Choosing the right wheelchair for you!

Areas of interest

Limbs 4 Life community members often contact us seeking information about wheelchairs and how to know which chair will be 'right' for them. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published a set of guidelines explaining the stages of Select, Fit, Train and Follow Up. You can download and read the WHO Wheelchair Provision Guide here. We’ve included some information which might be helpful.

Wheelchairs provide mobility, postural support and freedom to those who cannot walk or have difficulty walking, enabling them to move around, participate in everyday activities and live life on their own terms.

As one of the most commonly used assistive products, wheelchairs are a vital asset, enabling access to places and activities that would otherwise be inaccessible. For older people, who make up a growing group of users, wheelchairs can enable continued participation in everyday activities, maintaining an active lifestyle, and living with dignity. Mobility and movement are essential for human health and well-being. For people who rely on wheelchairs for mobility, an appropriate wheelchair is a primary need, necessary to ensure physical and mental health and development, function, participation and inclusion. Having access to a suitable wheelchair is a human right, recognised by the right to personal mobility enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

WHO defines a wheelchair as appropriate when it:

  • meets the user's needs and environmental conditions;
  • provides proper fit and postural support;
  • is safe and durable
  • can be obtained, maintained and serviced

Four wheelchair service steps

Test and trial

When you are choosing a wheelchair and/or any assistive technology device, it’s important that you try before you buy. Make sure the features of the chair are what you need.

  1. Do I need a chair to be lightweight so that it can be lifted in and out of a vehicle?
  2. What kind of seating/cushion do I need and what are the options available to me?
  3. Do I need a chair that is rigid or will fold up for transportation purposes?
  4. What will best meet my needs, a manual or power wheelchair?

For more tips on selecting the right Wheelchair for you, download a copy of our 'Handy Tips for Wheelchair Users' here or contact us and we will send you a copy.

Reference: Wheelchair provision guidelines. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2023. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.