3. Practical advice and tips for carers > Equipment


4) Manual wheelchairs

Manual wheelchairs are available from the NHS free of charge for stroke patients who need them. The hospital staff should refer for wheelchairs while the person is still an in patient if it is likely that they will require a wheelchair at home.

If you are at home and need a wheelchair, contact your GP who should be able to make the referral for you.

Most people will require either a self propelling wheelchair if they have arm movement or an attendant propelled wheelchair if they are unable to push themselves.

Self propelling wheelchair and attendant propelled wheelchair

Photos are provided with permission from NRS Healthcare: https://www.nrshealthcare.co.uk

Wheelchairs should be supplied with at least a standard cushion. If the person has a problem with pressure areas on the skin or is going to be using their wheelchair for long periods during the day as their main means of transport they should be assessed for a specialist pressure prevention cushion.

If the person is very large or very small in body size they should be assessed by staff from a mobility centre. If they also have another medical condition which may affect their use of the wheelchair such as spasms or spinal problems they will require specialist assessment. A variety of wheelchair adaptations are also available if the person needs them.

Some wheelchairs weigh less than others which may make it easier for you as the carer to lift into the back of a car. However when you are pushing the person in the wheelchair this can be hard work as you will have to push  their weight and the weight of the wheelchair. Going outdoors on uneven surfaces, up and down kerbs on the pavements and obstacles such as street furniture- lamp posts, post boxes, benches etc all make the job of pushing the person in their wheelchair very difficult.  For some carers it may be possible to attach a small electric motor to a manual wheelchair to ease the difficulty in pushing the wheelchair.

Manual wheelchairs are also available to hire from the British Red Cross on short term loan for a fee.

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