Buying Advice

Scooters Buying Guides

Information and advice on purchasing scooters from Gallagher Mobility Aids.


Wheelchair Buying Guides

It doesn't have to be difficult when you are faced with choosing a wheelchair. Here we have noted the basic features of a wheelchair as a guide to choosing the right wheelchair for your needs. Some wheelchairs such as sports or ultra light wheelchairs may have different measurements and specifications.

Wheelchair types

You will find two main types of manual wheelchairs in todays market:

  1. Standard Wheelchairs
    This type of wheelchair is user propelled (Self Propelled wheelchair) but can also be pushed by someone else (Transit wheelchair). They also can be bought with various wheelchair accessories such as attendant brakes.

  2. Transport Wheelchairs
    A wheelchair that is pushed by a third party - the wheelchair can not be moved by the wheelchair user as all four wheels are small casters.

Wheelchair Weight

When choosing a wheelchair the weight of the wheelchair itself has to be considered. While a lightweight wheelchair is beneficial for wheelchair users that need no attendance or support from others you need to consider the type of terrain they will be used in, not just the best solution for the user.

If the wheelchair user is out and about a lot, then in some cases a heavier wheelchair may be a better choice. A lightweight wheelchair is easier to maneuver, carry and easier to pick up for stowing away in a car boot.

Wheelchair Seating Capacity

When choosing a wheelchair the weight of the wheelchair user plays a major role. Depending on the users weight specific wheelchairs can be bought, a standard wheelchair can carry up to approximately 18 stone (135Kg). If the wheelchair user needs a stronger or heavy duty wheelchair then a Bariatric wheelchair may be the best solution, bariatric wheelchairs can carry up to 70 stone (440Kg) and more.

The weight of the user should be considered over a period of time as it is worth considering buying a wheelchair that is ready for heavier weights in the future.

Wheelchair Seat Size

The standard wheelchair cushion has a width of 18inches, but you can buy other sizes. The depth or thickness of a standard cushion varies from 5 to 6cm. If you need a thicker or thinner base then custom wheelchair cushions can be bought.

To establish what size wheelchair cushion you will need carry out the following; sit on a tape measure and measure the size from hip to hip, add a couple of centimeters on the overral size and you have your seat width. The added measurement is for comfort when moving, or getting in and out of the wheelchair.

Wheelchair Seat Height

The seat height can be determind by measuring the wheelchair user whilst sitting straight, the knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle. The measurement itself is taken from the heel to the bend in the knee. Preferably when taking measurements the user should sit on a flat solid surface, this ensures that all measurements are correct and not influenced.

After you have the basic measurement the depth of the seat cushion needs be added to the height and then a couple of centimetres for comfort and foot clearance.

Wheelchair Arm Rests

There are 4 main types of wheelchair arm rests:

  1. Fixed or Permanent
    These can not be removed from the wheelchair at all, they are a permanent fixture

  2. Adjustable
    The height can be adjusted to individual wheelchair users

  3. Removable
    As the name says, the armrest can be fully removed from the wheelchair frame

  4. Flip Back
    The flip back arm rests are similar to the removeable type, they can be moved out of the way when not in use or when the user wishes to sit down or get out of the wheelchair

Custom arm rests are also available, combining indivdual features provides the best solution. Arm rests also come in two different lengths:

  1. Full
    Normal length - a standard wheelchair has these type of armrests fitted

  2. Desk
    The desk type armrests allow the wheelchair to be positioned closer to tables or desks

Wheelchair Foot Leg Rests

Wheelchair legrests allow the wheelchair user to lift their legs and position them. Footrests are normally height adjustable to provide proper leg support.Leg rests can be bought as 'swing away' and detachable, either letting the user move them out of the way when getting in or out of the wheelchair or removing them completely.

Both footrests and legrests are manufactured for both types of wheelchairs, either the lightweight version in aluminium or the heavy duty or standard version in steel.


Riser / Recliner Armchair Buying Guides

Useful Information: Choosing the right chair

The following points should be considered when choosing a chair, preferably in conjunction with the advice of an Occupational Therapist or other qualified professional.

1. User weight - check the weight of each person who is likely to be using the chair. The maximum user weight of our standard chairs is 19 stone

2. Type of "Mechanism" required - rise & recline, recline only, rise only, vertical lift, tilt-in-space, manual recliner or static chair.

