What clearly distinguishes our wheelchairs from wheelchairs of other brands are the adjustments you can make. Correct adjustments and the possibility to change the seating position in your wheelchair can be the difference between a life with pain and a life without pain. In this blog we will show you how you can ride a healthy wheelchair due to good adjustments and what benefit you get by the possibilities of our wheelchairs.
When we started the development of our O4 wheelchairs, we did the necessary market research among wheelchair users. One of the questions in those studies was: “What was the best seat you have experienced?” A frequently given answer was: “A car seat!” We do understand why that is: A car seat is nicely contoured and the backrest offers good support. But it is also because you are able to change sitting position in a car seat. Further research showed that every person actually has a continuous need to alter positions, even several times a minute. That need you also have as a wheelchair user. After all, as humans we are not made to sit still all day. So why don't you have a wheelchair that meets that need?
We believe: You, as a wheelchair user, should be able to choose your seating position at any time of the day. Are you working and sitting at a desk? Then you need to be able to sit differently when you are no longer comfortable or if you are just unable to reach at something. A non-wheelchair user can move the seat, or maybe stand at the desk. Why should you not be able to change your position as a wheelchair user?
Back angle adjustment
We thought this could be done better and came up with a solution: Our back angle adjustment. Every Hopper can be equipped with this system. If you choose having a back angle adjustment on your wheelchair, it becomes almost continuously adjustable. This means you no longer have to adapt to the positions your wheelchair is dictating, with all the inconveniences this entails. You now can adapt your wheelchair to the way you want to sit right at that moment. You can adjust the position by unlocking the back hinges and then moving your upper body slightly to change the position of the backrest. The release lever is mounted on the front under the seat as default, but can optionally also be mounted on the side.
Seat angle adjustment
On two of our models, the WorkHopper and the ActivRelaxHopper, the back seat adjustment is supplemented by a seat angle adjustment (or wedge angle adjustment). You upper body and your legs form a wedge when the rear seat height is set lower than the front seat height. By choosing a more obtuse angle, the rear seat height gets higher than the front seat height. This changes your position, to a more upright seating. That way you supported in a more straightened position ideal for working at a table. This adjustment is also very suitable if you have to cook in your wheelchair or if you want to get in and out of your wheelchair more easily. When you done with your activity, you can return the seat to its normal position.
The pivot point is placed near the knee. This way adjusting the seat has no adverse effect on the lower leg length setting. Other brands also offer seat angle adjustment on their wheelchairs, but then the pivot point mostly is in the middle of the seat. In that case you get a negative effect, because your lower legs can be moved up or back. This is difficult when you are sitting at the table, because your knees can then get pressed against the table.
You also have the option to alter the activity level of you wheelchair. Every wheelchair rolls most easily when 100 % of the total weight is balanced on the rear axle. However, this is not practical, because you would be constantly be in danger to tip over backwards. The more weight is distributed over the rear wheels, the faster a wheelchair will tip backwards. At the same time, you do not want much weight distributed on the caster wheels, because this would make your wheelchair hard to push and harder to steer. You want a wheelchair that is not only to drive safely and as easily as possible, but that you can also drive and move with as little energy and strength possible.
Correct balance setting
If you think that your wheelchair is too hard to push, most likely the balance setting has been set to fairly passive level. This means that the seat needs to be adjusted, so that more weight is transferred to the back of the chair. Where other wheelchair brands move the rear wheels forwards or backwards to adjust this setting, the position of the wheels is fixed on our wheelchairs. Instead you can move the seat steplessly forward (safer but more passive what makes pushing harder) or backward (less energy needed for pushing but more sensitive to tipping).
The seat can be moved because the seat assembly of our wheelchairs was developed separately from the wheeling assembly. The seat is clamped to the frame by an interface system. This allows the seat to slide back and forth on the frame.
Which setting works best for you is individual. Fortunately, with our wheelchairs you can have this set up to the millimeter by your supplier.
Would you like to experience our wheelchair settings yourself? Then make an appointment for a test drive with our WorkHopper or another Hopper in our O4 Experience Center in Varsseveld, Holland. We guarantee that our choice is the best choice for your health!