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How to Adapt a Recliner for Right Arm Surgery

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Both traditional and power recliners come with controls on the right side. But how do you adjust a recliner if you get operated on your right arm?

Adapting a recliner in such circumstances is a lot easier than you’d think. In this post, we guide you through how to adapt a recliner for right arm surgery.

How to Adapt a Recliner for Right Arm Surgery

How to Adapt a Power Recliner

Power recliners are modern-day versions of traditional recliners that provide many additional features. But as the name suggests, they use electricity to operate.

Every feature of a power recliner can be controlled using the buttons on the right side of the recliner. The buttons are the trigger point of contact for internal circuitry. To adapt a power chair:

Materials Required

  • Wires
  • A breadboard / Veroboard 
  • Double side tape
  • Plastic tape

Tools Required

  • Soldering iron and soldering wire
  • Wire stripper
  • Hack-saw (optional)
  • Measuring tape

Step #1: Remove the Connections

Ensure that all power connections are turned off and the batteries are removed. This is essential for the safety of the person operating.

Remove the buttons that are connected on the right side of the armrest. Be careful to do this gently and without removing the marks on the buttons.

Place the buttons carefully, be sure not to misplace or lose them. Remember the functionality of each button. Write it down if necessary.

Step #2: Get the Wires Ready

Measure the length of the sitting space of the recliner. This is needed for deciding the length of wire required to shift the controls to the other side.

Cut wire of required length using the wire strippers. Do not use your teeth or other instruments to avoid imperfections. Strip off some insulating section of the wire on either end.

Step #3 Soldering the Wires

Connect the soldering iron to a power supply to start heating it.

Once the iron is hot enough, solder one end of the wire to the circuitry below the exposed button. Make sure to use different colored wires for different buttons.

Solder the other end of the wire to the Veroboard. Make sure to make the connections properly and do not short two wires while soldering.

Step #4: Complete the Circuit

Take some more wires to connect them to the removed buttons. Use both side tapes to affix the button on the Veroboard after making the connections.

Connect two wires from the Veroboard to the battery pack to provide power to the board and subsequently to the buttons.

Cover the unused exposed portions of the wires on either end with plastic tape. This is a precaution taken to avoid any short circuit or malfunctioning.

Step #5: Attach the Veroboard

Cut the unused portion of the Veroboard using a hacksaw so that it is more compact. You can use a breadboard in place of Veroboard.

Fix the compact Veroboard with the help of double-sided tape, on the left-hand side of the recliner, at a comfortable height for the user.

Switch on the power connection, and check if the circuit is working properly. Once your right arm is back to normal, you can remove the Veroboard and reconnect the buttons to the exposed circuit on the right-hand side.

Step #6: Adapting the USB Port (Optional)

Most power recliners come with a USB port, which lets you charge your phone or other electronic devices while using the recliner.

When you wish to make it adaptable for use with your left hand, you can decide to do two things.

Since changing the USB port is more difficult compared to other buttons, you can choose to keep the USB unaltered. Just charge your devices before using the recliner.

In case you want to shift your USB port as well, take good care to remove the port with care. The USB port usually has three internal wires. 

Connect them properly to the Veroboard following all precautions as mentioned above.

How to Adapt a Traditional Recliner

Adapting traditional recliners require more manual effort. Its rear mechanism must be pushed into position by applying a lot of force.

However, the footrest is operated by locking levers, whose manual control is on the right side of the recliner. Adapting a traditional recliner with only your left hand is next to impossible, so make sure you have someone to help.

Materials Required

  • Duct Tape
  • PVC Pipes
  • Screws & Nuts
  • Cloth of appropriate color (optional)

Tools Required

  • Screw Driver
  • Drilling Machine
  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape

Step #1: Estimate Required PVC 

Measure the length of the lever and the height of the armrest and determine the length of PVC pipes required.

Cover the lever with a PVC pipe of appropriate length. Use Duct Tape for the attachment so that it can easily be removed when no longer needed.

Attach a small PVC of appropriate length to the covering PVC. It should extend beyond the armrests’ extension.

Step #2: Drill and Attach

Drill the PVC and affix it with the help of screws and nuts. Use long PVC to attach with the small extension so that sufficient height is reached. Then, attach this part using screws.

Attach another pipe to the top of the PVC so you can use it as a handle. Make all these attachments using screws and nuts.

Step#3: Rotate and Check

When this arrangement is complete, you can rotate the handle with your left hand to effectively rotate the lever controlling the footrest. Rotate the handle to uplift or lower the footrest till you have reached a comfortable position.

Step #4: Take Care of Aesthetics

You can cover this arrangement with a cloth or cover of an appropriate color, so it doesn’t look shabby.

It is advisable to use some extra clothing you might have of a similar color, as it is only a temporary solution.

Step# 5: Protect your arm while using

Use your body weight to push the rear part back, and you will be in your desired comfortable position.

While pushing the rear part back, take good care of your injured arm. Ensure that any recoil from the recliner does not damage your arm.

Once your right arm is back to normal, you can easily remove the duct tape and use the locking lever to operate your recliner.

This video guide will help you understand the procedure better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Possible to Get Left-Controlled Recliners?

No manufacturer produces recliners with controls on the left-hand side. However, you can get customized recliners made by placing special orders to the manufacturer. It takes about 4-6 weeks to get it delivered to your place.

Is It Expensive to Adapt Recliners for Right Arm Surgery?

Recliners can be made adaptable for right arm surgery in a fairly economical and simple manner. While power recliners need more electronic replacements, traditional recliners require a more mechanical approach.

Is It Safe to Use a Recliner With the Right Arm Fractured?

Recliners are designed to give you the maximum possible comfort. It is safe to use a recliner with your right arm fractured; however, it can be tedious if you don’t shift the control or make it adaptable for use with your left hand.

Does Adapting a Recliner Involve Making Permanent Changes to It?

Adapting a recliner to right-hand surgery involves making temporary and straightforward additions to your recliner. Once your right hand has recovered, you just need to remove the extra circuitry or hardware, to get the recliner in its original form.

Conclusion

Recliners are specially designed to give you the maximum possible comfort. Research shows that a 135-degree angle is biomechanically the best position to rest in. It is but natural that you will use it when you are injured and stressed. However, an injury in the right hand can make utilizing the recliner very difficult.

With this guide handy, though, you should be able to make easy tweaks to your recliner to make it much easier to use with your left hand.