6 Things to Consider When Buying a Wheelchair

Buying a wheelchair is a big decision. For some, it may also signify a major lifestyle change or may give them the freedom to better live their lives. There are many options available and it’s important to choose the right one for you. You should make sure to consider each of the following factors when you’re buying a wheelchair.

1. Manual vs. Power Wheelchair

The first thing that you need to consider is whether you want the wheelchair to be a manual wheelchair or a power wheelchair. Which one is best depends on why you need the wheelchair in the first place. For people who need a wheelchair to move around due to a temporary injury, a manual wheelchair will generally be the best option. Those who only need the wheelchair occasionally may also find that manual is better.

Electric wheelchairs are ideal for those who have more permanent disabilities, chronic illnesses, or other permanent mobility issues.

2. Portability

Another consideration is how easy the wheelchair is to transport. You may need to move the wheelchair from one location to another or transport it by car. You should investigate how portable a wheelchair is before you invest money into one. You should also think about how and where it will be stored whenever it isn’t in use. Many wheelchairs can fold up for easy storage and transport, but not all can.

3. Foot and Arm Rests

The foot and arm rests are important not just for when you’re in the wheelchair but also for when you’re getting in and out of it. Try out the wheelchair before committing to buying. That way, you can check to make sure that they’re sturdy and can bear your full weight so that you can get in and out of the chair with ease.

4. Comfort of the Wheelchair

Just as not all humans come in the same size, so too are wheelchairs different sizes. You should make sure to try out any wheelchair you’re considering to make sure that it not only fits you but that it’s comfortable as well. If you’re going to be sitting in the chair for long periods of time, a proper fit is essential. The dimensions should be appropriate for your body type, size, and weight.

You should also consider how much padding the back of the chair may have. Especially for those with more mobility difficulties, back support can be a vital feature. Think about what you would need to be comfortable in the wheelchair for the amount of time you’ll need to spend in it. Many wheelchairs may be adjustable so that you can shift position as needed.

5. Wheel Durability

It’s also essential for the wheels on a wheelchair to be durable for how you’re using it. If you’re going to be using the wheelchair outside, then stronger wheels may be needed than for indoor use only. It’s important to look at what uses the wheels can handle so that you purchase the wheelchair that best suits how you want to move around.

6. Cost

Wheelchair cost will likely become a major deciding factor once you’ve narrowed down your options. The average new wheelchair may cost upt to $1,500, with $500 being the low end. But the cost will vary depending on the type of wheelchair you decide on with manual wheelchairs being as low as $100 and electric wheelchairs skyrocketing up to $30,000.

Cost will also be affected if your doctor deems your wheelchair necessary and prescribes it. Your insurance may or may not cover the cost of your wheelchair depending upon how your doctor enters their medical coding for wheelchairs. You should speak to your insurance provider and doctor for more information when trying to secure coverage for wheelchair costs.  

Adam Nager is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of Quest Management Services, a collection of healthcare organizations serving over 40 states. After growing his medical billing company to a multimillion-dollar business, Adam expanded his portfolio by going on to acquire five other companies.