Bariatric Mobility Aids
Walking Frames & Rollators
Extra wide walking frames are available in different heights, to accommodate bariatric users from short to tall. A simple non-wheeled frame made from aluminium is strong enough for a user weight of 47 stone (300 kg), while still being light and easy to manoeuvre.
Accessories such as glide brakes enable the frame to slide easily across the floor, yet hold it securely in place when weight is applied to the frame.
Heavy-duty rollators have four legs for maximum stability, and are available with either two wheels and two fixed legs, or four sets of wheels. Height adjustments allow the walker to suit the user, and it is possible to get models that fold down for easier storage and transportation. A seat for occasional rests when walking about is a feature of the walker shown here, which is suitable for users weighing up to about 40 stone (255 kg).
This is part of the Independent Living Focus on bariatric care. You can sign up for the free monthly email round-up here
Wheelchairs for Bariatric Users
Wheelchairs that have been constructed for use by the heaviest individuals have built-in strengthening and bracing of the frame, to reduce the possibility of it twisting or buckling in use. Front and back seat supports use telescopic guides to ensure the seated area is guided to its supports. A minimum of moving parts ensures a user-friendly wheelchair.
Available in transit (carer assist) models and self-propelling, the latter providing greater independence, if the user is able to propel themselves. A folding chair, such as the one shown here, is easier to transport and store when not in use. It also has armrests which can be removed to make side transfers easier. Benmor Medical’s bariatric folding wheelchairs are available with safe working loads of 159kg (25 stone), 210kg (33 stone), 254kg (40 stone) and 318kg (50 stone) .
Add-on power packs for manual chairs
We frequently receive enquiries about add-on power packs, which provide motor power when required for a manual wheelchair.
Power units can be fitted to the wheelchairs for users up to 266 kg (42 stone). The speed controller can be placed on the push handle so an attendant can control the speed of the wheelchair while guiding the chair.
When a carer is guiding a patient in a wheelchair down a slope they will need to take the weight and restrain the chair to stop it from rolling away. This can be dangerous for a carer as they will be supporting the weight of the chair plus patient in a position that puts a lot of stress on back muscles. The power unit eliminates this risk by only letting the chair roll at a set speed or it will hold the chair still if required.
Heavy-duty Mobility Scooters
There are two major factors to consider in choosing a mobility scooter for a bariatric user: the strength of the frame – suspension, springing, seat, etc – and the power of the battery.
Features such as adjustable seat position, width adjustable armrests, adjustable driving tiller, all contribute to a more comfortable ride.
The mobility scooter shown here is suitable for users weighing up to 65 stone (412 kg) and has also been constructed for off-road use, meaning that its powerful motor and good ground clearance will take you pretty well anywhere you fancy going, including rough terrain and steep hills.
A heavy duty stairlift can accommodate users weighing up to 30 stone, and has a robust yet simple and discreet rail which takes up little room on a staircase. A generously padded seat with adjustable arms and extra large footplate enable large users to travel with confidence. Amongst the additional features you can select, a powered swivel which will turn the seat if necessary at the top or bottom of the staircase.
One alternative solution to stairs for individuals who use a wheelchair is a powered stairclimber, which is compatible with most manual chairs, and saves the user from transferring out of their chair. There is a heavy duty version, the C-max U2 powered stairclimber, which has a maximum user weight of 25 stone (160 kg), and enables one person to assist the user going up or down stairs, without the need for manual handling or additional help. It can be used safely on any type of floor covering.
And another possibility, which facilitates total independence for a wheelchair user, or an ambulant individual who is too obese to manage stairs, is one of the new generation of heavy duty through-floor vertical lifts. The lift shown here has a weight limit of 39 stone (250 kg), and can be installed in just a few days, with minimal disruption. Click here to read about how Terry Lifts assisted a bariatric client to regain access to his home.