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We'd love to help you with your next wheelchair. For us, the easiest starting place for guidance is to review the specs of the wheelchair you are using now. If this is going to be your first chair, then we will ask you to review your requirements, and your measurements with a physical therapist, or a trusted companion. If you're using a chair already, then lets start with that and build from there.
We'll need the serial number for your current chair. It is typically affixed to the underside of your frame. If you're using a rigid chair, it may be on the cross under-seat tubing. If a folder, then look at the cross bars, or on the frame near the origination of the cross members. We will reach out to the manufacturer of the chair and request the full specification worksheet. This will tell us what parts and accessories were on the chair when it was originally manufactured. It will also tell us the important frame geometry info. If some frame geometry is adjustable on your chair we will ask you to confirm the measures as they may have been adjusted from where they were when the wheelchair left the factory.
Seat width is an easy starting point. How's this chair fit you, is it ok, or do you need it narrower, or wider? The chair width should be a comfortable fit. Remember, the look of your fit is as important as the feel. Very few of us where the same size jeans as we did in when we were younger...be honest, let's get this right.
Is a tapered seat something you'd like? Sometimes it makes sense to narrow the front of the seat, both for aesthetics and feel. Not all manufacturers offer this feature, so it could be a guiding factor. A consideration in making this choice is that your seat cushion may need to be custom cut to fit the seat, this will be an ongoing marginal expense. If it i a minimal taper a standard sized cushion will fit ok.
Front and rear seat heights are an important consideration. We'll discuss where you're at now and ask you if you'd like to adjust that. A couple of things to think about in terms of front seat height are your ability to get your knees under tables, and transfer height.
Rear seat height will determine the amount of "dump" in the seating. Generally a person with a higher spinal cord injury will feel more balanced with a deeper dump, from 2-4 inches of difference between front and rear seat heights. A lower spinal cord injured person, or someone with good core strength might feel better with between 0 and 2" of dump.
This is a customized length to suit your body. Please confirm your seat depth measure and check it for fit and feel. When you slide all the way back into your seat you should be able to slide at least two fingers between the back of your knees and the front of your seat cushion.
Wheelchair backs can be rigid for a stiffer feel, or folding to afford more portability. The height of the back can be customized to your taste. Please measure the height your at now, lets use that as a starting point for our discussion.
In most cases there will be a bit of adjustment available here, but to start, please take an accurate measure from the back of your knee to your heel.
For nearly all wheelchairs this measurement is adjustable, but there is nothing better than to get this right the first time. We'll ask you to confirm the center of gravity position of your rear wheels on your current chair. That will give us a good idea of where we'll want to be on the new chair. Some factors will play into this placement, such as the weight, front angle of the frame, and dump of the seating in your new chair compared to these specs on your current chair.