If you or someone you love are in the process of acquiring a wheelchair, you might have heard discussions among your doctors and therapists about which type of wheelchair you require. Wheelchairs in Canada range between Category 1 and Category 5– depending on the user’s needs and degree of mobility.
We compiled a quick and handy list for you to access, with the category requirements according to ADP (Assistive Devices Program).
Category 1 Wheelchairs: These chairs are for users who will use their wheelchair occasionally. The Standard chairs in this category weight more than 38 lbs and are often made of steel. They include accessories such as removable arms (to facilitate transfer and help near your chair to a counter-like surface) and swing away or elevating footrests. Vital Mobility retails top-quality Standard Wheelchairs– we also carry these devices in our extensive wheelchair rental program.
Category 2 Wheelchairs: Similar to Category 1 wheelchairs, the one big difference with them is their weight. Category 2 wheelchairs are lightweight. Lightweight wheelchairs are in the 25-38 lb range and are often made of combinations of aluminum and carbon fibre. Suitable for more active wheelchair users, Category 2 wheelchairs include swingaway or elevating footrests and convenient removable arms.
Category 3 Wheelchairs: The level of customization for your wheelchair increases significantly when you require a category 3 wheelchair. Just like Category 2s, these wheelchairs are lightweight at 25-38 lbs and come equipped with removable armrests and footrests. But because these wheelchairs are built for very active users, they also feature anti-tippers to prevent falls, an adjustable centre of gravity which is crucial in maximizing your chair’s performance and quick release axles allowing for quick and tool-free removal of the wheels.
Category 4 Wheelchairs: These wheelchairs are equipped with the same features as Category 3 wheelchairs. However, they are made in ultra-light materials (weighing less than 25 lbs) like aluminum and titanium. The most popular type of Category 4 wheelchairs is the rigid type. They are not foldable in order to minimize the use of nuts, bolts and other components that often needed to fold a chair and that weigh down the device.
Category 5 Wheelchairs: They’re also known as Manual Dynamic Tilt wheelchairs and are most suitable for individuals who require the tilting feature on the seat frame because they are unable to shift their body weight. Category 5 wheelchairs do not fold and feature swing-away footrests, quick release axles for easy servicing and transport, anti-tippers and adjustable-height arms that can be removed.
Many of these chairs, for first-time users, are partially covered by the government’s ADP program. Vital Mobility works with you, your family and physical or occupational therapists to complete that application and get you on the road to finding the right wheelchair for you in a timely and responsive manner.