How to Fold a Wheelchair

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If you are responsible for the care of a wheelchair-bound person, learning the proper technique to fold a wheelchair for storage or travel is probably your first priority. When unoccupied and unfolded, wheelchairs are big, bulky and often in the way. The good news is that folding a foldable wheelchair is simple and makes it possible for you to store the wheelchair in a small closet or car trunk. Though the technique for folding a wheelchair varies slightly by model and manufacturer, the following steps describe how to fold a lightweight Quickie wheelchair and other similar models.

Remove the wheelchair seat cushion. The way the seat is attached to the chair may vary by model and manufacturer, but the majority of wheelchair seat cushions are attached to the chair by Velcro strips. Gently pull up on the seat cushion of the wheelchair while simultaneously applying gentle downward pressure to the base of the wheelchair. The seat cushion should easily come free. Set it aside.

Detach the wheels from the base of the wheelchair. The wheels can be detached by locating the wheel-release buttons on the base of the wheelchair. Push in on the wheel-release buttons while pulling out on the wheels. Once the wheels have been detached, set them aside.

Flip up the footrests. Many wheelchair models include footrests to keep the wheelchair user's feet from dragging on the floor. Before attempting to fold a wheelchair, check to see if the wheelchair model includes foldable footrests and, if so, fold them up. If the wheelchair model does not feature foldable footrests, the footrests can be detached by locating the footrest-release buttons located on the base of the wheelchair. Push in on the footrest-release button while pulling up gently on the footrests themselves. Once the footrests have been removed from the wheelchair, set them aside.

Locate the folding strap on the base of the wheelchair. For most models, the folding strap is located underneath the seat cushion. It should be visible once you have removed the cushion as outlined in Step 1. If the folding strap is not located underneath the seat cushion on the base of the wheelchair, check the back of the wheelchair to locate the folding strap on your particular model.

Fold the wheelchair. Now that you've removed the wheelchair seat cushion and wheels, folded the footrests and located the folding strap, you're ready to fold the wheelchair. Grab the folding strap on the wheelchair and pull upwards while simultaneously pushing in on the sides of the wheelchair. The wheelchair is now folded and ready for transport or storage.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wheelchairs vary by model and manufacturer. If you are unsure of how to operate, fold or store your wheelchair, please consult the professionals at your local orthopedic equipment retailer to receive instructions relevant to your particular wheelchair model.
  • Take special care when reassembling the wheelchair. Before allowing anyone into the chair, gently push on both wheels to be sure that they are securely attached. Failure to properly reassemble the wheelchair can result in injury.

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