Know Before You Buy: The Wheelchair Reviews & Views Project

When it comes to having a spinal cord injury, one of the biggest expenses is the wheelchair. The price can be shocking. For example, the going price for a power wheelchair that has all the bells and whistles, elevator seat and tilt, runs about $27,000. Because of this high price, purchasing a wheelchair is a very serious decision that requires a lot of deliberation.

To choose a wheelchair, most people follow the advice of their physical therapist, assuming they know best. It is always important however to be the most informed consumer you can be, and this is especially true when it comes to buying a wheelchair, there are hundreds of makes, models, and manufacturers from all over the world. Many therapists have biases towards certain brands that may or may not be good in your situation.

To help with the confusion and to educate people with SCI, the United Spinal Association has launched its Wheelchair Reviews & Views Project. This project offers thorough overviews of thousands of wheelchairs, as well as personal reviews from users, with people being able to share their own review of a wheelchair right on the site. 

What this project also gives to the spinal cord injury population is a neutral voice when it comes to wheelchairs, and this is a voice that is long overdue from a reputable nonprofit. For many years, a well-known wheelchair reviewer AKA The Wheelchair Junkie would share his extensive reviews of wheelchairs online. His insight, however, was not as comprehensive as this project, simply because United Spinal has a larger staff.

There are also several wheelchair models that have not been approved by the FDA. It is still interesting however for people with spinal cord injuries to see what their options are when it comes to wheelchairs and to not be railroaded into a corner, buying either one wheelchair or the other, and not realizing they have an array of wheelchairs to choose from if they knew.

The project’s site is divided into five different areas. The first area is “Home,” where you can search for different wheelchair models, types, and manufacturers in their database of reviews. Currently, the database has over 2,000 wheelchair reviews from dozens of manufacturers. Their comprehensive list of wheelchairs also includes wheelchairs from dozens of other countries, as well. You can find roughly 1100 wheelchair descriptions in their database.

You can also read the latest reviews from people who have purchased a wheelchair and want to share their experience. These reviews are not as abundant but are slowly growing on the site. You can also add your own review on the site as well. And if you don't see your wheelchair, you can add your wheelchair to the database.

Buying a wheelchair is a huge decision when your spinal cord is injured. Many people will have their wheelchair for at least five years depending on when their insurance will allow them to buy a new one. A wheelchair is an extension of your body as well. It is paramount you choose the wheelchair that is exactly right for you. 

- The Wheelchair Reviews & Views Project 

Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Advisory Council

Topics: Spinal Cord Injury, Wheelchair Bound, Wheelchair, Wheelchairs For Sale

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