A referral for a wheelchair assessment will generally cover the following areas:
  • Client information such as name, date of borth, address and contact numbers
  • Hospital or school details if appropriate
  • Who the referrer and GP are
  • The client's measurements and medical history
  • Whether the client can self propel indoors or outdoors
  • Current equipment and the wheelchair required
  • How the client intends to use the wheelchair

One of the most important considerations for anyone performing a wheelchair assessment is to get the measurements correct. Apart from the client's weight and height only two measurements are required but these can prove to be more difficult to get than it appears.

Hip width

The hip width is measured across the Greater Trochanters. In practice, the width of the wheelchair seat is based on the users’ widest point, usually the hips or thighs. If shoulders are wider then you should consider a wider seat to match. If the seat is too wide there can be difficulty in mobility, inadequate support and discomfort. A narrow seat contributes to pressure sores, inadequate support and discomfort. An exact measurement of the seat width allows for optimum mobility and environmental accessibility. To measure this, take a tape measure and stretch it across the client's pelvis in the front of the body taking care not to wrap it around them and add to the measurement. You could also try placing a book either side of the hips and measuring the distance between them. Consider adding an additional inch to allow for a winter coat!

Leg Length
Leg length is measured from the Sacrum to Popliteal Fossa (knee pit at back of knee). Make sure that the client has good posture first and is seated on a chair. The seat depth is measured from the back of the pelvis to the back of the knee, in practice this means measuring from the bone of the pelvis rather than from the fleshy part of the bum. Always check both legs in case one leg is longer than the other. Subtract 1 to 2 inches from the measurements for optimal comfort or more if the client likes to have space to lift their leg with their hand.