Wheelchair accessories provide a host of everyday benefits, either by making day-to-day life more easy, increasing your mobility and independence, or improving your level of comfort.
Choosing the right accessories for you depends on your individual needs as well as the type of wheelchair you use, although many accessories are available for both manual and powered wheelchairs, as well as scooters.
What should you keep in mind when choosing wheelchair accessories?
A large proportion of wheelchair accessories are intended to improve mobility and provide increased autonomy and independence.
It’s really important that any wheelchair accessories you choose are compatible with your wheelchair and your lifestyle, for example, if you practise sport or recreational activities it is important that accessories don’t hinder the practice of these. You also have to keep in mind whether your chair is going to be used outdoors, indoors or both as well as if you use a cane or crutches in addition to your wheelchair.
Choosing the right wheelchair accessories can improve your mobility and comfort and make your wheelchair more able to deal with your daily routine (e.g. going to work, university, or the gym) as well as getting the most out of special occasions (e.g. trips, vacations, excursions or get-togethers with friends). Many wheelchair accessories are so lightweight and easy to fit that you can easily install and remove them depending on your plans.
Types of wheelchair accessories
There is a wide range of wheelchair accessories, including:
Choosing the right cushion to suit your requirements and your required seating position is vital. There are many types of cushion available on the market but we would generally recommend a pressure-relief cushion. The JAY wheelchair cushions provide postural stability and an optimal distribution of pressure, keeping in mind the individual clinical requirements of each user.
These serve to hold and transport objects such as glasses, bottles, crutches and canes. Tables can also be fitted. Generally, all these accessories are easy to install and don’t require special tools. However, before deciding on a support ensure that its dimensions are suitable for the objects you want to place on or in it.
These allow the user to reach the brake more easily if the standard handle is too short.
An effective backrest must help to maintain an upright, stable, and ergonomic posture. There is a wide selection available, including backrests made of materials such as carbon, which offer the same resistance as aluminium but is much lighter. At Sunrise Medical we recommend our line of JAY wheelchair backs, to help you achieve the best posture.
Something to consider to protect you against inclement weather!
These are supports placed on the footrests of manual chairs to provide the ability to carry a small bag.
Off-road front wheel
An additional front wheel for manual wheelchairs that eases the propulsion on sand, grass, mud, pavements or paving slabs.
These are similar to those found on bicycles. They increase visibility in dark places and at night. Normally the LED lights come in packs of two (white for the front and red for the back) and generally with different positions (fixed and blinking).
These are assistive devices for electric wheelchairs that facilitate climbing kerbs.
Rear view mirror
Ideal for those with a limited range of motion who are unable to look behind, a rear view mirror can make easy work of reversing in your wheelchair.
Anchors for transport in vehicles
Anchor the chair with full security to the floor of public transport or adapted taxis, in a way that the user can travel seated in their own chair. Remember the wheelchair must be crash tested in line with ISO 7176-19.
There are specialised gloves reinforced in strategic points and specially designed for wheelchair users. Some are more suitable for practising sports and others for more day to day situations, such as keeping warm in the winter months!
These are some of the more common wheelchair accessories. We hope that this list can help you choose those accessories that best fit your needs and if you need something a bit more bespoke, why not consider one of our Built-4-Me adaptations?