If you're looking for an incredibly versatile wheelchair that is light enough to lift into the boot of the car, yet with ample adjustment to get set-up 'just right', you've found it in the Karma 8520 transit lightweight wheelchair.
This product is widely used by Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists throughout New Zealand to assist a broad range of individuals. It's durability, adjustability, and overall functionality are all elements that its current endorsers would cite as reasons behind the popularity of this product.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to lift up under the centre of the wheelchair seat upholstery. To unfold the wheelchair, tilt slightly to one side, and then press down on one or both seat rails.
And remember to keep fingers and hands clear of any moving parts! If you don't, you'll only do it once. Ouch!
How do I know what size wheelchair is right for me?
Just like items of clothing such as shoes, it is important that the wheelchair fits the person who is using it well enough to ensure they are comfortable and that it's not likely to press on any part of their body, as this has the potential to create pressure areas.
To ensure the right fit, you need to be able to tell us the following:
The measurement from your bottom to your shoulder (taken when you are sitting).
The measurement from the back of your bottom to the back of your knee.
The measurement from behind the knee to your heel (when sitting).
The widest measurement of your backside when seated.
Telling us your weight also helps, as different wheelchairs have different user weight limits.
If you can't get all these measurements, there are a couple of simple things that you can do once you are in a wheelchair to make sure that it fits you okay:
Is there enough room to slide your hand down between the armrest and your thigh? If this is not possible, you need to try a larger size.
Are you able to put two fingers side by side behind your knee before hitting the seat upholstery? If not, then you need to get a wheelchair with a longer seat depth.
And the good news is that if you are working with a therapist to help select the right wheelchair for you, they will take all of the measurements that they need during your assessment, so you don't need to worry about this!
Why do you need to have leg rests that swing-away?
If the leg rests swing-away, the wheelchair user can get closer to an object that they are being transferred onto, like a bed or a chair. The swing-away leg rests also make it easier if a hoist or piece of equipment is used to help transfer the wheelchair user and gets them closer to the wheelchair which will make the transfer easier and safer.
Once I have my wheelchair, what maintenance does it need?
Most wheelchairs come with a basic instruction manual which outlines any specific regular maintenance that is required for that model.
In general, it is a good idea to check the following on a monthly basis:
If you have pneumatic tyres on your wheelchair, check that the air pressure in the tyres is correct – the correct pressure is indicated on the side of the tyre.
Check the axle housing is free from dirt, hair and mud. Clean any dirt or hair that has gathered around the axles – the wheels need to spin freely.
Check the castors run smoothly – make sure there is no hair, fluff or grit in the castors.
Check the brakes hold the tyre firmly in place and are easy to put on and off.
Check the nuts and bolts are all tight and secure.
Other words of advice when choosing a wheelchair. Try as many as you can – visit one of our Resellers who will hold several different models in stock so you can compare them there. Their staff are trained to assist people find the right size wheelchair for you that is within your price range.