Learning how to use a wheelchair properly is an important part of the rehabilitation process after a serious injury in that helps to give a certain measure of independence and freedom. To an outsider it looks easy – just sit in it and wheel it – right?
Wrong – how do you negotiate kerbs and pot holes? How do you open doors on your own? How do you open doors? What is the correct pushing technique to prevent long-term shoulder damage? All these skills are important to master at the beginning to ensure your independence and capability to perform tasks like going to the local shop are not compromised.
Learning wheelchair skills
Although some skills can be taught by an non-wheelchair user such as a physiotherapist or occupational therapist, the best way to learn is from someone who uses a wheelchair themselves. A few years ago, we were fortunate to meet Stuart Wheeler, when he helped our able-bodied staff prepare for a 6 hour challenge to celebrate 30 years of The Back Up Trust.
As part of this challenge, we had to travel from our offices in Widnes to Liverpool City centre in a wheelchair, using only pubic transport and you can see how we coped thanks to Stuart’s expert training in the video below.