Wheelchair Accessories You Can't Live Without

As a power wheelchair user and quadriplegic, I have come to rely on many accessories; I'm sure others have as well. In trying to come up with a list of my own to share, I have to first think of what is essential for my independence and health, followed by my own personal comfort and fun. I hope you will find something you may be able to use and add to this list so that others can benefit.

Electric Leg Bag Drainer

An electric leg bag drainer has been essential for me for most of my 40 years using a power wheelchair. Most of us are encouraged to "push fluids" but you can't do it unless you can drain your own bag or have personal care attendants or friends help. I find having a leg bag drainer gives me much more independence and reduces stress because I'm no longer worrying about whether or not the leg bag is too full and not being able to do something about it.

I have used a few different types of leg bag drainers. Some have a valve connected to the leg bag with a power control. Others use a solenoid-type device that presses against the tube and holds it closed until you switch to open it. I prefer the latter because you don't need to clean out another valve, just use your self-contained leg bag. Some leg bag openers have mechanical options available for those who would like to try them. A Google search will help uncover more options. This year while buying a QUICKIE® chair, my wheelchair vendor was able to bill the cost to insurance. In the past I would purchase it separately and attach it to my chair. I am lost without it.

Portable Water Solutions

Water is essential. One cup holder cannot satisfy most needs over the course of a long day. I have found that having a hydration pack, such as a CamelBak, is essential for carrying water and being independent. I hang the hydration pack on the back-right side of my chair with the tube attached to a string which is then secured in place to hold my straw and keys. With this, I don't need to ask anyone to fill my cup or get a drink, which makes my day.

Tilt and Recline Options

I don't know if you consider this a feature rather than an accessory, but I find having tilt and recline options on my power wheelchair is something that I cannot live without. Not having the strength to relieve sitting pressure on my own, I would not be able to sit up as long as I do without having both of these features.

Accessories for My Personal Comfort and Fun

If you are like me and so many other people, you probably have a number of standard gadgets like iPhones, iPads, maybe a cup holder, etc. I also have a power door control for my apartment building, my wallet & cardholder, various keys, and a straw that can get in the way if I don't have a place for them. Over the years I have used a variety of homemade armrest caddies like fanny packs and armrest attachments, but still I was not satisfied. I was fortunate that my wheelchair/medical supplier was able to come up with a half-table made of plexiglass equipped with a sleeve to slide onto my armrest. She attached a cup holder to the tabletop, drilled holes for a tube to hold my straw and keys. She used Velcro in strategic places to attach my iPad, iPhone, various cardholders, and the door opener, with room for other gadgets as I acquire them. It is my accessory for my accessories!

I'm also currently experimenting with an umbrella holder for the power chair but have not permanently attached it. If this becomes successful I will add it to my list of recommendations. For now, it is in the works – I will keep you posted!

What kinds of accessories have you recommended to others that you can't do without?

About the Author

Jim Wice

Jim Wice is director of accessibility and disability resources at Wellesley College. His educational background includes a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling. Jim also has a passion for exploring adaptive sports and recreation. He is chairman of the nonprofit Boston Self Help Center, which supports the Boston Brakers power wheelchair team. Jim is both team representative for the team and an active player. Beyond playing soccer, you will find him and his girlfriend Karen exploring Boston, all the other points on the commuter rail, and beyond.

Most of the stories here on LiveQuickie.com were submitted by readers. Do you have a story to tell? We'd love to hear it. Submit your story here.


Date: 4/30/2019 12:00:00 AM


Comments
Jim Wice
21st century scientific is the company that does leg bag. Here is a link to the site — http://www.wheelchairs.com/accessories.htm
5/15/2019 12:39:03 PM
 
Geoff
Regarding the bag emptier...Can you tell us the name of the product you had the best experience with?
5/8/2019 10:08:26 AM
 

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