Aspects to Consider When Selecting Power Wheelchairs
Around 2.7 million people in the United States use wheelchairs. They need to take the right steps to stay healthy.
We previously mentioned that there are a number of things that people in wheelchairs must do to live healthier lifestyles. One of the most important things is buying the right wheelchair.
Having the freedom and movement afforded by power or an electric wheelchair is a great boon to the users of these devices. All you have to do is use the joystick to steer a power wheelchair, also called a powerchair, because a battery or electric motor powers it. You can relax for longer thanks to the supportive footrest and armrests, as well as the padded seat and backrest.
Not everyone can use the same power wheelchair, so there are a few things to think about while shopping for one. Powered wheelchairs can be modified to suit individual needs, so before purchasing one, it’s best to consider how and where it will be used, how you’ll get in and out of the chair, and how you’ll learn to use it.
Why Do You Require an Electric Wheelchair?
It is recommended that those in need of a wheelchair get expert advice from an occupational therapist or physiotherapist who can assess their needs and recommend the most appropriate wheelchair and seating. It would be best if you got evaluated for a wheelchair before purchasing one because there are many different kinds to pick from, and you want to make sure you get the right one for your needs. You will also want to be able to exercise in your wheelchair to stay healthy.
You may be unable to walk, sit, or stand, which necessitates a power wheelchair. Your ability to perform these tasks will play a role in determining the type of chair that will best suit your needs. Concerns about your balance or ability to stand on your feet for long periods are also possible. A power wheelchair can make it possible to resume regular daily activities that have to be put on hold because of these obstacles.
Power chairs are preferable to manual wheelchairs and mobility scooters when it comes to posture; therefore, you may need one. The high back, specialized cushions, and adjustability of this chair make it possible to maintain proper posture at the hips, knees, and neck.
Entering and Exiting
Access to the chair and the functions you require may vary depending on your level of mobility. In most cases, you won’t require help getting in and out of the chair if you can walk short distances, stand for extended periods, then sit down and back up without much trouble.
However, if you have trouble getting up from a chair occasionally, it’s best to choose a lightweight chair with features that make it easier. Seats can swivel, have armrests that pop up or out of the way, or be removed entirely to facilitate mobility. Certain chairs have height-adjustable seats that bring you closer to standing, reducing muscle tension and making it easier to transfer to and from other seats, like in a car or bed.
When not in use, the footrests on all chairs may be easily slid out of the way or flipped off the ground. By repositioning the footrests, you eliminate the potential for a slip and tumble, and you prevent the chair from toppling over if you put your weight on it.
How and Where the Chair Will Be Employed
The environment in which the power chair will be operated is a crucial consideration. It would help if you thought about how far you plan to travel in the chair, how often you plan to use it, and whether or not you plan to use it only indoors. Some chairs are designed solely for indoor usage, while others are equally at home in the great inside or outdoors. Check the chair’s range if you frequently travel moderate distances and examine the battery life if you plan to use the chair frequently throughout the day.
Consider the terrain near you when shopping for an outdoor motorized wheelchair; large sidewalks and flat streets are ideal. Consider the curbs and how the chair will handle traveling up modest inclines or hills; if you live in a mountainous location, a more powerful electric wheelchair is desirable.
While most power wheelchairs come with cushioned seats as standard, prolonged use may necessitate the addition of lower back support or additional padding to alleviate strain on muscles and joints. To ensure your comfort and support when using a power wheelchair, you may discover various cushions, seats, backrests, and supports. You can avoid unnatural slouching by sitting upright on a molded or padded seat cushion.
A belt or harness is another addition to a chair that helps with balance and keeping an elevated stance and increases the user’s sense of security. Your upper body will be supported by a harness that fastens over your shoulders and torso, and you can also secure your legs with straps.
Getting Acquainted with Your Power Wheelchair
Powered mobility devices have several advantages, but novice users risk injury because they aren’t yet proficient with how to operate them safely. Training in fundamental skills and awareness while operating a scooter or electric wheelchair has been proved to be immensely helpful in lowering the likelihood of accidents occurring. Learn the ins and outs of operating and controlling, maneuverability, awareness and safety, and the rules and regulations that apply to riding an electric wheelchair.
In addition, users need 6/24 vision or better in order to operate a powered vehicle such as a mobility scooter or electric wheelchair.
It would be best if you also thought about how and where you’ll keep your power wheelchair. A power wheelchair, like a mobility scooter, needs to be charged regularly; therefore, it’s best to keep it in a dry, secure location next to an electrical outlet. There can’t be any trip hazards or blocked exits near the spot, either.
We recommend protecting the chair from the elements (rain, wind, and heat) by storing it within a shed or covering it with a waterproof cover if it must be left outside. To facilitate loading and unloading, the storage area should be on a flat surface or have ramps installed.
It is critical to have a conversation with both your therapist and the ATP before selecting an electric wheelchair. Why? This will guarantee that the power chair you purchase is tailored to your specific requirements.