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Learning how to use a wheelchair

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Wheezy
Wheezy Community member Posts: 18 Connected
Hi all,

I am getting an NHS wheelchair and with a background in healthcare, I have pushed many a wheelchair, but never been the one sitting in it.

I actually have my eye on a different chair, the G-explorer. Now that I run my own business, I need to get around on grass and gravel when attending craft fairs and markets to sell my products.

I'm hoping that a wheelchair will be similar to how a car comes to feel, like an extension of you. You know how it will move, how steep a hill you can manage etc. 

Are there any hints or tips (or a good YouTube video) to watch to find out how to actually use one? 

Thank you all so much for your support and advice, it means a great deal x 

Comments

  • Wheezy
    Wheezy Community member Posts: 18 Connected
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    Any tips or advice would be amazing!
  • Ross_Alumni
    Ross_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,650 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hello there @Wheezy

    Thanks for making this post, I hope you are well today. 

    I'm not a wheelchair user myself, so I can't offer any personal experience in this regard, although I imagine that your analogy about the car will be fairly accurate. 

    I think it will be important to be patient with yourself, it might take some time to get used to using it in the best way that works for you, so I'd encourage you to take your time with it and to make yourself feel as comfortable as possible in using it.

    A quick search on YouTube brings up countless videos containing tips on using a wheelchair, but I wouldn't want to share one specifically with you because I'm not sure what a good video would be. 

    I noticed that you have another thread themed on a similar subject, and I think it might be worth posting your comment from here into there, in case others who commented there haven't had chance to see this thread.
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  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community member Posts: 16,177 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2022
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    Hi @wheezy - I'm not a wheelchair user, but came across the Freewheel that another member had mentioned, here's a review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s93zz6jE4lI  
    Also in trying to help another member, I found a couple of really good videos on wheelchair use (as Ross says it can be difficult to find good videos, but these I'm happy to share). Please see the following discussion & scroll down to see them:
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi there 

    It's all trial and error just start simple and progress 

    If a manual chair they don't cope that well on grass or gravel and will be hard to self propel though not impossible depends on the chair and your strength 

    An electric chair would cope better you can buy batteries to fit some chairs for ease of transport a folding electric chair is better than mobility scooter 

    Just keep trying different ways of using the chair bit would have someone with you when trying new places in case you get stuck . If you can stand and move a little you can usually get up and correct the chair if it's stuck 
  • Alex_Alumni
    Alex_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,561 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hello @Wheezy thanks for reaching out with your query. These days I'm mostly an electric wheelchair user, but to start I was manual. 

    I never had the strength to tip up and push the front wheels onto curbs or steps, but I could do basic forward movement and turning.

    Like with anything, be kind to yourself, and give yourself time to get used to something new. I found I sort of naturally knew how to turn the chair, moving one arm back, one forward.

    You do also get used to managing doors and doorways, and the pattern of movement you need. It's often for better to have no one standing in the doorway itself to hold the door open, or you'll end up running over their toes because there isn't enough room. I often decline help when I know I can manage a door, though it is a tad easier to avoid squeezing or trapping fingers in an electric chair now!

    Do say if anything I've said doesn't make sense, but I hope my experiences are helpful for you :)

    Alex 
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  • Wheezy
    Wheezy Community member Posts: 18 Connected
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    Thank you all for your replies! It seems like there isn't a defined way to do things, but more of a sense of try it out and see, which I am totally OK with!

    I'm having a look at all the videos suggested, and also looking into those which give you things NOT to try!

    It's a learning curve! 
  • Ross_Alumni
    Ross_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,650 Disability Gamechanger
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    You'll have to let us know how you get on @Wheezy, I'm glad that the replies from members have been helpful.
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  • Danielle_2022
    Danielle_2022 Community member Posts: 266 Pioneering
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    Hi @Wheezy,
    I'm speaking from experience as an electric wheelchair user, which is still different every time I get a new one! I think it will absolutely become an extension of you, with time. I kind of look at mine as being a part of my body, if that makes any sense at all. But it's important to take it slowly, these things don't happen overnight and I'm honestly still working on accepting my limitations etc. Start with short journeys and routes you know. Every day in the beginning, if you can. Just to adjust and allow yourself to recognise how much energy you'll need to go over different terrains. & don't forget to use gloves! It'll be a process but thankfully, we're here to support you. Keep us updated :)
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