Choosing a wheelchair is difficult after a spinal cord injury
A lot of the decisions that you will have to make when you have a spinal cord injury will be difficult. One decision that might not seem like a big deal to other people, but is very important for a person who has a debilitating spinal cord injury, is choosing a wheelchair.
Since a wheelchair is likely going to be a necessity and where you spend a lot of your time after your accident, you need to make sure that it is comfortable and meets your needs. There are several things that you need to take a look at when you are going through the possible options. Here are a few considerations to get you started:
Your budget is a big concern. In some cases, your insurance might cover all or part of the cost of getting a wheelchair. There might be restrictions and limitations to what you are able to get if you rely on government-based insurance or a restrictive policy. It is important that you think carefully about what you can actually afford to spend right now on a wheelchair. You don't want to suffer in other ways just because you are trying to get a nicer wheelchair. It might be possible to save up for the model that you ultimately want.
Manual or power
One of the biggest decisions you must make in these cases is whether you want a power wheelchair or a manual one. For people with higher spinal cord injuries, a manual wheelchair might be limiting because they may be reliant on others to move the wheelchair. For this reason, people without full arm function may benefit more from a power wheelchair. Additionally, it takes a lot of arm and upper body strength to move and maneuver a manual wheelchair. Therefore, only people who are physically strong or who will have someone to push them around should consider this option.
The upkeep costs are another important factor. The batteries and other costs of keeping a power wheelchair are going to be higher than a manual chair. If you are on a limited budget, you might need to consider this when you are deciding on which type of chair is best for you. Even if you can come up with the money to purchase a power wheelchair, you might find that you can't keep it moving if you are on a limited income.