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Wheelchair for kerbs

KatB79 Member Posts: 14 Listener
I'm new here and I've got a problem.

We bought a wheelchair last year when it became clear that I wasn't getting outside without one. She's been a great little chair but is a £60 job from Ebay and I'm now thinking of the next step. A more permanent upgrade.

I'm hoping for PIP to come through soon.

We don't have a car so hubs has to push me everywhere unless we get a taxi or bus. I haven't tried the train in my chair yet. One thing that's a constant concern when we are out is that the front wheels hit anything higher than 1" like a shopping trolley!

Is the a better option for kerbs? My current chair is a self propelled which I like because although I get too tired to push myself, I can turn myself if I need to. It makes me feel like I still have some control.

However, if another kind of chair would do drop kerbs better then I'm open to switching.

We actually had the front wheel thingy bend already, when it got caught in a deep gutter and nearly ended up flat on my face in the road. Hubs wasn't paying attention but he's new at this too. So I get a bit anxious when we are out. We had to replace both front wheels and I didn't go out for a while!

Is this a cheap chair issue that will be better when we upgrade or do we need a different type?

Haven't looked at electric due to the weight of it and my brain fog/fatigue means I prob shouldn't be driving 👀

Sorry for long post x


  • KatB79
    KatB79 Member Posts: 14 Listener
    Any advice greatly appreciated x
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Posts: 6,620

    Scope community team

    Hi @KatB79 :) Sorry you haven't had an answer for your query yet. 

    I'm not a wheelchair user, and so I'm not 100% sure on a recommendation. Have you tried visiting a wheelchair retailer to see if they can give you a recommendation on the kind of chair you should be looking for? 

    I've also marked your post as unanswered to flag to other members that your question hasn't been answered yet.
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  • littleacorn
    littleacorn Member Posts: 242 Pioneering
    Most power chairs will only go up a kerb 4cm in height which really isn't much. Unless you pay lots of money for an all terain version which is very expensive.  Approach a reputable wheelchair provider who will give you advice with no pressure to buy. Infact visit more than one and gather lots of information before buying a new chair. They are usually quite expensive though but if you can gat PIP then you will have more choice and use this money to pay for it.
  • Daniel_2021
    Daniel_2021 Member Posts: 56 Courageous
    I'm a new wheelchair user, I can only share my experience so i'm not sure if this is the same as where you live.
    Your GP or occupational therapist can refer you to your local wheelchair service. At the appointment they assess your need primarily do you need a wheelchair (this will be supported by your GP referral) and what your needs are. You've mentioned kerbs which oddly enough is an aim I have.
    So for me i've had a beginners chair which was a steel frame so very heavy to lift but easy to control, I then had an intermediate chair which is an aluminum frame so much lighter, smaller casters (front wheels) and easier to control but still doesn't allow you to climb a kerb. I was measured today for my bespoke one which will weigh 8kg and after some training allow my up certain kerbs, it takes about 6 months of training to get to the point according to the advice I was given.
    The above is provided by the NHS and is an amazing service. No obviously different areas will operate differently, the first hurdle you may have is does your GP or other health care professional agree that their is a health requirement that meets the requirement for a wheelchair. Secondly, based on your condition is your aim achievable. They have many amazing adaptions that blew me away so these may be needed.
    I know the above is vague but I can only say what i've been through. You can go down the previous advice of buying one which is quicker but obviously there's a cost to buying and maintenance.
    Drop kerbs are your friend when people don't park over them, one more bit of advice, you'd think you need to approach it as some speed..don't as you'll fall out. Approach it, stop, and push off nice and slow.
    I hope that helps.

    P.s if you have a belt always wear it
  • KatB79
    KatB79 Member Posts: 14 Listener
    Thank you both! Yes I should be able to get a referral no issue there, just again not knowing what to ask for. I'll see if my long covid clinic will do is as they've just sorted out my disability facilities grant thingy.

    Thank you x
  • littleacorn
    littleacorn Member Posts: 242 Pioneering
    I agree with the above. However I think there is nothing wrong with persuing both avenues at the same time. If you get yor PIP some places let you hire chairs and if you do manage to get an NHS chair then you can always hand your hired chair back and use your PIP for other things. I do know that there are long waiting lists for wheelchair services so hiring one might be a quicker option in the short term.
  • KatB79
    KatB79 Member Posts: 14 Listener
    I think I'll go the hire route if that's quicker as I really need to be able to get out more. Then NHS are free to help other people.

    Shame about the kerbs though. Have emailed the council today to ask them to look at that locally. Some of these drop kerbs are really high and the traffic is fast, I really hate being in the road trying to navigate a kerb.

    If I focus on getting a chair that makes me feel mote independent, I think that will be better
  • littleacorn
    littleacorn Member Posts: 242 Pioneering
    I wish it was explained by the councils across the country that those who dig up the road or pavement that they must replace it with dropped kerbs. Surely this is one way to introduce dropped kerbs everywhere.
  • Indigo_Scope
    Indigo_Scope Member, Scope Impact and Evaluation Posts: 2 Listener
    Hiya, just adding my thoughts as a relatively recent wheelchair user too!

    I ended up going down the privately funded (via a crowd funder) route when I realised the NHS wheelchair service was not going to be able to meet my needs as someone who has a fluctuating health condition, and therefore doesn't meet their strict requirements - the requirements are often different within each local NHS trust so its worth having a google. I have opted for a very light-weight active user wheelchair, specially built for me, and recommended via a good wheelchair provider who gave me a 2 hour assessment/consultation with no pressure to buy. For the last year I have been managing with a basic manual chair, which like you, I needed someone to push me in most of the time. With a lightweight chair you can easily pop a wheelie which allows you to get over a curb, and small 'anti-tip' stabiliser wheels can be attached behind the large rear wheels so you can practice this without a danger of falling backwards. I'd recommend trying out a chair like this in a mobility shop, as it is very different to a standard manual chair in terms of independence. However, if energy to self-propel is an issue there are also good electric chairs or battery add-ons to manual chairs you can choose from. 

    I'll link here a video that was really useful for me when I was first practicing doing wheelies to get up curbs, but other videos on youtube are also a great resource :--)

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