Improve Your Mobility with Wheelchair Ramps and Accessories

Improve Your Mobility with Wheelchair Ramps and Accessories

There are a huge range of wheelchair accessories now on the market which all enhance greater independence for a variety of reasons. These accessories allow the user to travel alone if need be, access their belongings with greater ease and autonomy while generally increasing their everyday comfort.

Wheelchair ramps are essential for improving access to premises or transport and are available in a wide variety of sizes/weights depending on the user’s requirements. They are cleverly designed, making them easy to set up. When not in use, they fold down neatly to fit in small spaces, so they are easy to store and transport.

Wheelchair accessories that improve comfort

There is a whole range of equipment available which make using a wheelchair more comfortable and convenient. Here we’ll run down some of the most popular.

Gloves

Gloves are an essential item for any wheelchair user as they provide either warmth, protection or both. Leather gloves are flexible, hard-wearing and non-slip, giving the user dexterity and comfort whilst manoeuvering their chair. The gloves in Essential Aids’ range include fingerless ones so that the user doesn’t have to take the items on and off if out shopping. Other products such as mufflers can be preheated, giving the hands extra warmth and comfort in cold weather.

Cup holders

These are perfect for hot and cold drinks and can be attached easily and securely to a wheelchair, providing the user with refreshment even if they have minimal movement. The cup holders can accommodate glasses and bottles of different sizes, even champagne flutes if need be!

Wheelchair tables

Tables can be attached to a wheelchair and are incredibly useful, allowing the user a convenient and easy-to-reach place for food, craft, reading or internet browsing. These can fold away when not in use and are hygienic, long-lasting and easy to maintain and clean. A table accessory also means that the wheelchair user does not have to strain forwards and change their seating position or posture in any way.

Bag and holdalls

Bags and holdalls for wheelchairs come in a range of sizes, styles and colours. They can be fitted either on the side (pannier style), underneath or behind the wheelchair, depending on preference.

They’re all made of robust, waterproof material, often with handy inner pockets for smaller items such as mobile phones or keys. The bags can also be roomy enough to carry a decent amount of shopping.

Security is also an important feature and most bag holders are designed with this in mind, so will close securely. Fastenings are user-friendly and simple, which is particularly helpful for those users with dexterity issues or a weak grip. There is also a simple net bag, which is practical because it can be stored in a pocket when not in use.

Many Essential Aids wheelchair bags feature reflective strips, making them more visible in the dark.

Cane and walking stick holders

Many wheelchair users also require a stick, cane or crutch to assist their mobility when not in a wheelchair. Having a convenient and sturdy place to transport these items is crucial, especially as sticks and crutches are often taken out and put back in their holders regularly.

The holders themselves are made from reinforced plastic and are easy to fit so that, if need be, the user can reach them readily before leaving the wheelchair. They attach easily with the aid of a screwdriver, making them simple to install but very effective.

Wheelchair umbrella

With our unpredictable weather in the UK, an umbrella holder or Wheelybrella is always a welcome and useful addition to a wheelchair user. This accessory clips on firmly and has a wide circumference. The holder is made of a rust-proof material, with a flexible section which allows you to change the angle of the umbrella, which is immensely helpful if the breeze is blowing the rain in a particular direction! The fantastic wheelybrella can also double up as a parasol shade on hot days, so they are handy whatever the weather!

Wheelchair cushions

Spending any length of time in the same position can be uncomfortable. Our fantastic range of wheelchair cushions use the latest materials to allow the wheelchair user greater comfort whilst being breathable and hygenic.

We have an extensive range of cushions which come in a variety of sizes and fabrics such as: canvas, fleece, leatherette and velour. We even have a cushion with dual fabric; fleece on top and vinyl on the underside. Some of the cushions are filled with foam, which provides wonderful support while providing excellent pressure relief.

Others have weight-distributing gel-filled pockets, while others are inflatable.

