelchair isn’t working well. That is why wheelchair users should always maintain the wheelchair to lessen the risk of getting an injury. Also, the repair and replacement costs are high. Indeed, you don’t want to spend a lot on its repairs.
How to Maintain Wheelchairs?
Like cars, wheelchairs also need maintenance to operate appropriately. Other wheelchair parts also require periodic replacement and repair. The care also involves periodic action and inspection. That’s why service providers of wheelchairs must develop education and training for the consumer to address problems adequately.
Also, periodic maintenance requires inspection and steps to follow. These are the things you should know when you maintain a wheelchair.
1. Pneumatic Tires
If not often, at least check the pressure in the tires of the wheelchair weekly. Tires should always be appropriately inflated for wheelchair propulsion. Its proper pressure must be indicated directly on your tire. If the tire wheelchair tires lack sufficient force, it would be hard to manoeuvre the wheelchair, thereby having issues with accessibility.
Also, propulsion will take more energy, causing stress on your shoulders. And when your rolling resistance is increased, it could make you work harder and get tired quickly. The tire could also wear out quickly when it’s not inflated correctly. It could also make a difference in how the chair will give you comfort.
2. Wheel Locks
If wheelchair locks don’t hold the tires, you must check to see if the wheelchair tire is inflated correctly. Also, check the bolts for excessive plays because if there is side to side plays, the bolts must be tight enough until there is only minimal play. However, don’t tighten it too much, for it will make the wheel locks hard to engage.
Wheelchair cushions are also essential. They don’t last as long as the wheelchair frame. Cushion and body interaction determine the comfort of the user and its safety and function. The deterioration in the cushion may also develop a risk of ulcers.
4. Nuts and Bolts
Most maintenance also consists of checking the wheelchair’s nuts and bolts properly. Check if it’s adjusted and not too loose or if it holds the part correctly. You have to identify the bolts visually. You may use a wrench or a screwdriver to tighten the bolts. This should be inspected every month as part of maintenance.
Since wheelchairs are used most of the time, there’s a big chance that spokes can be loosened, broken, or damaged. It should have equal tension, as one loose spoke may cause stress to others, and the wheel will also be affected.
6. Wheelchair Brake
The brakes help stabilise the wheelchair, especially when you transfer to other surfaces or when you wish to remain in a spot. Brakes will make the user stable, especially when pushing or lifting things and even when users are sitting.
Caster wheels also have a significant effect on the wheelchair’s performance. If the caster wheels are worn out, it would be harder for the wheelchair to propel.