Thursday, 28 March 2013

Tips For Safely Transferring A Wheelchair Traveler Into A Car

Transferring someone from a wheelchair to a car is not easy. While some people are active and can get into an automobile by themselves, others have to be handled with a lot of care to avoid damage or injury. As such, it is essential to know the technique of wheelchair transfer before executing the task.

Manual method:
  • When adopting the manual method, first thing you need to do is lock the wheelchair. As you’ll be using your hands to execute other tasks, this will keep the machine from moving. In case you’re in a slanted driveway, locking becomes all the more important. Also, make sure you leave enough space when securing the chair so that the car door can be opened easily.
  • Once done, open the door and clean the seat you are planning to place the person on. Move the wheelchair close to the vehicle, leaving very little space. Lock the wheelchair again and pick the person up.
  • Stand in front of the individual and put your knees against their legs. Now place your arms around their waist and lift the body with your legs. Turn towards the vehicle while moving the person and placing their bottom side on the seat. Once they are seated, lift their legs and place them in the vehicle.
  • Secure seatbelts to ensure complete safety.
Use Of Equipment:
In case accessing the seat from a wheelchair is difficult, there are a variety of equipments and tools that can be used, such as a leg lifter, turning cushion, push up bar, glide sheet, handling belt, transfer board, and the like.

Turning cushion
This is essentially a double layered cushion that is fixed on top of the seat. The top layer rotates to decrease the tension on the person's hips or back when getting into the car. Also, if the patent has problems in lifting his/her legs, a leg lifter can be used.

Transfer boards
These boards are curved, angled or straight and are used to bridge the gap between the car seat and the wheelchair for a person who cannot manage a standing transfer. The machine is placed next to the driver's seat and the wheelchair bound individual has to lean over a little so the board can be positioned under him/her. The person then has to transfer through the board either with help or independently.

Fixed tip up plate
A fixed tip up plate is fitted to a vehicle. It is leveled with the car seat and is used to slide a person from the wheelchair. It can be removed when not needed.

Handling Belt
This is a padded belt placed around the waist of an individual to offer support when being moved to a car seat. These belts have hand grips at the sides that help the carrier in gaining more control when handling the disabled. It is extremely comfortable for the individual being repositioned, in comparison to being ‘hugged' or held by clothes when being transferred onto a car seat. It also decreases the strain on the carrier.

One of the obstacles that caregivers and wheelchair bound patients alike face is getting in and out of a car safely. If done without any planning, disaster can strike and lead to injury. But, if the technique of proper transfer is mastered, it can bring about a lot of freedom for the patient for years to come and help him/her enjoy a better life. It is also believed that people who have been disabled live a longer life when they can travel easily by getting in the vehicle, and getting out easily.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Wheelchair Transportation Safety Tips: Know How to Ride Safely

If you use a wheelchair, you certainly know how to use it safely. You’ve met a rehabilitation specialist and have understood the rules. But it does not hurt to go over them occasionally, and maybe correct some awful habits you’ve fallen into. Wheelchairs are extremely handy. But they are also likely to get you into danger, if you don’t maintain and handle them correctly. Wheelchair users should know the importance of wheelchair safety, specifically in busy areas like urban centers.
Keeping the device in top shape:
Brakes
Wheelchair brakes must always be in top working condition. Brakes come in very handy when you have to shift from your wheelchair to a bed or a vehicle. In such situations, chair brakes should hold steady. If the chair is wobbly, you can fall and bruise yourself. Brakes are also needed in areas such as driveways and parking lots where the surface may not always be flat. On such surfaces, a brake failure can mean rolling back down with speed, leading to an accident.

Wheels
The wheels of a chair must also be well-maintained. It’s best to test them regularly to see if they are moving smoothly. Be wary of jams and stiff wheel locks that can be dangerous. Get the wheels lubricated on the regular basis. Apart from this, another thing that needs to be checked is alignment. Push the chair along a straight line to see if it can continue straight.

Use ramps
It’s not advisable for wheelchair users to tip the machine to get on a curb. This can result in the wheelchair falling over. In case, there are no ramps or elevators its best to ask for assistance from an attendant to ensure complete safety.

Visibility
Wheelchairs tend to reduce your height, so it's not always possible for people to see you. This is very dangerous on roads, so make sure you wear fluorescent, bright jackets that are especially handy during the night. Also, fix a flag at the back of the wheelchair to raise your profile.
Wheelchair Safety While Riding:
Seat belt
Safety belts are a necessity in every state– and this law applies to wheelchair users as well. To prevent a disabled person from hitting the vehicle during crash, it is extremely important to use a seat belt comprising of a lap and shoulder belt that can fit securely.

Where to sit
The best place for a disabled person to sit is the vehicle’s seat that is crash designed for optimum protection. If not, it is best to have a transit-ready, WCl9-compliant wheelchair. Non-WCl9-compliant chairs are normally not strong enough to survive an impact. WC19-compliant wheelchairs have been designed for motor-vehicles and have been tested for crash.

It is also a good idea to use a securement system to safely fix the wheelchair to keep it absolutely stationary. An automatic lock-down system connects to the installed bracket on the base of the wheelchair, permitting independent securement of the wheelchair.

A wheelchair is essentially a replacement for walking. The machine is available in several different types propelled by seated occupant or motors. There are often handles behind the seat for the assistant to do the pushing. These devices are an excellent choice for people who have been injured or can no longer walk due to illness or disability. For people who live with disabilities, it is important to remember how to use a wheelchair correctly to ensure complete safety. By following the aforementioned tips and also by consulting the experts, one can easily master the use of this devise and can enjoy the benefits of everlasting independence that a wheelchair offers.