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Wheelchair Components

PASS THE OT By Stephanie Shane OTR/L ©


Wheelchair Attachments:

  1. Seatbelts are attached at hip level

  2. Harnesses to position a person lacking sufficient trunk control

  3. Arm troughs to position and support a flaccid UE and prevent edema through elevation.

  4. Lapboards can serve the same purpose as an arm trough, but are also beneficial as a working table top surface.

  5. Mobile arm supports allow for use of an UE with proximal weakness to engage in feeding and other activities.

  6. Hill-holder devices allow the w/c to move forward but automatically brake when the chair goes backward.

Seat width: measure the widest point across the hips and thighs and then add 2 inches.

Seat depth: measure both Les and take the greatest length; measure from the posterior portion of the buttocks to the popliteal fossa and then subtract 2 inches.

Back height: take measurement from the seat surface (including the cushion) upward to one of the following, depending on trunk control, activity level, strength, and size of person.

  1. Mid back under scapula: 1-2 inches below

  2. Mid-scapula or axilla

  3. Top of shoulder

Seat height: footrests should have 2” clearance from the floor so cushion selected will affect this measurement. Standard height: 19.5” hemi-height: 17.5”, super-low: 14.5”

Arm rest height: shoulders should be neutral, arms hanging at the sides, elbows flexed to 90 degrees. Armrests that are too low will encourage leaning forward. Armrests that are too high will cause shoulder elevation.

Standard dimensions for wheelchairs

Chair style                           seat width                           seat depth          seat height

Adult                                     18”                                         16”                         20”

Narrow adult                     16”                                         16”                         20”

Slim adult                            14”                                         16”                         20”

Junior                                    16”                                         16”                         18.5”

Child                                      14”                                         11.5”                      18.76”

Tiny tot                                 12”                                         11.5”                      19.5”


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