Caregivers have one of the hardest jobs. They work long hours several days a week taking care of people who cannot take care of themselves. One of the most difficult parts of their job may be one that many of us do not even think about: maneuvering a wheelchair. Misuse or improperly handling a wheelchair can cause serious accidents. Luckily, some of these accidents are easily avoidable when equipped with the proper knowledge and safety procedures. Here are a few tips to help you avoid these types of accidents.
- Ensure that you are keeping up with the maintenance on your wheelchair. You need to ensure that all your parts are in the best working order. Faulty parts, inadequate parts and recalled parts can cause your wheelchair to malfunction, which can lead to an accident.
- The brakes should always be in the locked position prior to getting in or out of the wheelchair. You do not want to risk the wheelchair moving while you are trying to reposition yourself. Also remember to turn off the power when you are getting in or out of a power wheelchair. Not only will you save yourself some battery power, but you do not want anyone accidentally hitting the lever and causing it to move.
- Never pull on a door or any other type of object while you are in a manual wheelchair. You do not want the door or the object to inadvertently release and throw you and the wheelchair backward. You could easily tip over and injure yourself.
- Always raise the footplates prior to getting in or out of the chair. Also, some wheelchairs feature removable arm and leg rest. If your wheelchair has these, you need to ensure that they are secured by raising the arms and moving the leg rest away from the chair. You should do this prior to each use to ensure an easy entrance or exit to your wheelchair, which can help reduce unnecessary accidents.
- Never put anything heavy in the back of the wheelchair even if there seems to be plenty of room for some extra storage. Heavy loads placed in the back of your wheelchair can cause the wheelchair to tip backward, which can lead to an accident.
- Never remove the anti-tip wheels or bars from your wheelchair. Also, you need to ensure that they are always in working order. They are there for a reason- to ensure your chair does not tip over.
- Never allow any children to play with your wheelchair. Your wheelchair is not a toy and needs to be treated and handled properly in order for it to remain in perfect working condition. Also, never let a child ride or sit on the footrests or battery cover. They will break if there is too much weight on them.
- Use the proper safety equipment if you happen to operate your wheelchair in or near the street. If you happen to use your wheelchair at night in the streets, you need to have headlights and flashing tail lights. If you use your wheelchair close to the streets at anytime of the day, you need to have the proper reflective gear and flags and wear bright colors to help vehicles see you.
- Never operate your wheelchair on steep inclines. It is unsafe to try to go up or down a steep incline. You could easily lose control of your wheelchair or tip the chair. It is an accident waiting to happen.
- Never use your wheelchair in the rain. Unfortunately, wheelchairs are not waterproof. They can rust, and the wheels will not grip properly when the ground is wet. Also, if you have a power wheelchair, you do not want to get the controls or battery wet. You want to keep your wheelchair in the best shape to avoid any accidents, which means you will have to avoid wet weather.
When you are operating a wheelchair you need to be careful and stay alert at all times. There are numerous dangers that can cause you to have an accident, but as long as you stay diligent, you can avoid most of these accidents. Hopefully, the tips above will help put your mind at ease and make you feel just a little bit safer when you use your wheelchair.
Information shared by Mobi Medical Supply