What is a Transport Wheelchair?

Transport wheelchairs outside a hospital

A transport wheelchair is a specific version of a manual wheelchair designed to be pushed by a caregiver.

A standard manual wheelchair normally has two small-diameter wheels in the front and two large-diameter wheels with push rims in the back. 

The wheelchair user propels the chair by using the push rims on the rear tires. However, a transport wheelchair has four small diameter wheels.

It is designed to be used primarily in hospital or nursing home environments. There is no way at all for a person to self-propel a transport wheelchair.

A transport wheelchair is designed for occasional use. In hospitals, their primary use is moving patients from one part of the facility to another.

Typically, they are lightweight and relatively easy to move to different locations.

The transport wheelchair is sometimes also called a companion chair because the user needs a companion to push from behind.

Of course, it might be possible for the user to use their feet to maneuver the chair, but that certainly should not be a long-term solution.

Most transport wheelchairs can fold easily for storage. This also makes them a lot easier to fit inside a car trunk or minivan for travel.

If someone is not confined to a wheelchair full-time but rather uses something like a walker or a cane to get around, then a transport wheelchair is handy for taking them shopping, to the doctor, or to other locations.

Transport wheelchairs are made by a wide range of manufacturers. Almost any company that builds manual wheelchairs also has a line of transport or companion wheelchairs.

The Everest & Jennings companion transport wheelchair line is quite popular. Invacare is another major manufacturer of transport wheelchairs.

One innovative version of a transport chair is the Drive Pollywog Transport Wheelchair, manufactured by Drive Medical. It’s somewhat unique in that it is a hybrid transport-standard wheelchair.

It is lightweight and includes the ability to interchange wheels for different uses. 

Weighing in at 29 pounds, the Drive Pollywog Transport Wheelchair is as much as 20 percent lighter than most standard wheelchairs.

The chair is supplied with 24-inch wheels that are used when the wheelchair is in self-propelled mode. 

When a transport wheelchair is needed, the larger wheels remove with the push of a button. The wheelchair is also equipped with dual braking systems so that it can be used as a manual wheelchair or a transport chair.

Transfers in and out of a wheelchair can be difficult, but the removable armrests make the task much easier.

A folding backrest is also a convenient feature to have in transport wheelchairs. This lets the rider lean back for easier grooming, hair washing, and other activities. 

Since they are often used in health care settings, it’s not too difficult to find a transport wheelchair with oxygen tank support.

Transport wheelchair parts are usually available from the manufacturer or your local distributor in the event your transport chair needs repair.

In the language of wheelchair and mobility products, it’s important to realize that a transport wheelchair doesn’t really relate much to wheelchair transport. 

It’s true that transport wheelchairs are easier to load and carry in a minivan or other vehicle, but the issues related to easily transporting wheelchairs is another subject entirely.