Rising healthcare costs can lead to limitations on services, including shorter hospital and rehabilitation stays. Unfortunately, the allotted length of an individual’s stay in a healthcare facility may not allow enough time to learn important wheelchair skills. In addition, as we age or our equipment changes, we may need to refresh our skills, or even learn new ones to remain independent. And because lacking wheelchair skills can lead to unforeseen secondary conditions or isolation because we cannot negotiate the environment, it is imperative to maintain a high level of competency.
Symbius Medical, in partnership with Banner Wheelchair Suns Basketball, Banner Health Arizona, and AZ Spinal Cord Injury Association, recently presented a series of workshops designed to help those in wheelchairs hone existing, or develop new wheelchair skills. It’s important to periodically assess your own level of skill in the following areas, and improve as necessary:
Transferring from chair to furniture or bed, from chair to floor or from floor to chair, and bathroom transfers. Transfers require strength and foresight, as well as attention to detail. Making a transfer when you’re tired, in a steamy bathroom or in an unfamiliar place, for example, all have the potential for mishaps. Take stock of your surroundings before you find yourself in a dicey situation!
Managing Your Environment comes in the form of opening and closing doors, operating elevators, performing wheelies, and negotiating curbs, ramps, and other types of terrain. It’s easy to navigate our own homes and work environments, but how do you manage going somewhere new? Take your time in a new environment and, when possible, ask questions prior to arriving on site to mitigate possible frustration.
Traveling with your chair requires thinking about the logistics not only of transfers, but also of your experience in the terminal and on the plane, as well as other aspects of travel. Once again, learn as much as possible in advance to avoid potential delays and frustration.
The mechanics of your chair may not be something you think about regularly, but making adjustments to and general maintenance of your wheelchair will help you be more comfortable, and make your chair last longer. For basic maintenance and adjustments, refer to the user’s guide or owner’s manual. Additionally, check in with your Symbius rep if you have questions not covered in those materials.
At Symbius Medical, we believe the right thing for you is the right thing for us. Contact us today to learn more about our services and resources.