The wheelchair user can also select the width, thickness and shape of the cushion, depending on individual needs and preference. Some cushions even extend up the back and sides of the wheelchair - providing an all-round body protection.

Wheelchair covers

An essential addition for any wheelchair user is a cover. This can either be used for weather-proofing the wheelchair if it is vacant whether unfolded or folded, or for keeping the wheelchair user warm and dry when out and about.

When the wheelchair is not in use, wheelchair covers will protect the item from the elements. These handy covers fit easily and securely over the wheelchair and can be folded down to fit in a small bag when not in use. We have a great selection of waterproof covers for the user to wear while in the wheelchair.

These wheelchair accessories come in a poncho or ‘cape’ style which allows the users to put on (or take off) the item easily and quickly - important when mobility is limited and when the weather is changeable.

Some covers are light-weight, making them perfect for the warmer months of the year, while others are lined with fleece for a cosy, winter outing.

If you prefer, a shawl or jacket is a good upper-body option. Similarly the leg-warmer covers provide protection for the lower body. There’s even a waterproof single sleeve, allowing protection for the wheelchair user’s clothes in case dirt from maneuvering the wheel manually rubs off on the arm of a wheelchair user’s clothes.

Wheelchair oxygen bag

This bag sits securely and discreetly behind the wheelchair user. It’s made from a lightweight, durable, waterproof material and is specifically designed for wheelchair users who require an oxygen tank. There is also a handy front pocket which is ideal for storing face masks and tubing.

Wheelchair belts/straps

A belt or strap are welcome wheelchair accessories that provide extra security when the user is traversing bumpy pavements, kerbs or footpaths. The straps are made from strong, durable nylon and have easy-to-open buckles and are designed to fit universal wheelchairs and their users.

They allow the wheelchair user an enhanced sense of safety and additional comfort can be achieved by using a fleece strap cover. This will protect the wheelchair user against the chances of the strap rubbing, which will further ensure the user’s enjoyment of the wheelchair.

Electric wheelchair panel covers

These waterproof covers are cleverly designed with a see-through panel on top, so the wheelchair user can see their controls at all times. The panel is easily fitted by placing it over the control panel and zipping it up.

These are compatible for both left and right handed wheelchair users and provide peace of mind for the electric wheelchair user because this item will prevent the controls from getting wet.

Wheelchair ramps

Wheelchair ramps provide all-important access in and out of buildings and vehicles. They come in a huge variety of sizes and materials. Some don’t fold at all, others extend telescopically, others fold lengthwise or widthwise whilst others are tri-fold.

The folding ramps are specifically designed to be portable, whereas the non-folding ramps are usually purchased with a fixed location in mind, (the threshold of a door for instance) and will come in a range of heights. All wheelchair ramps are made from robust, weatherproof materials, whether it be aluminium, fibreglass or rubber. Regardless of which particular design and material is used, all ramps are strong, safe and long lasting.

Aluminium has become the most popular, due to its weight, non-corrosive nature and rigidity.

The ramps have easy grip material, ensuring that, once in place, they will adhere to the floor surface, while gripping the wheelchair wheel, so that smooth transit is possible with no chance of slipping. The telescopic ‘channel’ ramps are two reinforced strips which extend to the user’s required length.

Telescopic models tend to have two separate components, one for the right wheel and one for the left. This makes them easy to handle when you want to transport or store them.

They have raised tips on their edges to ensure wheels cannot roll off the sides. The wheelchair ramp strips are also lined with non-slip material to enable secure movement, even up a steep incline. It is also important to consider the weight limit when ordering any ramp, as this can vary between different models.

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Sally Madeley-Carr, OT

Sally Madeley-Carr, OT

Sally qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1996 and is a well-respected professional in the field of rehabilitation equipment and living aids. She has worked in private practice and within the NHS, developing a broad experience with adults and children. Click here for Sally's registration with the Health and Care Professions Council. The HCPC regulates health, physchological and social work professionals in the UK.

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