3. The number of motors required - 1, 2 or 3

4. Measurements - you need to have the correct measurements of your chosen chair to give you the maximum comfort and benefit and don’t forget the overall size of the chair in relation to your room. The critical measurements are as follows:

  • Seat to floor height
  • Seat depth
  • Seat width
  • Back height
  • Arm to seat height

5. Style - you will need to consider the most suitable style of chair which will include:

  • Back design - 5 designs to choose from
  • Arm style - choose from – slim, wide, round, flat, wood knuckles, full length, fall back and flat saddle arm on The Cambridge which can be replaced.
  • Pressure Care - foam type to seat, footboard & armrests, Gel pad to seat & footboard, Seat cut-out to enable a pressure relief cushion to be used for transferring in and out of the chair – removable or swingaway arms

6. Choice of fabric - take into account any incontinence issues and when using pressure relief foam and or a Gel pad this will require a multi-way stretch fabric such as Panvelle Stretch.

7. Safety - Anti-entrapment system when there are concerns about small children and pets.

When castors are required consider having braked castors on the rear to stop the chair moving when the user is getting in or out of the chair.

A Battery Back-up System if your home is at risk of having power cuts.

Firstly, check the weight of each person who is likely to use the chair. Our standard maximum user weight is 19 stone / 120kg.

Measurement How to measure
Seat to floor (14" to 22")   9 choices The correct seat height can be calculated by measuring the distance from the floor to the crease at the back of the knees. When seated, the hips and knees should be at right angles whilst the person’s feet are flat on the floor (remember to wear usual footwear).
Seat Depth (17" to 22")   6 choices To calculate the correct seat depth, measure the distance from the back of the hips, along the thighs to approximately 1½” behind the back of the knees. When seated you should be able to place two fingers between the edge of the seat and the back of the knee.
Seat Width The correct seat width should be the width of the person’s hips plus a clenched fist on either side (approximately 3").
Back Height (27" to 33")   7 choices Our standard back height is 30".
 

Useful Information: How mechanisms work

All our rise & recline chairs are operated from a handset and by pressing the appropriate button the user can find their most comfortable position for either sitting or exiting the chair. Please also read the very important Do's and Don'ts at the bottom of this page. Thank you.

1 motor 2 way

When moving into recline the back and the footboard operate together. From a seated position the chair will rise to enable the user to walk out from and sit back into the chair. The chair should be situated at least 18" from any wall or other object.

1 motor 3 way

When moving into recline the footboard rises to a horizontal “TV" position followed by the back reclining. From a seated position the chair will rise to enable the user to walk out from and sit back into the chair. The chair should be situated at least 18" from any wall or other object.

1 motor Tilt-in-Space 2 way

Tilt-in-Space holds the user in a fixed position when in recline with the angle of the hip and the back remaining constant. This action will not allow the user to recline in a flat position therefore not restricting the airways or the swallowing action. From a seated position the chair will rise to enable the user to walk out from and sit back into the chair. The chair should be situated at least 18" from any wall or other object.

1 motor Wallhugger

The footboard rises to a horizontal "TV" position and when the back reclines the seat moves forward enabling the chair to be positioned approximately 6" from a wall. From a seated position the chair will rise to enable the user to walk out from and sit back into the chair. The chair should be situated no less than 6" from any wall or other object.

In all our 1 motor chairs the single motor is used to operate all functions.

 

2 motor

The back and footboard operate independently of each other with the benefit of being able to achieve optimum comfort in a seated or reclined position. From a seated position the chair will rise to enable the user to walk out from and sit back into the chair. The chair should be situated at least 18" from any wall or other object.

2 motor 4th position

The back and footboard operate independently and when the footboard reaches its maximum height and without any changes to the back angle, the chair will go into tilt-in-space. This 4th position not only fixes the hip and back angle when in recline it also raises the legs higher than the level of the heart. This is the Trendelenburg position. From a seated position the chair will rise to enable the user to walk out from and sit back into the chair. When in recline the footboard has a 6" longer throw and when in a seated position the footboard has a 4" longer throw when raised. The chair should be situated at least 18" from any wall or other object.

In all our 2 motor chairs 1 motor is used to operate the back and the other motor is used to operate the footboard and the rise function.

 

3 motor Trio Max and Trio Extra Max

3 motor Bariatric Range

All our 3 motor chairs offer independent operation of the back and footboard with the benefit of being able to achieve optimum comfort in a seated or reclined position. From a seated position the chair will rise to enable the user to walk out from and sit back into the chair. The chair should be situated at least 18" from any wall or other object.

In all our 3 motor chairs each motor is used for a separate function. 1 motor is for the back, 1 motor for the rise and 1 motor for the footboard.

