News Release

Rotary, LDS Charities Hold Wheelchair Training

LDS Charities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Rotary Club of Metro Manila share a common direction of helping differently-abled people.  With this in mind, a Wheelchair Training was conducted on October 9-10 where 13 Rotarians received certification as wheelchair technicians.    LDS Charities helps to find people in need of wheelchairs, assess their needs and fit them properly. They plan to place 5,000 chairs this year.

Mr. John Go Hoc, director of the Joy Kiddie School where the activity was held, hosted the training.   The two day seminar also gave the technicians opportunity to do hands-on fitting to recipients waiting for their wheelchairs.

The goal of the Wheelchair Initiative is to “increase self-reliance and confidence of the recipient.” Of the world’s population, 10% have disabilities, 1% of those needing wheelchairs.  In the Philippines around 900,000 people are in need of wheelchairs.

Trainees were taught that there are three types of wheelchairs: Standard – used mainly indoors and when the patient is being pushed; Rough Rider - used outside on rough terrain and when the patient can propel himself;  Intermediate – a chair built specifically for the aid of special needs patients who need more support. The two day training focused on the Standard and Rough Rider.   The Intermediate training involves a two week class.

Technicians were taught to assess patient’s balance, interview to find patient’s needs, assess for sensitivity and pressure sores, and measure so the patient is properly fitted to the chair. Three measurements are needed.  These include seat width, seat depth, and foot rest height. Technicians were also taught about the parts and proper maintenance of a wheelchair and the proper use.  Recipients of wheelchairs are also taught these important points so that a wheelchair can last at least five years and be a benefit to the patient for as long as possible.

During the last part of the training, five persons with disabilities (PWDs) came to the workshop in hopes of receiving a wheelchair. RJ Tan, a specially trained technician was able to assess two small girls with cerebral palsy. He was able to measure for intermediate wheelchairs which will be ordered and built specifically for the girls. Unfortunately, two other PWDs were unable to receive wheelchairs since their illness did not allow them to be able to sit on a chair.

One of the recepients, Crispin,  suffered a stroke in September which affected his left side. Nieve, his wife, brought him to the venue.  He had a sad countenance until he was able to be fitted and left the training with a chair.  He desired to gain the use of both his left arm and leg.  His new wheelchair would enable him to get to the physical therapist for treatment.  Crispin and Nieve left happy and grateful for this wonderful gift.

As the training came to an end, several attendees shared their insights on the training.  Dr. Art commented that even though he had been a doctor for over 20 years, he learned much on how a wheelchair should be fitted  and used properly.  Romy, another participant, said, “The seminar was great. It gave us knowledge and taught us how to help persons with disabilities.  We now know how to fit patients who are waiting for wheelchairs.”

The Wheelchair Initiative strives to improve mobility, health, and educational and economic opportunities for people with physical disabilities. In cooperation with local organizations, LDS Charities works to improve the services provided to physically-challenged persons and distribute manual wheelchairs or walking aids appropriate to individual needs and circumstances. Using volunteer trainers, LDS Charities strengthens the capability of local organizations to assess individual needs, select and fit appropriate wheelchairs, train individuals and caregivers, provide support for repair and maintenance, and implement World Health Organization guidelines. Where it's feasible, LDS Charities seeks to support local production of wheelchairs.

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