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Patient-Centered Guides
July, 1998

CHOOSING A WHEELCHAIR
A Guide to Optimal Independence

1.5 Million Americans are Wheelchair Users

How do people come to living life in a wheelchair? Each year, thousands of Americans suffer spinal cord trauma becoming either paraplegic or quadriplegic; another significant number are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis which can quickly lead to loss of mobility requiring the use of a wheelchair. A smaller portion of people are born with conditions that relegate them to a life on wheels. Many elderly find themselves using wheelchairs on a short or long-term basis. Not to mention people of any age who may experience a temporary loss of mobility.

They all have one thing in common--they need to know how to choose a wheelchair that works for them.

Choosing a Wheelchair: A Guide for Optimal Independence, by longtime chair user and ergonomics consultant Gary Karp, is the first book to help you become an informed decision-maker. With the right wheelchair, quality of life increases dramatically and even people with severe disabilities can have a considerable degree of independence and activity. Choosing the wrong chair can be tantamount to confinement. While selecting a chair can seem overwhelming, Karp assures proper selection by covering the following topics:

  • Your role as an educated and active member in the selection process-quite often an occupational therapist and a representative from a wheelchair dealer will help you decide.

  • How to compare manufacturers

  • The wheelchair as a mobility tool and making basic choices about features and options such as power or manual, fixed frame or folding, etc.

  • Paying for the chair

  • Wheelchair maintenance

  • Wheeling techniques
Choosing a Wheelchair is a roadmap to making sense of the myriad of choices available and will very quickly narrow them down to a much more manageable number.

About the Author

In 1973 when Gary was 18 he fell out of a tree, breaking his spine in mid-back and becoming paraplegic. He has worked in the computer graphics field managing production departments, starting a desktop services division, and conducting training and presentations. In 1992, Gary developed a repetitive strain injury. After recovering, he began his own ergonomics consulting business, Onsight Technology, which offers training and individual workstation consultation to a wide range of clients in the San Francisco Bay area, where he now lives.

Choosing a Wheelchair: A Guide for Optimal Independence
by Gary Karp
$9.95, paper, 180 pages
ISBN: 1-56592-411-8
Publication Date: August 1998

About Patient-Centered Guides

Patient-Centered Guides offer good, solid information to people and their families facing the challenges of life-threatening or life-changing diseases and conditions. Each book provides a mix of medical background to help in making treatment decisions, practical information, and emotional support. With stories of people who have been there woven throughout, the books let the patients themselves decide which issues are important. Choosing A Wheelchair is the latest title in the Patient-Centered Guides series. Others include: Patient-Centered Guides is a division of O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. O'Reilly is recognized worldwide for its definitive technical books on the Internet, programming, and UNIX, and in the U.S. for its award-winning Travelers' Tales series of travel literature.
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