There are important things to consider when choosing a power wheelchair. Power wheelchairs are recommended for patients who no longer have the strength or the physical limbs to operate a manual wheelchair. If it has been established by doctors that the patient is not fit for a manual wheelchair, then the next step is to consider a selection of powerchairs offering both comfort and style whilst fulfilling your needs. It is also very important that the patient’s safety is considered which is why a sturdy design is just as important as the way it looks.
Comfort and Safety
All chairs must be comfortable, sweat-resistant and fitted with protective accessories such as wheelchair cushions strong enough to prevent injuries from accidental bumps as standard. The best model should also have adjustable neck support, arm rests, foot rests and leg supports. If possible, it is best to get one that has an electric motor for raising, lowering and swiveling the user allowing for comfort when moving from the bed to the wheelchair for example.
Safety requirements also demand that power wheelchairs must have a cap on speed and a fail-safe control system. It must also have a one-click stop engine button along with good balance and easy maneuverability. It should also have a long battery life with built-in protection against the elements for when used outdoors.
Front, Middle or Rear Power Drive System?
The last thing to consider when buying a power wheelchair is the type of the drive system. You should choose based on where it will be most used. Does the patient prefer staying indoors, or does he or she like to be out and about? Power wheelchairs are available with different drive systems depending on their purpose.
Here are the main drive systems to chose from:
- Front-Wheel Drive
Wheelchairs with front-wheel drive are great for use on uneven terrains like unpaved roads and hilly streets. The drive wheels are in front of the seating area so this wheelchair pulls from the front, making it perfect for tackling soft terrains like grassy areas and farmland.
- Middle-Wheel Drive
These wheelchairs are best for easy maneuverability. With a small turning radius, it can spin in place making it ideal for use in small or narrow spaces.
- Rear-Wheel Drive
Rear-wheel drive wheelchairs are the most powerful, often best for patients who enjoy the outdoors. They have great stability allowing you to traverse rough terrains. This type of wheelchair is also the fastest and is designed for quick travel across long distances.
Amanda Walters – This article was written by Amanda Walters, an experienced freelance writer and regular contributor to Huffington Post. Follow her here: @Amanda_W84