Do you care for someone in a wheelchair?
Have you ever considered how much weight you are pushing around at any given time? The answer may surprise you.
With an increasing older population, wheelchairs are commonplace in care homes, meaning that the nurses and carers will, at some point during any shift, push one around. While this can be a very pleasant experience when walking slowly through a park, there is a very real safety risk to the carer, even if they are trained in correct handling procedures.
Even if you are caring for a child that weighs 20kg, in conjunction with a heavier wheelchair of 12kg, you are pushing around 32kgby yourself! An 80kg adult with a standard wheelchair can reach up to 95kg. No matter how strong you are, this is far over the safety limit for males and females to push.
Extended pushing of manual, heavier wheelchairs can put a physical toll on a carer’s back, shoulders and knees. And this is all before the manual handling of the wheelchair is considered, folding down a heavy wheelchair multiple times a day is not great for your back joint either.
Benefits of lightweight wheelchairs for caregivers
It should come as no surprise that many carers were leaping for joy when lighter wheelchairs were introduced to care services and became available on prescription. Indeed, many wheelchair sale specialists across the UK began to sell more manoeuvrable wheelchairs and could advise carers and users on which wheelchair would be best suited for their needs, based on doctors’ recommendations.
This common selling of lighter wheelchairs has taken the weight off carers’ shoulders (literally) and have improved the lives of those using them too.
There is now the option to have manual options installed on to these types of wheelchairs, meaning that the individual in the chair can control the chair with ease and the carer or nurse can focus on ensuring that the individual is content, rather than being distracted by the pain in their lower back.
If you are caring for an individual with very limited movements, the ease of folding and using a light wheelchair can help carers with everyday activities, like bathing, attending medical appointments and moving the person being cared for from their chair to the bed. You can simply fold the chair down with minimal effort and slide it away. Easy!
Benefits for wheelchair users
Remember, you can only care for someone if you look after yourself, enquiring if the person you are caring for is suitable for a lighter, more agile wheelchair is not only going to improve your life, but it will undoubtedly improve theirs too. Many people who use lighter chairs report higher levels of confidence and an improved social life, which provides them with a sense of real independence. Leaving carers to focus on the well-being of the people they care for, who in turn feel happier, with higher levels of pride in what they can achieve by themselves.