What are the Advantages of a Custom‐built Wheelchair?

Mar 29, 2020

Anonymous asks, quote:

How big of a difference is there from a standard chair without modifications vs a chair custom‐built for you? It costs almost double for the latter, and I’m wondering if it makes that much of a difference.

end quote.

It’s like the difference between a night retainer you buy at the store vs one that your dentist molded specifically for your teeth: it might effectively meet your needs, but it’s not going to be very comfortable and won’t help you if you have a specific issue with your teeth that needs to be addressed.

The same idea applies to wheelchairs. A standard, hospital‐issue wheelchair is not so much about mobility as it is about transport. Hospital chairs are meant to make it easy for a healthcare professional to move a non‐abulatory patient safely from one place to another. It’s not really designed with the user’s comfort or autonomy in mind. They also aren’t meant for long‐term use; they lack the kind of back, hip, and posture support a lot of wheelchair users require.

Wheelchairs are incredibly personal mobility devices. If not configured properly, at best, they end up being uncofortable and hard to use; at worst, they can do a lot of damage. If you plan on sitting in your chair for long periods of time, or traveling long distances with it, a custom chair chair will make your life a lot easier.

I highly recommend getting a custom fit chair. It will be more comfortable, lighter, easier to use, and last a lot longer than one that is mass produced. I know it’s expensive, really. My chair cost me $5,000 dollars. But, it fits me like a glove and allows me to live a full and independent life.