Sometimes, it may happen that due to an injury or a need for a family member we are forced to rent or buy a wheelchair. Those who have experience in this regard, unfortunately know very well that these are necessities that when they happen suddenly you never know how to behave.
In this short guide I want to explain you how to choose a wheelchair correctly, taking into account some factors that could make a difference on the quality of life of the patient who will use it. At the end of this article I will also explain how to request a wheelchair to your local ASL, so that you can save money and time!
Consider the circumstances
The market really offers many models of wheelchairs, and even if their characteristics have many, it is not easy to untangle the various offers. To choose a wheelchair correctly, you must first consider your circumstances. In the event that the wheelchair will be used for a limited period of time (for example due to an accident that prevents normal walking), it will be possible to rent it at a health and orthopedic items, while it will be used for a particularly long period will be better to buy it or request one from the local ASL.
Identify the most suitable type
You can choose between two main models of wheelchairs: the model with wheels for self-propulsion and the transit model. As the name implies, one wheelchair with self-propelled it is ideal for those patients who would be able to move independently by pushing through the handrails installed on the rear wheels of the wheelchair. This feature returns to the patient freedom of movement, making it independent of the healthcare staff, or people like family and friends who, however, can always help him in the movements by using the appropriate rear handles.
Instead, with one transit wheelchair, the patient can only move with the help of a second person, as the wheels are smaller and without a handrail. This feature makes the wheelchair for transit 8-10 cm narrower than the self-propelled model, so it is a great choice for those looking for a handy help for not very spacious environments. The transit wheelchair is therefore suitable for very elderly patients or those with particular mobility difficulties, who need a second person to move.
If you need to get yourself a wheelchair, an important feature to consider is the choice of the measure of the sitting. In fact, the chairs of the wheelchairs are not all the same and are differentiated by their own width. A seat that is too small would make the aid very uncomfortable or even unusable, on the contrary an excessively large seat would prove uncomfortable. Then, How to choose a wheelchair size?
The seats of the adult models have a width that can go from the 38 cm to the 50 cm and beyond the models for obese patients. To find the right session, the width of the patient's hips should be measured when sitting, or alternatively it will be sufficient to inform the shopkeeper of his height and weight. Most wheelchairs (including models intended for hire), for operate safely can carry patients with a maximum weight comoreso between the 110 kg and the 120 kg. For heavier patients you can rely on bariatric models, which offer maximum capacities of 200 kg and seats with width of 60 cm.
Know the features and accessories
In addition, it may be useful to know that a wheelchair can be enriched with various accessories that in some cases may prove indispensable as they are necessary to perform various daily actions.
For example, if you are forced to a wheelchair because of a cast leg, or if you wear a brace, we will have to necessarily provide a a footrest platformthat will allow us to use the wheelchair keeping the leg extended.
Or, if the patient has more difficulty moving, we may require a wheelchair equipped with lifting armrests, so you can move the patient by sliding it sideways, without making it rise completely.
You may also need to load the wheelchair in your car, or make sure that this does not occupy too much space at home when not in use. In this case, remember to ask for one folding model and especially equipped with a light frame, so as to facilitate the operations during the movements. If you do not know how to close a wheelchair, ask the shopkeeper to show you how.
If the wheelchair is to be used for a long time, the use of anti-decubitus cushions and protections, which, as the name implies, prevents those painful skin sores that arise with sitting or lying down for a long time.
Evaluate the rental of a wheelchair
If the need is to have a wheelchair for a short time, you can consider hiring it. The rental it can indeed offer many advantages:
- renting a pram costs much less than buying it
- by renting it, you can be sure that the rented aid is of quality
- once the need is finished, the wheelchair will return and will not clutter anymore
In addition, a serious shopkeeper will not ask you for additional accessories and will deliver it to your home.
Consider purchasing a wheelchair
Buying a wheelchair is a wise choice if you have to use it for a long time. If you want to buy the wheelchair privately, you can do it by contacting a health and orthopedic shop, or by evaluating an online purchase, where there are many offers of wheelchairs. I also recommend that you always rely on a competent dealer, it is important both to help you choose the right model, both in case of future assistance. Also, if you can benefit from the 104 / 92 law, I remind you that the orthopedic and health aids they can all be purchased with reduced VAT at 4%, so why not take advantage of it and ask the shopkeeper for information? Buy the wheelchair and benefit from the reduced VAT of 4% it's very simple. It is sufficient to have at the time of purchase a copy of the report issued by your ASL where reference is made to law 104/92 and a document of the beneficiary. The shopkeeper will do the rest for you!
ASL: how to get a wheelchair
Now I will explain to you quickly and clearly how get a pram for free through its own ASL, thus benefiting from the National Health Service. This is usually possible only if the patient is handicapped or in the presence of major diseases. The certifying body, which establishes the degree of disability of the patient is INPS.
To obtain a wheelchair for the disabled in agreement with the ASL, you must first contact your family doctor or the specialist doctor you are treating (such as an orthopedist or your neurologist). The doctor will take care of transcribing the wheelchair model needed by the patient on the classic red recipe, using the code shown in the national tariff nomenclature. In fact, all the aids in convection with the ASL only identified with codes, called ISO codes, which can refer both to the aids, and to the respective accessories.
Once in possession of the recipe, we can therefore turn to a orthopedic shop in agreement with the ASL. In fact, it is thanks to this agreement that the shopkeeper will be able to provide you with the aid at no cost on your part and in a for free.
The shopkeeper will transcribe the data in your recipe on one quote which, once presented to the ASL, will ascertain the real needs of the patient and validate the quote, giving the go-ahead to the shopkeeper to finally provide you with the wheelchair.
Unfortunately, not all ASLs are the same and the time to close administrative practice can vary from city to city. If the request is presented to ASL who find themselves handling many requests (see for example Rome), they can also take from 15 to 30 days, during which if you need a wheelchair you can still rent it.