Casters are not just two small wheels in the front but extremely important in allowing the rotation of the wheelchair in all directions. The smooth functioning of the casters is a result of many small parts like thread guards, bearings, locks etc. How to select the right ones? Let’s find out.
Wheelchair casters play a vital role in the functionality and life of a wheelchair. While selecting a wheelchair, one should look for durability and comfort along with the right pair of casters.
When the casters aren’t checked for their quality, the wheelchairs end up with the tag of not living up to their required operation and durability. Casters add manoeuvrability to the wheelchair as they can swivel in all the directions. The casters are important to enable the maximum functionality of the wheelchair. While selecting a pair of casters for a wheelchair, one should take into consideration the size required and the type of use of the wheelchair (viz. rough uneven surfaces or smooth roads, indoors or outdoors). The wheelchair casters regulate the function of steering and manoeuvring and it is important that only the correct style that suits one’s needs are purchased. Especially in case of shower and commode wheelchair, the uttermost priority of the users should be getting a pair of compatible casters. So far the medical casters are considered to be best suited for shower and commode wheelchair as they often have high load capacities, with low profiles and swivel resistance, to accommodate high patient weight while providing ease of operation over different floor types and through tight spaces. The design and durability of medical casters make them impeccable for use in the bathroom.
ADVANTAGES OF MEDICAL CASTERS IN SHOWER WHEELCHAIR:
Medical casters have the capacity to bear high weight and swivel resistance that help in the easy functionality of the wheelchair. Medical casters come with thread guards, sealed bearing and lock system.
- Thread guard:
Thread guards are significant in providing long life and functionality of the casters. The thread guards are metal or plastic discs fixed in place between the spanner bushing and caster leg to prevent loose threads (hair) from being coiled around the axle.
Lint, thread and other soft material have a tendency to work into caster wheel bearing. A caster with thread guard limits this tendency and overcomes this problem. The thread guard does not revolve and thus forces the thread to lie away from the wheel bearing. For a shower and commode wheelchair, a plastic thread guard is recommended. It improves the life of the caster as it avoids corrosion and coiling of hair when used in the bathroom environment.
Most caster applications require the wheel to function with a bearing. There are numerous bearing options depending on the wheel design and the application being considered. Open case, metal sealed & rubber sealed. For shower and commode wheelchairs, rubber sealed bearings are recommended as they provide better protection from contamination and remain rust-proof. They enable easy and smooth rotation of the casters as the lubricants don’t get washed away easily.
3. Total lock:
Total Lock brake locks the wheel and swivels simultaneously. It is essential in a wheelchair while transferring the patient to and from the chair, as it ensures the chair won’t move around. It allows risk-free transfers for the patients as well as for the caregivers. The low angle pedal design makes the foot access comparatively easy for convenient operation and functionality of the wheelchair. Contemporary design features a thermoplastic construction that resists rust and corrosion. The brake design features durability with a thermoplastic pedal and provides maintenance-free operation.
MANAGING WHEELCHAIR CASTERS:
For the smooth ride of a wheelchair, one must maintain the casters.The worst nightmare of wheelchair user is a wheelchair breakdown. Frequently checking for cracks or damage and visible wear and tear is a must. Ignoring these signs can lead to an unwanted wheelchair breakdown and having to send the wheelchair for repairing. With the right type and quality of casters and regular maintenance, this can be avoided. Wheelchair casters are easy to replace, they can be maintained either by the users or the caregivers.