When you’re refined to a wheelchair, the right ramp can help you to maintain more of your independence, and enjoy the full extent of your mobility. Wheelchair ramps can expand accessibility to additional places, providing greater freedom and independence for those who might not be able to use stairs and curbs. Of course, it’s important to make sure that you know how to use these accessories safely.
For maximum user safety, remember that you should never attempt to use a ramp that appears to be steeper than the level of incline you’re commonly comfortable with. Even if you have a care provider helping, your safety should always be top priority.
Tips for Going Up a Wheelchair Ramp
Regardless of whether you’re in a manual, or powered wheelchair, it’s crucial to be prepared to safely navigate going up a ramp. Make sure that you start by assessing whether the wheelchair support is wide enough for your chair and whether you’re comfortable with the incline level. After that, you can:
- Remove anything that might cause problems with your chair, such as a large backpack on the rear of the chair that might push you backward, or any debris on the ramp itself.
- Fasten your seat-belt if necessary, and make sure that your anti-tipping wheels are functional.
- Be sure that your chair is in the middle of the ramp, so you’re less likely to roll off the edges.
- As you start moving up the ramp, make sure that you focus on going forward, and pushing your body forward too.
Remember, if you are using a powered wheelchair, you should always go up and down ramps at the slowest speed setting. This can reduce your risk of injury.
Tips for Going Down a Wheelchair Ramp
Many people in wheelchairs find that it’s much easier to go down a ramp than it is to travel up one. This is because when you are travelling down a “declining” ramp, gravity will have a strong pull on your chair. Although this can mean that you get to your destination faster, it’s important to be extra careful going down a ramp, as moving too quickly can be dangerous.
Fasten your seatbelt before you approach the ramp, and again, if you’re using a powered wheelchair, ensure that you’re moving slowly. If the decline angle is too severe, then you should always ask for help – don’t attempt to manage the ramp by yourself.
Additional Tips for Using Wheelchair Support
As a wheelchair user, you might find that it takes some time for you to fully get used to the process of going up and down ramps by yourself. With that in mind, it can be helpful to practice your experience with ramps that feature different inclines, so you can get a good idea of what you’re comfortable with.
Ideally, it’s a good idea to access the help of a caregiver or health professional who can give your chair additional support and stability until you feel completely confident on your own. If you have a powered chair, make sure that you avoid ramps entirely until you’ve gotten comfortable with the process of controlling your own speed.
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