Wheelchair Glossary

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - civil rights law for people with disabilities passed in 1990 that contain protections for employment, transportation and access to telecommunications and public places.

Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) - Guidelines which give standards to the architectural features required by the ADA.

Casters - the two small wheels at the front (or the rear) of the wheelchair which swivel in all directions. They contribute to maneuverability.

Camber - the tilt of the wheels of a wheelchair, which increases stability and makes the wheelchair wider.

Crossbrace - The center frame of the wheelchair just below the seat. On folding wheelchairs, crossbraces join the two sides of the wheelchair frame together.

Durable Medical Equipment (DME) - The category of equipment that includes wheelchairs, bath benches, hospital beds, bedside comodes and walkers.

Hemi wheelchair - a chair with a low height that allows for moving a wheelchair with your feet.

Healthcare Finance Administration (HCFA) - the agency for Medicare that pays for wheelchairs.

Push rims - the ring on the sides of the rear wheels of a wheelchair where your hands are placed for moving the wheelchair.

Quick-release axle - a removable axle that allows quick removal of the rear wheel from a wheelchair for transport.

Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers (RTS) - the people who sell you your wheelchair. They specify the order to the manufacturer, deliver the chair to you and service your wheelchair. Also called Durable Medical Equipment salespersons.

Tiller - a combination steering wheel, throttle, and controller for an electric scooter. It can be moved up and down and tilt forward.

Transit wheelchair - A crash-tested wheelchair with four securement points that meet the requirements of ANSI-RESNA WC/19 - Wheelchairs Used as Seats in Motor Vehicles.

Wheelbase - the distance between the center of the front caster and the center of the rear wheel on a wheelchair.

Wheelchair accessible - a building or a public place that allows a person using a wheelchair to move around with access to all the features of that place.

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