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What are the most important factors to consider when selecting a wheelchair for someone with spinal cord injury?

What are the most important factors to consider when selecting a wheelchair for someone with spinal cord injury?

Laura Wehrli, PT

Physical Therapist/Supervisor, Spinal Cord Injury Unit, Craig Hospital, Colorado

Read Bio More Videos by Laura Wehrli
Transcript
Having a wheelchair that is appropriately fitted to that person is so important for them to safely and effectively access the environment in their home, as well as outside of the home. If the wheelchair doesn’t fit appropriately, they’re at risk ... Show More

Having a wheelchair that is appropriately fitted to that person is so important for them to safely and effectively access the environment in their home, as well as outside of the home. If the wheelchair doesn’t fit appropriately, they’re at risk for developing asymmetrical postures that would eventually lead to contractures—they’ll end up sitting in a crooked position and then end up getting stuck in that position over time. They also could end up with pressure ulcers in those cases because of unequal seating pressure underneath those sitting surfaces. And then if they’re not properly fitted to the chair, it’s very difficult for someone to be able to learn higher-level wheelchair skills like wheelies, which are used to access curbs, and stairs and rough terrain. And so someone who is properly fitted has a better chance of learning those skills; it’s a lot easier and safer for them to learn those advanced skills.

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What are the most important factors to consider when selecting a wheelchair for someone with spinal cord injury?

Laura Wehrli, PT

Physical Therapist/Supervisor, Spinal Cord Injury Unit, Craig Hospital, Colorado

More Videos by Laura Wehrli
Transcriptadd

Having a wheelchair that is appropriately fitted to that person is so important for them to safely and effectively access the environment in their home, as well as outside of the home. If the wheelchair doesn’t fit appropriately, they’re at risk for developing asymmetrical postures that would eventually lead to contractures—they’ll end up sitting in a crooked position and then end up getting stuck in that position over time. They also could end up with pressure ulcers in those cases because of unequal seating pressure underneath those sitting surfaces. And then if they’re not properly fitted to the chair, it’s very difficult for someone to be able to learn higher-level wheelchair skills like wheelies, which are used to access curbs, and stairs and rough terrain. And so someone who is properly fitted has a better chance of learning those skills; it’s a lot easier and safer for them to learn those advanced skills.

What are the most important factors to consider when selecting a wheelchair for someone with spinal cord injury?
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