Sitting in a wheelchair can become uncomfortable. This can be managed to avoid abrasions, sore muscles, and back problems. One of the first things to avoiding discomfort and health issues related to sitting in a wheelchair is to have a wheelchair that fits the user properly and is in good repair.
When buying or renting a wheelchair, the user should sit in at see how it fits. Some parts may be adjustable like the armrest and the foot rests. A wheelchair that is a little big may be made more comfortable with added cushion supports. A wheelchair that is too small will cause abrasions and may hold the person in an uncomfortable position, which can cause sore muscles and strain muscles as the user attempts to hold his or herself in a more comfortable position. Some people have serious physical issues that will prevent them from using a regular wheelchair and they will need a custom made wheelchair.
Often people who cannot get in and out of a wheelchair themselves will spend more time in one that is healthy. This can happen for convenience or lack of assistance for a transfer. A person who uses a wheelchair should be in it only when necessary. Some people may spend more time in a wheelchair than another person due to their physical disability and inability to sit safely in a regular chair. In this case the person should be taken out of the wheelchair for a break at least once a day. Usually a safe place to stretch out is on the person’s bed. Mostly the wheelchair is a transportation device and should be treated like one. This can also help the wheelchair last longer before needing repair or replacement.
PHYSICAL COMFORT IN A WHEELCHAIR
A wheelchair should be comfortable, but if it isn’t, it can cause abrasions. Changes in how the person sits in a wheelchair should be made when redness occurs instead of waiting for an abrasion. Repositioning or changing where the padding is can fix the problem. When a person uses adult diapers, like Depends, they should be changed regularly. It may be harder to check when a person cannot communicate they are wet or soiled, but it needs to be done. For women, front clasping bras can be more comfortable. There are specially designed clothes that reduce bunching under the person who sits in a wheelchair most of the time. Looser clothing is also more comfortable when sitting most of the time. The person should avoid bunches and folds because they can cause abrasions.
Wheel chair seat cushions add to the comfort of wheelchair use.
APPEARANCE WHILE IN A WHEELCHAIR
A person in a wheelchair still wants to look good when they go out. For the person who pushes their own wheel chair, gloves are recommended to keep the hands clean from dirt and grease that the wheels pick up. For someone who isn’t comfortable with wearing gloves, they can keep hand wipes and lotion handy so their hands can be cleaned easily. Clothes should be purchased longer. Pants can be longer so they don’t ride up. Skirts and dresses should cover the knees when the person is sitting. Belts, if worn at all, will usually sit higher and may need to be bigger. Clothing should be loose around the waist. Avoid buttons and zippers in the back. Breathable material will be more comfortable.
CLEANING A WHEELCHAIR
A wheelchair should be kept clean. When an adult diaper leaks or a person has an accident, the moisture can cause a rash. The seat cushion can be covered with soft, waterproof pads to protect the seat cushion. Urine and feces on a cushion not only can begin to smell if not cleaned properly, it can also hold bacteria. Neither of these is comfortable for a wheelchair user to sit on. Prevention is the best because cushions can take a long time to dry, which will cause the wheelchair not being able to be used or used without a cushion.