Tips for Wheelchair Users: How to Prevent and Recover from a Fall

preventing falls

Much like our inventory of wheelchair vans sale, wheelchairs are used to get a person from one place to another. And while mobility may be their main purpose, they are designed with safety in mind. Ergonomic designs and high quality wheels and tires allow users to propel themselves in a safe and effective manner. Regardless of the wheelchair design or how careful the wheelchair user or their caregiver may be, accidents can still happen. And with accident, can come injury.

For wheelchair users the most frequent injuries occur in the shoulders, arms, elbows, forearms and wrists. It is important for wheelchair users to do what they can to prevent these injuries, as they can hinder wheelchair users being able to use their wheelchair independently. In this post, we will look at the most common ways wheelchair users fall, how to prevent wheelchair users from falling and also how to recover from a fall, should an accident take place.

So, How Do Wheelchair Users Fall?

These injuries often occur during transfers, rolling back or repositioning. Often, but not always, these injuries are related to the wheelchair itself. During a transfer, a wheelchair could tip, roll backwards, or a wheelchair user could become fatigued and not be able to complete the transfer safely. When repositioning, a wheelchair user could slip or place themselves in a position that could cause their wheelchair to tip. Any combination of these could cause a wheelchair user to unintentionally fall.

Ways to Prevent a Fall

While falls are not always unavoidable for wheelchair users, there are many ways to prevent the likelihood that a fall will occur. Here are just a few simple ways wheelchair users can prevent a fall:

  • Strength Training.
    Exercise is important for anyone. But, it may be even more important for wheelchair users in preventing a fall. Strength training programs help to increase muscle and core strength, which in turn helps with transferring and keeping a wheelchair user from feeling fatigue during a transfer. In addition to strength training, balance training is also important. This is because proper balance will help keep a user steady and ease the amount of strength required when transferring or repositioning. Physical Therapists can provide wheelchair users with exercises that will help improve their balance.
  • Utilize Safety Devices.
    There are many wheelchair safety devices available on the market that can help prevent falls. Some of these include cushion alarms, anti-rollback devices, anti-tippers and speed restrictors. Cushion alarms will go off if a wheelchair user has shifted out of position. This is helpful for a caregiver, as they can help the wheelchair user to readjust prior to a fall occurring. Anti-rollback devices can be engaged by a wheelchair user prior to transferring to keep the wheelchair in a stationary position. This ensures that the wheelchair will not roll backwards during the transfer and cause the user to fall. Anti-tippers are similar in that they keep the wheelchair from tipping forwards or backwards during a transfer. Speed restrictors function for this exact purpose, to restrict the amount a wheelchair can speed up while propelling. This keeps the wheelchair from moving quicker than a wheelchair user can control.
  • Improve Safety at Home.
    Improving safety at home for wheelchair users can be as simple as keeping a tidy home, to eliminate any potential hazards that may get in the way of a wheelchair. It could also include modifications like adding grab bars in the bathroom, either next to the toilet or in the shower, or using contrasting colors throughout your home to make stairs and walls easier to see. These modifications will help wheelchair users to stay safer within their own home, and is also helpful for them within the homes of others.

How to Recover from a Fall

Should an accident take place, how a wheelchair user addressed and recovers from that fall is incredibly important. Our team recommends the following:

  • Seek Medical Attention.
    Even if you do not think that you have injured yourself during a fall, it is important to see medical professionals. This includes not only your primary doctor, but also vision and hearing specialists. Each of these medical professionals will be able to determine if there are any underlying injuries that you may not be aware of and help you get the treatment that you need.
  • Get Support from Friends and Family.
    This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is easy to overlook the need to ask for help. Support from family and friends or even additional support from a caregiver after a fall is incredibly important. Their support can make recovery easier for a few reasons. The first is that they can help to ease the burden of recovery and make daily tasks a little bit easier. They can also lift your spirits and provide the emotional support you may need during a difficult transition.

Take Wheelchair Safety into your Hands

Are you ready to take wheelchair safety into your own hands? Wheelchair vans are not only a tool for convenience and independence, but they can also help wheelchair users to stay safer during their travels. At Rollx Vans, our new and used wheelchair vans sale have a variety of safety options from securement devices to transfer seats and even to vehicle operating devices like hand controls. Contact one of our experienced sales professionals to learn more and even get started on the journey to owning your own wheelchair van.

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