Whether you’re looking to buy a new wheelchair, or need support fixing or upgrading your current one, knowing where to look for wheelchair services and support in your area is really important. Keep reading below for some hints and tips that we hope you find helpful.
Do your research
New and brilliant wheelchair designs and innovations are coming out all the time, and they might just be the next big thing in your area! Try typing into your search engine ‘new wheelchairs in (your area or country)’ and see what comes up. It’s a really good way of comparing wheelchair prices and unique selling points, too!
Distributors are your friends
Quite often, a wheelchair design and manufacturing company will connect with distributors all over the world, that can help to make their wheelchair a global success! So, if you buy an Italian designed wheelchair but live in the UK, for example, there is no need to worry when your wheelchair requires a service or some TLC; quite often, the distributor in your country can help with finding the correct parts and servicing the chair for you. Clever, isn’t it? Many manufacturers also have a dealer locator, so you can select the country you are living in and find the closest authorised dealer. An example of this can be seen on the Kuschall website.
Join supportive groups
If you are hoping to buy a wheelchair, get a new part for it, or even get some support as a new wheelchair user, don’t forget to join some local disability groups, either online or in person. There are some brilliant disabled community groups on Facebook that will help to answer questions, provide advice and point you in the direction of some great mobility companies and wheelchair manufacturers, and if you join a local disability sports team, for example, you can often get face-to-face advice and help from new friends who are experienced wheelchair users themselves! Many manufacturers also have their own Facebook accounts, enabling customers to have direct contact with them. Generally, someone will get back to you within 24 hours, too! Have a look at Invacare’s Facebook page here.
Keep in touch with your local hospital
Some of us still have regular hospital assessments, and so many hospitals have fantastic mobility departments with leaflets from, and in partnerships with, amazing wheelchair companies. If ever you are really stuck and your wheelchair that you acquired through your local hospital is broken or out of use for some reason, they will help you to find someone to fix it, or be able to provide you with a short-term replacement. For those of us who have bought our own wheelchairs from private companies, help from a hospital service may not be as easy to get, but it is worth keeping the name of a person that works there and their phone number handy, just in case!
We hope these hints and tips have made you feel slightly more confident when considering how to find wheelchair services and support in your area.