How to Calculate the Overall Width
Some wheelchairs state the seat width but not the entire width of the unit. However, it is fairly easy to determine the wheelchair’s total width. For transport wheelchairs, add 3 inches to the seat width.
For the reclining wheelchair, add eight inches to the seat width. You should also add eight inches to the seat width for the standard folding wheelchair. For bariatric wheelchairs, you also need to add eight inches to the seat width. Using this example, a standard wheelchair with an 18 inch wide seat will be 26 inches wide.
What are the Vital Wheelchair Measurements?
In most cases the seat width and depth are the most important. This is true for the transport, lightweight and standard wheelchairs. If the individual wants to drive the wheelchair by their feet, the seat to floor height must be taken too.
Some wheelchairs will need special configurations that necessitate taking more measurements. The information will be provided by the manufacturer at their website.
Tip: to make seat width measuring easy, place a book at both hip sides when seated. Measure the distance between the two books and add an inch to the total.
Buying a Wheelchair
Aside from the wheelchair measurements, your purchase should be based on the requirements of the patient and the caregiver. A lightweight wheelchair is ideal if the patient has to be pushed regularly.
Standard wheelchairs are for patients who prefer to push themselves. Make sure the standard wheelchair has bigger rear wheels. Other types like ultra-light and reclining are also available. Of course you should get the patient’s measurements first before you decide to buy one.
How to Get the Measurements
To get the seat depth, measure from the buttock’s back up to the knee’s insides. To get the back height, measure from the top of the shoulders down to the backside’s bottom. This should be done when the patient is sitting on an even surface.
The seat to floor height is usually adjustable by a couple of inches using a dual axle wheelchair. These wheelchairs have holes at the front forks. This allows for the adjustment. The typical seat to floor height is 18 to 20 inches.
The difference between a lightweight and regular wheelchair is about 15 lbs. The weight will be important especially if it will be carried. Some wheelchairs can weigh 50 lbs or more. These are going to be very difficult to carry. The lightweight wheelchairs usually weigh 28 to 36 lbs.
The condition of the patient may also determine what type of wheelchair to get. If the patient has restricted mobility, the lightweight types are more ideal. There are also seat belts for patients who are active.
Aside from taking wheelchair measurements, you must also take note of the access points in the house. Make sure the wheelchair can pass through the doorways, bathrooms, passages etc.