 

Manual Recliners:

Push/Pull versions

To recline the Push/Pull manual recliner the user, while seated in the chair, should push forward on both arms and the footboard will rise to a horizontal “TV" position and by leaning on the back the chair will fully recline. With the user taking their weight off the back the back will rise and by pushing on the footboard the chair will return to a seated position. The chair should be situated at least 18" from any wall or other object.

Manual handle models

To recline the Manual Handle recliner the user, while seated in the chair should pull the handle back slightly to release the footboard mechanism which will rise to a horizontal “TV" position and by leaning back the chair will fully recline. By taking the weight off the back the back will rise and by pushing on the footboard the chair will return to the seated position. At this point the handle should be pushed forward to lock the back and footboard in place. The chair should be situated at least 18" from any wall or other object.

 

And finally...

Do's

1. Ensure that the chair back is locked in place and securely attached to the chair seat.

2. Ensure that the chair is placed at least 18" from a wall or other object, (6" for the Wallhugger models) to ensure the back is not obstructed when reclining.

3. Ensure that the occupant is seated or lying in the correct position.

4. Ensure that the occupant's weight does not exceed the maximum user weight for their choice of chair.

Don'ts

1. Don't sit, stand or kneel on the footboard, or allow children and/or pets to sit, stand, kneel or lie on the footboard.

2. Don't allow more than one person to sit on a chair or part of the chair at the same time.

3. Don't manoeuvre or pull/push a chair with the occupant in place.

4. Don't manoeuvre or pull/push a chair by pulling on the back.

5. Don't move an electrically operated chair without firstly disconnecting the plug from the electric power supply.

6. Don't allow the occupant to move up the back of a chair when the chair is reclined to avoid the chair tipping backwards.

7. Don't allow children or pets to crawl under the chair.

8. Don't allow children to use the controls of a chair while unattended by an adult who knows how to operate the chair.

 Please DO NOT apply extra weight to the footboard of your chair by using it as a footstep into or out of the chair; or allow children or pets to use it as a seat. The footrest is not designed to take a heavy weight and will break if done so. It could also mean that any damage done in such a way would not be covered under warranty if chair is still under warranty.

 

Infection control

For Infection Control - Panvelle™ and Panvelle Stretch™

Panvelle™ - The market leader in waterproof contract upholstery fabrics, now recognised by the Queen’s Award for Innovation. The only choice for extreme upholstery requirements: unrivalled technical performance and a vast choice of designs and colours.

Features of Panvelle™

  • Flame-retardant to international contract standards.
  • Highly durable.
  • Completely waterproof, but breathable.
  • Anti-microbial and anti-fungal: Panvelle™ technical excellence ensures that cross infection is reduced.
  • Excellent colour fastness.
  • Easy-care.
  • Applications in many environments including healthcare, restaurants, hotels and marine.

Features of Panvelle Stretch™

  • Panvelle Stretch™ multi-directional stretch properties provide effective pressure relief seating when partnered with memory foam.
  • Warm and soft to the touch and available in a wide selection of gorgeous colours and designs.
  • The application of Aegis anti-microbial technology, coupled with a waterproof membrane barrier means Panvelle Stretch affords anti-fungal, anti-microbial surface protection and prohibits the growth of bacterial and associated odours, infection and cross contamination.

Upholstery Fabrics offer All-Round Stretch

Panaz has extended its range of flame-retardant upholstery fabrics for the healthcare sector with the introduction of ‘Panvelle Stretch’ and ‘Vyflex’. The result of extensive research by the company’s specialist Intelligent Textiles Division, both these patented newcomers offer unique multi-stretch capabilities, making them ideal for use with pressure relief foam in hospitals, nursing homes and other caring environments. Flame retardant to BS5852 Part 2, in line with current safety specifications, ‘Panvelle Stretch’ incorporates active anti-fungal and anti-microbial agents, and hence will not support the growth of bacteria such as E-coli and MRSA.

Care and Maintenance

1. Routine soap and warm water sponging is effective for ordinary soiling.

2. Fresh stains both water and oil based are easily removed using most water based household spray cleaning agents.

3. Antiseptic cleaning agents can be used and more stubborn stains may require a safe solvent such as Isopropyl Alcohol or Mineral Spirit.

4. Up to 10% bleach solution can also be used as a useful disinfectant (includes Haz-Tabs and Chlor-Clean).

5. Best cleaning method is ‘wipe & dry’ technique. Full immersion is not recommended.

6. Do not dry clean!

7. Use cold water to remove body fluids, hot water for plant or vegetable stains.

Motability

Pre-owned Equipment

A preowned wheelchair

We stock a range of pre-
owned equipment products for affordable disabled care

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Spare Parts

A spare part

We stock a wide range of spare parts for
disability equipment

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