Wheelchairs had been around for decades, serving people who have physical disabilities, helping them to move around and go to other places. But these users still have to know a few useful tips with regard to using the wheelchairs to their full potential.
Pete Donnelly has been on his wheelchairs since the age of 19. He had a motorbike accident that broke his back causing him to be unable to stand and walk on his own feet. For many years, Donnelly lived his life on wheelchair which enabled him to discover several tricks and other useful tips in using it.
Donnelly, with his experience and expertise in using the wheelchair is now working at a charitable organization known as Back Up. He is a wheelchair skills adviser who, together with Back Up, aims to help and assist people who have spinal cord injuries and are physical disabled.
Donnelly has been volunteering for Back Up for five years now, teaching people using wheelchairs including those who are over 50’s, young people, teens, under 13’s and even their relatives and loved ones on how to use the device effectively and efficiently. According to him, he does not just teach wheelchair skills for some tricks but to help the us ers do what they need to do in order to get back to the life they wanted to live.
This dedicated wheelchair expert volunteer demonstrates to other users how to use the device and to make the most out of it. Here are few useful tips he shared:
- The proper pushing technique when using the wheelchair – according to Donnelly, people are not born with huge upper extremities for pushing wheelchairs that is why it is important to know and understand how to properly push the wheelchair. He said that it should start with proper posture. The users should sit upright, as upright as they can be. Then after which, they should take a nice, firm grip on the push rims behind the hips. The users must arch their shoulders slightly forward and then have a good firm push along the push rims and end it with a flick. After doing that, the users should lower their hands into a circle and then grab the push rims into the same position and do the same push again. Donnelly also gives a reminder about pushing. He said that the users should allow their shoulders to drop after pushing the push rims, because if they would keep gripping those rims and dragging them back and forth they are working twice as hard as they are required to do.
- The skill of pushing backwards – Donnelly teaches this skill because there are times that pushing forward is no longer a viable option. He said that when wheelchair users will use this skill, it is extremely important that they must always look and check what is going on behind them. They should be careful not to hit anything when pushing backwards because it might cause injury or accident to the users.
Using the wheelchair is not always easy. But those who have been on these chairs for quite some time, it is efficient that they should know how to use it properly.