Wheelchair accessories can increase user comfort and well-being as well as improve the mobility aid’s maneuverability.
Ramps are available to make it easy to navigate a threshold or even a few steps so that getting in and out of your home is easier—some come with carry cases so that you can take them with you in a car and use them wherever needed. The Telescoping Wheelchair Ramps are 7” wide, 5’ long U-shaped tracks that easily extend for use with steps, the curb or a vehicle. Completely adjustable with a push-button lock mechanism, they’re made of strong, rust resistant aluminum construction with durable non-skid treads. If you need a ramp tailored to a doorway or a raised landing, the Rubber Threshold Ramp, made of 100% recycled tires, may be the answer. Use one alone or place two side by side if you have a wider entryway. Each ramp is 48” wide and 2-1/2” high; it can easily be trimmed to the width and height you need. Fully portable, you can use it indoors or outdoors.
Among the most helpful of all wheelchair accessories is the wheelchair tray, an easy-to-attach board that turns your mobility device into a desk or table. A number of sizes and surface materials are available. Most will fit standard, 16”-20” wide wheelchairs and extend just beyond the arms. Be sure to know the measurement of your chair before buying. The Mabis wheelchair tray is 23” wide by 19” deep and ¼” thick; it attaches easily with Velcro straps. Another option is the Sof-Top Removable Lap Tray that’s easy on sensitive arms and elbows. There’s also a model available for bariatric wheelchairs.
A great innovation is the Wheelchair Flip Tray that easily flips out of the way for easy exiting and provides a stable platform in the down position; you choose either the right or left orientation. The tray is made of hard, scratch resistant plastic and padded for comfort, plus there are two cup holders for a beverage and other small items.
Staying hydrated is important. Using a cup holder makes it more convenient to keep liquids nearby. The Universal cup holder attaches to any wheelchair, walker or rollator with tubing that has a diameter between 5/8” and 1”. Its clamp allows the cup holder to swivel to keep contents level.
There are different types of wheelchair belts available for different purposes. A transfer belt is an aid that helps the caregiver and the wheelchair user to make getting in and out of the wheelchair safer. The SafetySure Transfer Belt simplifies transfers from bed to wheelchair, wheelchair to toilet, wheelchair to car seat and more. It also works as an ambulatory belt, enabling the caregiver to more easily steady a walking patient thanks to numerous hand grips that provide a variety of leverage points and reduce strain on the caregiver’s back.
A positioning belt, like the Heelbo Chair Belt, helps prevent slumping and sliding forward while positioning the user.
A safety belt is usually an alarm device used for patients who tend to wander, alerting their caregiver that they’re trying to get up. The Patient Locator Alarm stays with wanderer to signal their location and has a tamper-resistant design, making it difficult for patients to disarm. The Sling Seat Wheelchair Alarm System is actually a pressure-sensor pad made from durable, reinforced vinyl that seals directly inside sling-seat wheelchairs.
An attachable wheelchair pouch or tote lets you keep important items within easy reach. Depending on your preference, there are pouches that attach to the side, the back or the underside of the wheelchair. The EZ Accessories Pouch holds everything from keys to an oxygen tank in a sturdy, lightweight mesh design made of durable nylon that attaches easily to inside area of a wheelchair. The ChairPack CarryON! Wheelchair Pouch is a backpack with a spacious main section with zippered closure, deep side pockets and outer mesh pockets. For comfort and convenient storage, the Fleece Armrest & Pouch attaches easily with a hook and loop fastener over a wheelchair arm and comes in blue denim with fleece-covered armrests.
Usually bought at the time you select your wheelchair, these parts may need to be replaced during the life of your mobility device, or you may decide that you want a different design. Wheelchair leg rests are footrests that elevate the lower leg; this can be helpful if you experience swelling, knee pain or limited range of motion in the knee. Swing-away designs make it easy to get in and out of the chair with attached leg rests. Keep in mind that leg rest models aren’t interchangeable. Be sure to shop according to the make and model of your specific wheelchair, including whether it’s a bariatric model. In terms of construction, aluminum products are often the most durable; they may be more expensive, but can be worth their price over time.
Items that make being in a wheelchair more comfortable include wheelchair hand gloves—look for half finger gloves with gel-padded leather palms used for protection with self-propelled wheelchairs—and a wheelchair lap blanket made of cozy fleece with convenient Velcro tabs keep the blanket from falling off chair and a tapered contour that keeps the blanket out of the wheels.