Push Handles: Pushing Around

Push handles come in many shapes and sizes, and many clients don’t know all the options available to them. With so many choices, how does one make an informed decision? Here are some factors to help break down the options and take the guessing out of it.

 

Lifestyle

Both client and caregiver lifestyle play a large role. How much of the time will a client require someone to push them? If a caregiver is doing the majority of the pushing, then looking at the height of the push handle is important. If the client is completely independent, they may even choose to eliminate push handles altogether.

Function

Determine the purpose of the push handle. Is it to push the wheelchair? Or is it to be used to hold items such as a backpack, purse or bag of supplies. Do they need to be used at times, and moved out of the way at others? These questions can lead to making the right choice in functionality and allowing the client to make the best decision for their needs.

A word of caution: putting too much weight onto the push handles can cause the chair to be unbalanced, and possibly tip backwards. Also, consider the impact of the additional weight on long term for shoulder health.

Funding

While this should not be the first thing considered, it is an important factor when making decisions. The standard option might not work for everyone, so understanding all options and costs will allow client and caregiver to make the best choice.

Motion Composites offers many options for push handles, to meet both lifestyle and functional needs.

Standard Push Handle:

No charge option with rubber grip. Functional and sturdy.

Flip Down Push Handle:

Allows the client or caregiver to flip the push handles out of the way when not in use. This may allow the client to feel more confident knowing the push handles are there if needed but can fold down out of the way.

Clamp on Height Adjustable Push Handle:

Will allow for caregivers to access handles, not at a fixed height. Great for pediatrics or lower seat to floor height wheelchairs to allow caregiver better access to push handles. Can be placed lowered and placed out of the way so they do not interfere with self-propulsion.

Stroller Handle:

This option provides a rigid elevated handle and must be removed to fold the wheelchair. Caregivers often choose this as a fixed taller height option, and strong enough to hold medical supplies and other necessities. It also can enhance one handed pushing by caregiver if necessary.

To learn about the specific options and the chairs they are available on, check out our new Options and Accessories Guide or feel free to connect with your local rep or your local provider.

About Christie Hamstra, PT, DPT, ATP

Clinical Educator

Christie is a Motion Composites clinical educator. She holds a Master of Physiotherapy from Andrews University and a Transitional Doctor of Physiotherapy degree from Oakland University. Through training and conferences, she actively shares her knowledge with future and current industry professionals.