Mobility is important for everyone. Heavy duty wheelchairs are available for plus sizes, as dictated by body shape, and for those that are obese. We call these chairs bariatric.  Bariatric means relating to or specializing in the treatment of obesity. Bariatric wheelchairs tend to be built with stronger components, have stronger fabric liners, and are built to last longer. They are deeper and wider than traditional wheelchairs. Most accommodate weights up to 400lbs. but there are those that support 500lbs-700lbs. The Paramount XD Heavy Duty Wheelchair has a weight capacity of 650lbs.     

The robust steel structural features can not only support the user’s independence, but also enable them the opportunity to make empowered decisions as well as independent functioning. If the individual can, we encourage them to get a wheelchair that has a supporting hand wheel frame so they can propel themselves. When it comes to purchasing or renting a wheelchair, how do you ensure that the heavy-duty wheelchair is suitable to meet your needs?

Consider Your Wheelchair Use

Standard wheelchair weight limits tend to be 300lbs. So, make sure you know your weight prior to shopping. Bariatric wheelchairs are heavier than traditional wheelchairs so moving, turning and stopping all require greater strength. You have to think about your level of strength; do you have the required strength, power and range of movement in your upper limbs to self-proper or do you need a care giver to operate the heavy duty wheelchair? If one lacks the strength to move themselves, we recommend a scooter or power chair. Both are available for plus and bariatric sizes.

What are you going to be using your wheelchair for? Where will you be going? Bariatric wheelchairs tend to be heavier than usual wheelchairs; something to keep in mind when thinking about transporting the chair.

Looking into the Environment

Before sourcing a heavy-duty wheelchair, it is critically important to consider whether the wheelchair is for home/office use or outdoors. Many times bariatric and larger wheelchairs are too wide for standard interior doors and modifications need to be made. If you’re headed to the great outdoors, you’ll need firm ground. Gravel bed roads, loose dirt and sand could be very difficult to traverse.

We also carry an outstanding bariatric wheelchair called the Everest & Jennings Traveler. The Traveler is wider and deeper and supports 500lbs. It will have a smaller turning circle than the Paramount.

About the Heavy-Duty Wheelchair

Whatever you’re considering, comfort is very important. Make sure pressure points are cared for; that the seating and back are comfortable. You should be able to move around freely. At Affordable Medical Equipment we ensure the heavy duty wheelchair you choose is well cushioned with appropriate pressure relief and that the cushion fits the wheelchair perfectly.

Overall, it is the combined weight of the heavy duty wheelchair and user that is important. Consider whether this combined weight is manageable for either self or attendant propulsion.

The next most significant thing is the wheel type of the wheelchair. Solid or PU (Polyurethane) tires are often considered the most suitable as they are made from rubber or plastic that cannot be easily punctured or deflated.

Lastly, as with all mobility or healthcare equipment it is important to seek advice from a registered healthcare professional. We are happy to assist in answering questions and helping to identify solutions to your specific needs. For more details, please don’t hesitate to call us @ 803-926-1493 or plan a store visit at 1538 Sunset Blvd., West Columbia, SC  29206.