Wheelchairs are great for those who need assistance with mobility. Not only does it allow individuals with disabilities to feel a sense of independence, but it also allows them to interact with others. Wheelchairs are also beneficial for caregivers in terms of getting disabled individuals to where they need to go easily.
Because caregivers work with individuals who require wheelchairs, they must know and understand how to safely manage them. This is because it’s up to the caregiver to ensure the safety and well-being of the disabled individual. Here, Liberty Resources Home Choices discusses the top wheelchair safety tips for caregivers of disabled individuals.
Check Wheelchair Brakes and Wheels
Brakes are crucial when it comes to making sure that wheelchairs stay in place when you need them to. You may need to use the brakes if a disabled individual wants to stay in one spot without moving. Brakes are also essential when transferring disabled individuals from one location to another. For example, they would be used if a caregiver needs to transfer a person from the bed to their chair.
However, over time, wheelchair brakes can become worn and begin to fail. If they are not working efficiently, this can cause issues and potentially lead to serious injury. It’s important to inspect and regularly check wheelchair brakes to avoid putting anyone in a dangerous situation. If the chair appears to move even while the brakes are on, this can indicate they are failing to work. Be sure to replace the brakes as soon as possible.
In addition, it can be beneficial to check the wheelchair’s wheels. Make sure they are well-lubricated and not flat or loose. Try to oil the wheels at least once a month to ensure they roll smoothly.
Ensure the Person Is Comfortable During Transfers
Transferring disabled individuals from their chairs to another location is an essential part of the job of a caregiver. To ensure senior mobility and comfort, there are many steps to keep in mind before completing a transfer. For starters, you should check that all the wheelchair’s leg pedals are out of the way. This ensures the patient does not slip or hit them. In addition, you should make sure the wheelchair brakes are engaged to avoid any unnecessary wheelchair movement, which helps to keep it stable during the transfer. Caregivers should also make sure their patient is well-supported during transfers. This means providing ample support for their head.
Listen to the Individual
Wheelchairs can become uncomfortable for some. This is because the act of sitting for long periods can potentially cause extreme discomfort and pain. If a disabled individual expresses discomfort while sitting in a wheelchair, it’s important to listen and evaluate what the problem could be. In some cases, you may simply need to remind them how to properly sit in the chair to reduce discomfort. This can include going over strategies and exercises on how to use the seat cushion and back support correctly. In other cases, there may be an issue with the wheelchair or seat cushion. If the seat cushion shifts or moves, this can make riding or sitting in the chair uncomfortable.
Additionally, listening and understanding the disabled individual allows them to trust you more, meaning they’ll be more likely to confide in you when something is wrong. This allows caretakers to fix the problem quicker, which ensures the wheelchair-bound individual is always comfortable.
Check the Battery System
Some individuals may have a battery-powered wheelchair, which allows them to travel to where they need to go easily and efficiently. However, this type of wheelchair runs much differently from traditional wheelchairs, meaning you’ll have to check certain parts that you may not have to with other wheelchairs. For example, caregivers will need to consistently check the battery system on the wheelchair.
The battery system is the part of the wheelchair that allows it to move with the push of a button, along with other handy features for disabled individuals. However, when the battery system becomes damaged, this can cause serious and potentially dangerous issues with the wheelchair. Battery systems can easily become damaged by rainfall or just by placing heavy items onto them. This makes regularly checking the battery system an important step in wheelchair safety. In addition, you’ll want to make sure the wheelchair stays dry and out of inclement weather and that the battery system is free from clutter or heavy items.
Clean the Chair Frequently
Like any other tool, wheelchairs can easily become dirty and grimy. This is especially true since individuals who require a wheelchair use them daily and frequently. This allows dirt to build up excessively over time, which can potentially spread germs and make the individual sick. Making sure to regularly clean all parts of the wheelchair can avoid spreading germs and illnesses to a senior or disabled person. Cleaning is an especially important step if the disabled individual has an open wound or an underlying disease that leaves them more susceptible to catching illnesses. When cleaning, make sure to get all parts of the wheelchair, including the wheels, seat, and arms.
Wheelchair Care and Support at Liberty Resources Home Choices
If you or a loved one need a wheelchair but aren’t sure where to find wheelchair and lifestyle support, look no further than Liberty Resources Home Choices. We aim to be a trusted and reliable source for families in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding areas. Our staff is made up of individuals who truly understand the needs of those with disabilities at any age. To learn more about wheelchair safety and maintenance, contact us today.