Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks

Topic: Maintenance of Manual Wheelchairs

Parts of a wheelchair

I am sure over the course of our lives; we will have a relationship with a wheelchair. However, for some, the wheelchair is a daily way of life. Because it’s a daily way of life, it requires maintenance. Like our physical and mental health requires maintenance, the equipment that sustains a loved one, is no different.

As always, many of my conversations center on personal or observational experiences. I use these experiences to educate and inform those willing to listen. As you know and without insulting the intelligence of the reader, simply put…a wheelchair is a chair with wheels, used by many when walking is difficult or impossible due to a host of injuries, illnesses, and conditions that can occur at birth. There are a multitude of circumstances, too many to name, but the just is… if a wheelchair is used, especially long-term, it must be maintained on a regular basis. Sidebar…if a wheelchair ramp is used, the same rules apply. Safety must always be the yardstick.

So, what goes into wheelchair maintenance? I’m glad you asked! It is three-pronged. The visual inspection, hands-on repairs, and required replacement parts.

Parts of a wheelchair include:

Like our earthly bodies, wheelchairs experience wear and tear. Without proper care, serious malfunctions and poor maintenance can create dangerous outcomes. Here is one example. When the brakes on a wheelchair are not working, the danger is not far behind. The purpose of wheelchair brakes is to hold the wheelchair stationery and keep the user safe. If not working properly, is too loose, or too tight to work fundamentally, it is concerning.

There are wheelchair servicing providers nationwide who can help evaluate, restore, and sometimes replace wheelchairs. It is also essential to replace cushioning and padding. Sitting for long periods of time can create another serious problem, skin breakdown.

As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, caring for your loved ones’ equipment is also as important as caring for them. Be safe! Be well!

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Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

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Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.