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Making Wheelchair Safety A Top Priority

On the LifeCare Mobility Blog, we often discuss the importance of protecting the elderly from slipping and falling. As we’ve pointed out on numerous occasions, slips and falls are the top culprits for hospitalizations of Canadian seniors. Helping your elderly loved ones to maintain their balance requires a lot of steps. No pun intended. This is why we work so diligently to ensure that our mobility solutions are both of the highest quality and used correctly.

It’s our job to take care of the high quality part. However, it’s still important to practice safety when using mobility solutions. This is certainly true for wheelchair users. Wheelchair safety should be a top priority.

Be mindful of your physical capabilities.

In all fairness, everyone deserves to live with a sense of independence. Of course, this includes wheelchair users. While they may not always be able to walk around safely, they still are capable of completing day-to-day tasks while sitting in their wheelchairs. However, not all tasks are created equal. Actions that involve bending over, lifting or carrying heavy objects should be done with extreme caution and with a caregiver present.

As well, it’s important to gauge the terrain you’re using your wheelchair to travel over. “Before trying to traverse ramps, slopes, inclines or declines, find out what you are capable of by first practicing with someone,” advises Karman Healthcare, “Never try going up a steep slope alone. Prior to crossing a pathway, road or sidewalk, search for unequal surfaces, spills, holes or obstructions prior to going forward.”

Always use the brakes when in a stationary position.

Wheelchair users can quickly forget that their wheelchairs can move on their own. If a wheelchair is in an idle position or on a slippery or sloped surface, the wheelchair can begin to slide or roll. To prevent accidents, be sure to use the brakes whenever you’re not moving. On PCALIC.com, Heather Brown stresses this advice as a top wheelchair safety tip.

“The brakes are designed to keep you from moving around while you are trying to stay put,” she writes, “The brakes should also be put on when you are trying to go from the bed to the wheelchair safely or the chair the bed. If the breaks are not, on when you are trying to get into bed or out of bed, you could fall or the patient your helping could end up with an unnecessary injury, which could have been avoided.”

Take the appropriate precautions for travel.

There are various transportation services for wheelchair users. However, it is extremely important to ensure the safety of a person who is travelling in a vehicle while seated in his/her wheelchair. Karman Healthcare offers the following tip.

“If you stay in your wheelchair while traveling in a vehicle, make sure that it has a ‘transport safe’ tag,” they advise on their website, “A transport safe label assures that the wheelchair has gone through numerous crash tests and can resist a 30mph impact. While in transit, wheelchair users must use a tie-down system to fasten the wheelchair to the floor of the vehicle.”

Let us help to keep you safe! If you have any questions about the wheelchairs offered by LifeCare Mobility Solutions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 416-267-9800 or email us at info@lifecaremobility.ca. You may also contact us by filling out the form on our Contact page!

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