Many of our manual wheelchair clients describe their wheelchair as an extension of their body. Since they are spending 8-18 hours a day in the wheelchair, it is crucial to ensure that it is configured to optimize performance and comfort. GCM only employs ATP (Assistive Technology Professional) certified evaluators to ensure that they have the seating and positioning training and equipment knowledge to help you choose the right manual wheelchair, the first time.
There are 3 main types of manual wheelchair to choose from: Rigid, Folding and Tilt-in-Space.
Rigid wheelchairs are more efficient for a client that self-propels and are thus typically suitable for more active users. Non-rigid (i.e. folding) chairs lose much of the energy from a wheel push to flexing and are often heavier and consequently harder to propel as a result of moveable parts and heavier components. Since the rigid chair has fewer movable parts, most of the energy from the wheel push is transformed into forward motion. Usually a rigid wheelchair will be easier to push than a folding wheelchair.
Folding wheelchairs are typically easier to transport than any other wheelchair. Almost any vehicle can transport a folding wheelchair. By removing the wheels and leg rests, and folding the wheelchair, it can be made very compact. Folding wheelchairs normally come with back cane push handles to allow a companion to push or assist in pushing the client.
Tilt-in-Space Wheelchairs are designed to enable more complex clients to be properly seated. Correct seating encourages proper positioning and pressure relief. Tilt-in-Space chairs are not typically foldable, creating issues with transportation. Most clients who require positioning and pressure relief cannot typically self-propel. Consequently, the majority of Tilt-in-Space wheelchairs are not able to be self-propelled or have not been engineered to maximize that potential.