Tips on Choosing a Wheelchair

In Singapore, you can buy or rent wheelchairs at many retail and online stores. However, it is wise to do some research before you make that decision. Making the right choice out of the hundreds of brands and models of wheelchairs will allow the user and the caregiver benefit and enjoy fully this important piece of mobility and rehabilitation aid.

Common types of wheelchair:

  • Self-propelled wheelchair-driven and controlled by the user. Attendant-propelled wheelchair- driven and steered by the caregiver

  • electrically powered wheelchair. Active wheelchair - designed for active users to get on with daily activities - indoor and outdoor, with ease

  • Long-term care wheelchair - maximises comfort for users who need to rest on the wheelchair for long durations

  • bariatric wheelchair - heavy-duty wheelchairs that accommodate obese users. Standing wheelchair - improves physiological functions of the body with a stand-up feature

Considerations in the use of a wheelchair:

  • Permanent or short-term use. indoor or outdoor use. Convenience in transporting the wheelchair in the car. Ease of handling the wheelchair. Specific purposes:

  • Detachable wheelchair - with armrests and legrests that detach readily, the user can get in and out of the wheelchair with much greater ease; foldable-back wheelchair - the folded backrest allows the wheelchair to be shrunk substantially and stored in the car boot;  front castor size - to get into an MRT train with low risks of getting stuck in the gap, choose a wheelchair with front castors of 8\" diameter; tilt-in-space wheelchair - provides maximum pressure relief and comfort for users who need to use the wheelchair for long hours

  • Wheelchair-commode allows dual use - user gets to propel the wheelchair, which comes with a commode cut-out, into the toilet; Elevating (Orthopaedic) wheelchair - its legrests can be raised to the horizontal level for use by wheelchair users on leg casts.

  • A stair climber, platform lift, chairlift and stairlift, when attached to a wheelchair, allows users to get up and down stairways with ease. Stair climbers come in various designs to suit a wide variety of user conditions and preferences of caregivers. Compared to stair lifts, chair lifts and platform lift which have to be permanently installed, require a fair bit of engineering work and are much more costly, stair climbers present as reasonable alternatives. 

Use of wheelchair accessories

  • Wheelchair seat cushions are important not just for comfort, but also for relieving pressure on the bottom and preventing pressure sores, especially for long-term wheelchair users. 

  • Wheelchair back cushions improve ergonomic seating posture and prevent slouching and back pain. Wheelchair washable seat pad. Wheelchair dining tray - serves as a convenient aid for meals, support and restraint.  Wheelchair belt - belts of various designs are useful tools to the user to be safely secured to the wheelchairs. Wheelchair headrest attachment

  • Other wheelchair supports provide additional support for various parts of the body of a wheelchair user : Wheelchair amputee stumps are attachments for the remaining limbs of amputee

  • Wheelchair leg abductor to improve positioning of lower limbs. Wheelchair lateral body support to correct slouching to the sides. Wheelchair extended armrrest pad better comfort of upper limbs. Wheelchair leg pads to provide support for leg calves. Wheelchair bag for shopping and convenient storage of belongings. Wheelchair anti-tipper - prevents the wheelchair tipping backward. Wheelchair transfer board, transfer belt, slide sheet, lifting belt.  Wheelchair sunshade.  Wheelchair car lock for steadying the wheelchair in a car