Types of Wheelchair Accessories

Convenience, Comfort and Safety, There are Accessories for All of Your Needs

A hospital wheelchair.
A hospital wheelchair. Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

There are many types of wheelchair accessories that can help make the user's experience more comfortable and convenient, and even safer.

Wheelchair Accessories for Storage

Many accessories provide more creative ways to store your personal belongings while riding in the wheelchair.

Tote Bags

Tote bags for manually driven wheelchairs are a popular and convenient way to store those items you need on a regular basis.

Tote bags have variations for how and where they are mounted on the chair. Some bags mount on the back of the chair and others mount on the arms.

Features to look for include:

  • Weather and water-resistance.
  • Multiple pockets and/or dividers that help keep items organized.
  • Handles and quick release clasps so the bag can easily be removed from the chair.

Additionally, some tote bags have fleece-lined pockets and include zipper enclosures.

Chair Bags

There are also storage bags for the chairs themselves. Many are like a suitcase that fit collapsible wheelchairs. They will often have handles and casters so they can be easily transported.

Specialized Wheelchair Storage

You may also want to consider one of these options:

  • Shelves that attach under the wheelchair seat.
  • Pouches designed to snugly and safely hold an oxygen tank, a set of crutches, or a cane.

Wheelchair Accessories for Convenience

Convenience is a big consideration as well.

Here are some great options you may want to consider.

The Lap Tray

The lap tray is one of the most convenient accessories you will find. These can be used to set down food or a cup, to use as a writing desk, or to rest an iPad or a book.

A lap tray is similar to an airline tray or the mini-desk surfaces that high school and college students sit at.

There are many styles of lap trays available and each has its own features.

There are also grip pads that you can set down on top of the lap tray surface. These create a non-slip surface so items you set on them will have a better chance of staying in place.

Cup Holders

Cup holders made specifically for wheelchairs can be attached to trays or the arms. These will keep drinks safely contained during movement and keep your favorite drink by your side.

Wheelchair Accessories for Comfort

Want to make your wheelchair more comfortable?

Types of Cushions

Comfort cushions come in a variety of styles and some are designed for specific needs. You can find cushions to line both the seat and the back or one of the two, depending on your needs.

  • "Positioning cushions" are designed to place the user in a more comfortable and more ergonomic position.
  • Pressure ulcers are a concern for people confined to a wheelchair for long periods. There are specially treated seat cushions that use materials to help reduce the chance of the skin breaking down from friction and heat.
  • Cushions are made of many materials, including air, foam, and gel. Test them out to see what you like best.
  • Sheepskin linings are available for that soft and fuzzy feeling.
  • In addition to back cushions, back-positioning cushions are available. They look like small wings and mount at the rear of the chair to keep the shoulders in place.

Leg Comfort

Consider the feet and legs when shopping as well.

  • Positioners attach to the wheelchair's standard leg braces to keep the calves and heels secure.
  • Amputees will find swing-away attachments designed for their comfort.
  • Elevation kits are available for those who need to keep knees or ankles at a 90-degree angle.

Wheelchair Accessories for Safety

Safety is another concern and there are many options available:

  • Gloves and arm sleeves are available to keep hands and arms protected from friction and ​chaffing.
  • Seat belts can keep someone in place and prevent them from falling out of the chair.
  • Anti-rollback devices mounted to the back of the chair can prevent it from tipping over backward.
  • Covers and canopies are available for weather protection.

What Do You Need?

It is worth a look to see what else is out there, particularly if you run into a specific issue. Don't assume that there is not a product or wheelchair accessory that couldn't make your life better.