Rollators are routinely prescribed during geriatric rehabilitation to compensate for mobility deficits and balance. They are also used for fall protection and for increased activity.
There are, however, limitations as to who can use this assistive device. Here is a collection of checklists from different health organizations on who can use the rollator:
- American Family Physician
-Do you need one or both upper extremities for weight bearing or balance? What frequency of weight bearing is needed?
According to doctors Sara Bradley and Cameron Hernandez (in an article published on the American Family Physician magazine), if the answer to the first question is “one”, and the answer to the second question is “minimal”, then the rollator is the right device for you.
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society
-According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, this device should only be used if:
-You can walk by yourself but just need support on both sides of the body.
-You continuously hold on to walls and furniture for support.
-You have good hand and arm function to move the rollator forward when walking.
- American Geriatrics Society
According to the American Geriatrics Society, you can use this walking aid if you can support up to 50% of your weight.
A study by Vogt et al. showed that “rollators may be feasible substitutes for personal mobility-related activities and confidence enhancement during geriatric rehabilitation for a relatively moderate healthcare cost.”
Rollators are walking frames with 3 or 4 wheels. The Winnie Deluxe 3 wheel rollator walker, for instance, comes with a basket, a tray and a carry pouch. It is height adjustable. It can easily be folded with one hand. It also has lightweight solid 8″ wheels for outdoor or indoor use.
It is essential to adjust this equipment to its correct height. An incorrect height can result to pain in the back, shoulder, hand and/or wrist.
How to adjust the height
To adjust the height, simply follow these steps:
-Wear your most comfortable shoes.
-Let your two arms hang loosely on your sides.
-Ask someone to measure the distance from the floor to your wrist. Adjust the height based on this measurement.
-To check the correct height, simply hold the handle of the rollator. If you notice a 20 to 30-degree bend, then that is the correct height.
To effectively use this equipment, Bradley and Hernandez recommend that brakes should always be on and the equipment should be against a wall or any solid object before the patient sits. They also recommend that this therapeutic tool should not be used by patients with significant balance problems or those with significant cognitive impairment as this tool can easily roll forward and result in a fall.