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Shoot First, Then Ask Questions, makes for a crass bumper sticker, but is poor advice when it comes to life. And, it's horrible advice when ordering a wheelchair that is, one should never order a wheelchair, then ask questions, namely because vital questions should be asked before ordering, not after.

It seems like a day doesn't go by where an end user doesn't note, I have XYZ wheelchair on order, and don't know anything about it what can you tell me? This single question, of course, is far too late in the process, where the end user should have known all about the wheelchair prior to ordering it's basic consumerism.

Now, I know that the wheelchair ordering process can be complex, especially for new users, where emotions and an unfamiliar technology collide. However, moving through it blindly as a consumer is the biggest risk we can take. After all, a wheelchair is our mobility, and approaching the process even if it means delaying it with competency makes all of the difference, where we must take the time to fully understand the product before ordering. A provider may recommend a model. However, if you know nothing about it, putting on the brakes until you do your homework is a wise move and among the surest ways to make an informed purchase.

Fortunately, researching a wheelchair model is remarkably easy these days. Hop on the Internet, go to the manufacturer's site, and you can read everything from the specifications, to the order form, to the owner's manual and all of these are great tools in learning about specific models. Furthermore, reading peer-to-peer online forums like WheelchairJunkie, USATechGuide, or CareCure can provide invaluable feedback. With all resources combined, you can be an expert on any given model, arguably, within one hour.

Therefore, the next time you're ordering a wheelchair, don't order it, then ask questions. Rather, take the time to do some research before placing the order, ensuring that you don't just know you're getting a wheelchair, but that you know all about the wheelchair you're getting.

Published 8/2011, Copyright 2011,