The difference between self-propelled and caregiver-propelled wheelchairs

Although there are many different types of wheelchair available on today’s market, manual wheelchairs are by far the most common. Manual wheelchairs require no power supply in order to move and are essentially the most basic form of wheelchair available, powered solely by either the user or by a caregiver.

Manual wheelchairs provide the best solution for many people with mobility issues – from those with lower limb disabilities, loss of limbs and muscular issues.

There are manual wheelchairs on the market that suit any condition, but where some chairs are beneficial to some, they may not be suitable to others. Two main categories for manual wheelchairs are: self-propelled and caregiver-propelled wheelchairs.

But what is the difference between the two?

Self-propelled wheelchairs

These types of chairs are propelled forward by the person sat in the chair using their upper limbs and body strength.

To move the chair forward the rear wheels of the chair have to be large enough to be reached easily when sitting in the seat and they need to have an ergonomic rim fitted to the outside of the wheel in which to grip.

The rim is usually made from aluminium or carbon fibre and can have a more comfortable cover to protect the hands.

Without this grip rail there is a risk of the user trapping their fingers within the spokes of the wheels, which could result in serious injury.

Caregiver propelled

The second option for manual wheelchairs are those propelled by a caregiver. These are noticeable mostly by their smaller wheels, which are unreachable when sat in the seat. These types of chairs have no way of being propelled by the user so will require a caregiver to be on hand whenever it is in use.

These types of chairs are most often found on certain locations where a caregiver will always be on hand. These are mostly found in healthcare buildings and public places and are mostly used in case of an emergency.

When shopping for wheelchairs it is important to consider all your requirements closely to prevent investing in a chair that doesn’t suit all of your needs.