In the words of Thomas Carlyle “Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.”
And so I was encourged to see a blog post on BBC Ouch today highlighting the difficulties faced by wheelchair users trying to get ‘chairs that meets their needs in a timely fashion. As mentioned in the article, whilst the wrong wheelchair can cause health problems associated with posture and pressure sores, an incorrect ‘chair can also limit someone’s independence for example if it is too heavy or not set up correctly.
Regardless of whether a wheelchair user has the necessary skills, if they are expected to use a ‘chair that they do not have the physical strength to ‘pop’ a wheelie in, or to lift into a car, then their independence is inevitably limited, often leaving them reliant on assistance to compensate. I have often thought that this is a false economy for the NHS/government and I am grateful that I live in an area where my local wheelchair services have recognised that ‘needs’ do not just mean clinical needs but also, to a certain extent, social needs.