A wheelchair is kind of like a pair of shoes for a growing child. When the child first gets the chair, it should fit to their body just like a glove would to a hand. There will be a little growing room, like with shoes, but room that they will soon grow out of.
A wheelchair has many different areas and parts that need to be adjusted. The head/neck rest and support, the back support, side support, cushion width and length, and foot plates are a few of the areas on the chair that will constantly need to be evaluated for adjustments to accommodate a child’s growth.
My daughter has a degenerative muscle weakness, so her chair needs to be evaluated a little more often than just for growth. Her neck muscles become weaker so her headrest and neck support must constantly be adjusted. Her physical therapist will have a look at her in her chair for adjustments at least every 4 months. She also has scoliosis, so her orthopedic surgeon will also have a look every 4 months, to give his input on her chair posture.
It has gotten now to where I can spot changes that need to be made and make many of them at home. Most chairs come with tool kits and hers has extra pieces to make width adjustments to the seat. I can sometimes do a little tweaking with sewing straps or adding more comfort with extra padding.
I make sure all the nuts and bolts are tight as they can become loose just with wear and tear. If I need additional help, I can make a quick call to our mobility provider to set up a time for them to do adjustments or order new parts for her chair.
Regardless of what kind of chair, it needs to have regular adjustments.
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Medical supplies are a funny thing. Some items we get with ease and they start to pile up. Others seem near impossible to get our hands on. Here are some tips to help make sure that your child has the supplies they need.