Wheelchairs and Scooters
Purchasing a wheelchair can vastly improve the quality of your life, enabling you to continue doing the things you enjoy and keeping your independence. Choosing the right wheelchair can enable you to socialise and go out with friends and family, but it is a very individual choice and worth taking time over. Before purchasing a wheelchair it is recommended that you have an assessment to make sure it is right for you.
Take a look at our Wheelchair Factsheet for frequently asked questions.
Choosing a Wheelchair
If you need a wheelchair, the main decisions you’ll have to make about your chair are:
- whether it will be self-propelled, pushed by someone else, or electric-powered
- for permanent or occasional use
- for indoor or outdoor use
- whether you need it to go in and out of a car
There are pros and cons for each type of chair, so the choice depends on your needs. There are a large variety of wheelchairs and scooters available, so expert independent advice is essential.
Some of the things to consider when choosing the right equipment are:
- Your physical ability. For example, if you’re unable to stand up, a scooter may be difficult to manage. Stability and balance may also affect what you can use.
- How the equipment will be used. For example, do you need to get upstairs or through narrow doorways?
- Practical considerations, such as access to a power point if the equipment needs to be charged up, or having a secure place to store the equipment when it's not in use.
Choice of Wheelchair Design
The design of the chair affects how it can be used. Look out for:
- large rear wheels, which make wheelchairs easier to manoeuvre
- wheels positioned further forward on an adjustable axle, which require less effort to move the chair
- lightweight chairs that fold or can be dismantled easily if the wheelchair has to be lifted and transported regularly
- seat size, angle and style, as well as the position of the foot, back and arm rests – these should all be taken into account when considering the comfort of the chair
You should also bear in mind that standard wheelchairs can't be modified. "Active-user" wheelchairs are usually more expensive, but they have the advantage of being adjustable and adaptable.
If you need a wheelchair that’s pushed by someone else, it's still important to consider how easy it will be for them to use it. For example, can they lift it and put it in the boot of the car?
Before deciding on a specific style of wheelchair, it's a good idea to try it out around the house or on the local roads.
Take a look at these helpful advice guides to choosing a wheelchair:
We know that lots of you struggle to find or replace a wheelchair that you are really happy with, so we would love to hear from you if you have a recommendation about a chair or a helpful supplier:
NHS Wheelchair Services
NHS wheelchair services offer assessments to determine what equipment you will be eligible for on the NHS. The criteria varies depending on where you live. You can be referred for an assessment by your doctor, hospital, consultant or an occupational therapist and will need to have an assessment to decide if you are eligible.
Videos and Case Studies
Please visit the following short films for information on (Password is appletree):
To listen to personal experiences from beneficiaries who use a powered wheelchair, please read the following case studies:
We know that lots of you struggle to find or replace a wheelchair that you are really happy with, so we would love to hear from you if you have a recommendation about a chair or a helpful supplier.