“I want the cheapest wheelchair.” This is probably the most common sentence that is asked by customers when they step into a pharmacy. The reason that they say this is because their family member probably seldom uses a wheelchair or they think that they only need it short term. They might just not be willing to spend money on something that they deem non-essential.
How do you measure the price of a wheelchair?
Some people may think that the more features a wheelchair has the higher the price. However, the more features a wheelchair has does not necessarily mean it is better. Instead of choosing a wheelchair with the most features, user’s families should choose a wheelchair based on the needs of the user. If families purchase a wheelchair because of the price, that doesn’t fit the user’s body or doesn’t come with a warranty then they will end up spending more time, energy, and money in the future.
We’ve listed the top 5 functions to help families purchasing a wheelchair to understand what they need:
1. Basic Functions – short-distance travel
A wheelchair with the most basic functions is often a steel chair with four wheels. These types of wheelchairs are typically found in hospitals. Often the seat upholstery has little support, a heavy frame, and low comfort. It is made with the intention for short-term use, and not recommended to be used long term.
2. Lightweight Frame – easy to carry and navigate
Aluminium wheelchairs are significantly lighter than steel and therefore easier to carry. Aluminium wheelchairs are suitable for users who can walk but can’t walk far.Read more about the different categories of wheelchair user’s
The functions listed below often determine the price of a wheelchair:
- Foldable Backrest: Wheelchairs can be heavy so if you can’t put it in the trunk of your car then it is very inconvenient to take it out. A folding backrest is an extremely simple function, with the touch of a button, the backrest can reduce the wheelchair height by about 25 cm, which is convenient for both storage and going out.
- Lightweight Frame: A lightweight wheelchair will be easier to carry and the price will be more expensive.
- Comfort: Wheelchair manufacturers have started to design their own seat structure (for example S-curved cushion). A more comfortable and well thought out seat design is likely to cost more however if the user has to sit for a long time, this is a good investment.
- Safety: Wheelchairs that have been meticulously Crash Test Approved, will be priced higher. It adds to the value of the wheelchair as well as peace of mind for the user.
3. Transferring in and out of the wheelchair
The features of a wheelchair that make transferring in and out of it easier are going to add to the final price. Aluminium wheelchairs can have the added option to have armrests and footrests that are detachable or flip up. These make it easier to move closer to a bed, making getting in and out of the wheelchair safer. It is suitable for patients who cannot walk but can sit steadily in a wheelchair and need may need help getting on and off the wheelchair.
Transferring in and out of the wheelchair is made easier with detachable and swing-away armrests and footrests. Source: KARMA Medical YouTube – S-Ergo 125
4. Reclining Wheelchair – changes the user’s posture to relieve pressure
The reclining function allows the user to lie down and rest in the wheelchair. This positioning change function is suitable for users who can’t walk, can’t sit steadily, and have a weak upper body. Positioning wheelchairs are commonly referred to as high-back wheelchairs that can be divided into three groups; Tilt-in-Space, Reclining, and Reclining + Tilt-in-Space in which the two functions are combined. For additional functions, the price will increase.
High-back wheelchairs are suitable for users with weak upper body support. Source: KARMA Medical YouTube – MVP502 Reclining Wheelchair
A positioning wheelchair will change the user’s position to relieve pressure. Source: KARMA Medical YouTube – VIP515 Tilting Wheelchair
5. Reclining and Tilting Wheelchair
This wheelchair is the ultimate wheelchair because it can be reclined and tilted. This wheelchair is suitable for all disabled and elderly users who need to use a wheelchair for long periods of time. The price of the 2-in-1 wheelchair is higher because of the unique structure to reduce the chance of secondary injuries.
A combination of the reclining and tilting function will give the user ultimate comfort. Source: KARMA Medical YouTube – VIP 2
We’re here to help
Evaluating the needs of each wheelchair user requires professional knowledge. Finding a physical or occupational therapist to carry out a wheelchair evaluation, if available, is the best option. Professionals will be able to recommend a wheelchair most suitable for the user that could benefit them in the future, not just now. KARMA Malaysia is always here to assist, talk to a KARMA representative today!
Call us: 03-5612 1921 / 010 – 238 1921
Email us: [email protected]
Choose a wheelchair that fits the user, and not the price!