a. The folding wheelchair is the most commonly used mobilization device for a
patient who can sit upright. If leg elevation is required, a special board or leg
attachment can be secured to the chair and pillow or cushion support provided. The
use of a wheelchair allows the patient to be out of bed, mobile, and moderately
b. Patients must be instructed in the proper use and operation of a wheelchair.
Place the patient in the chair with his feet on the footrest plates and instruct him in the
Show the patient how to lock and release the wheel brakes.
(2) Show the patient how to place his hands on the turning rims and roll the
rims forward with even force to produce straight-ahead movement.
(3) Show the patient how to turn the wheelchair. Instruct the patient to use
more force on the left turning rim in order to turn right, and more force on the right
turning rim in order to turn left (see figure 1-6).
(4) Ask the patient to demonstrate wheelchair techniques, offering guidance
c. Several precautions must be observed when orthopedic patients are
permitted to use a wheelchair.
Tell the patient not to use the chair as a racing vehicle.
(2) Tell the patient to ask for assistance when going through doorways,
entering elevators, or attempting to maneuver through congested areas.
(3) Tell the patient that braking devices must be set and the wheelchair
braced against a wall or held while the patient gets in or out. This will prevent the chair
from rolling or tipping when the patient shifts weight or changes position.
Tell the patient to use the safety belt.