Pockets for a Wheelchair

Image of a Two-Pocket Tool PouchA few months ago, a staff member at my dad’s nursing home ordered a batch of pouches meant to be attached to wheelchairs. They’re pretty sleek, but very difficult for my dad and others to use — the external pockets are flat and hard to get into, and the main zipper pocket is difficult to open and close. Worse, the slim lines of the pouch meant that it kept getting lost between Dad and the side of his chair.

Most of the more compact pocket/storage solutions I’ve seen for wheelchairs share these flaws.

I found a better solution at Home Depot. The picture above shows a “2 Pocket Nail & Tool Pouch” made by McGuire-Nicholas. It’s meant to hold tools in the large upper/back pocket, and nails in the smaller lower/front pocket.

There’s a loop across the back so that the pouch can be slipped onto a belt: I ripped out the stitches forming the loop. This left a flap that slipped neatly beneath the armrest on the wheelchair and the top of the side of the chair. You may have to loosen the screws that hold the armrest on to slip the flap through; I did. Once the flap was in place, and the screws re-tightened, the pockets were secure and stable.

Dad was very pleased to see that he could slip a book into the larger pocket. The handset for his phone fits into the smaller one. If he wanted to, he could easily carry a notebook and a pen in either pocket, too. Because both pockets have wide openings, he has no trouble slipping his hands inside. The top edges are stiffened, so the pockets don’t collapse shut, which means that whatever’s in them is always visible.

Most of these tool pouches have metal loops so that workers can carry hammers next to other tools; I had to search diligently to find one that didn’t. The metal loops are typically riveted in place, so it would be quite difficult to remove one. In addition, Dad’s inclined to bump into things with his chair, and a metal loop could have done some serious damage to his walls. Without the metal loop, this pouch flattens when mashed, and pops right back into shape.

I couldn’t find this particular pouch on either the USA McGuire-Nicholas website or the UK one, but many manufacturers make similar kits for construction workers, along with all kinds of other pockets which might prove similarly useful.