Injuries and disabilities vary, so the most basic things to take note of when choosing a wheelchair for the disabled are the features, the functions, and the fitness.
A wheelchair can also be specifically tailored for the disabled. Let’s see how the power wheelchair functions.
A power wheelchair is a wheelchair that is operated electronically. It contains a battery pack that is usually as heavy as a car battery, and this is what enables the propelling of the chair forward or backward when controlled.
Due to this setup, a power wheelchair is almost twice as heavy as a manual wheelchair. This means that if a standard manual wheelchair weighs 200 pounds, a power wheelchair will weigh 400 pounds or a little bit more, depending on any extra fixed accessories.
Table of Contents
- Factors to Consider when Choosing a Power Wheelchair
- What You Need to Transport Your Power Wheelchair
- Getting the Power Wheelchair into Your Modified Car
- What If You Can’t Afford Any of the Following Above?
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Power Wheelchair
Some factors need to be considered if a power wheelchair is the only possible type of wheelchair that can aid the disabled.
You need to consider how the chair and its occupant will be transported from one location to the other, the required width (e.g. 24, 28, or 32) of the chair that can fit into the doorway of your home, and the management of the wheelchair.
An individual using a power wheelchair is most likely not able to use the limbs and has lost the ability to do anything alone. It might be that the individual is facing complete paralysis of most parts of the body.
Thus, the power wheelchair is a great aid in moving the disabled around the premises.
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What You Need to Transport Your Power Wheelchair
It is not quite easy transporting the disabled with a power wheelchair and might even feel burdensome to the caregiver. It requires a reasonable investment because it will be worth it in the long run.
The following are guidelines of things that need to be in order when attempting to transport a power wheelchair.
The Ideal Power Wheelchair
If the disabled person needs to get around a lot of the time, then it is best to get a detachable power wheelchair or a power wheelchair with an attached strap system.
This means that when purchasing, make sure that the wheelchair you choose has an attached four-strap system at the specific tie-down points indicated on the chair.
The detachable power wheelchair indicates that you can detach the top – which is the seat – from the wheelbase.
Related: Complete Guide On Choosing Disabled Clothing for Wheelchair Users
The Ideal Transport System Investments
You need the right equipment to easily transport power wheelchairs. Since most power wheelchairs might not be completely collapsible like the manual variants, the most important options are to input ramps or lifts into your transport solutions.
A ramp is the easiest solution for transporting your power wheelchair with a van. The ramp will already be installed on the floor of the van. All you have to do is drive your chair to the entrance of the van and right into it.
An external lift will require the vehicle to be raised a bit from the ground. It has a platform that will help lift your chair to the height of the van. The lift can always be collapsed after use and mounted up again for use.
This kind of lift is used to transfer heavy items into vans and large trucks and it has a remote control that makes it easy to use.
An internal lift, mostly found in modified minivans, uses a crane and harness system that helps to lift the wheelbase into the back of your SUV or minivan. It is mostly inserted at the trunk of your modified car.
The van should be equipped with the necessary restraint systems that will safely secure the wheelchair.
Whatever you are using to transport the wheelchair must have a wheelchair tie-down system in place because it is used to secure the wheelchair firmly to the floor of the vehicle so that it doesn’t move around during transportation and get damaged.
The Ideal Car Investment and Modifications
Investing in a car and modifying it specifically for the disabled is another fantastic option. The best car that can suit a power wheelchair is an SUV or a minivan (e.g. Toyota Sienna, Previa, Nissan Quest, or any other minivan of your choice).
So when you go to a car dealership, don’t let the attendants or salesmen convince you otherwise to get a fashionable car like a Camry and the likes as your power wheelchair will never fit in. Choose function over fashion because that is what will benefit you.
As said earlier, you can choose a power wheelchair that can be detached from its wheelbase and serve as a car seat. It should also meet the required standard of serving as a car seat when the disabled individual needs to be transported. This means that the wheelchair would be crash-tested before you start using it.
Furthermore, the passenger seat should be dissembled and a swivel base should be installed. This is where the top/seat of the wheelchair would be mounted when the disabled person is transferred into the car. So, it becomes level with the seat at the driver’s end.
When carrying out the modifications for your van, an interior auto lift can be installed in the trunk. This allows you to be able to easily lift the wheelchair base without going through much stress.
Related: How to Clean & Disinfect Your Wheelchair Like a Pro
Getting the Power Wheelchair into Your Modified Car
Dock the swivel base with the wheelchair and then slide the seat with the disabled from the wheelchair base onto the swivel base.
Disconnect the wheelbase and swivel in. Remember to wear your seat belt. Put the wheelbase into the trunk.
Since the top of the chair isn’t on the base anymore, it might not be too weighty. But if you still can’t lift it alone, then use the installed wheelchair lift at the trunk of the car.
What If You Can’t Afford Any of the Following Above?
Alternatively, you can order a taxi whenever a disabled person needs to be transported. There are wheelchair-accessible vehicles that work as taxis. So, you need not worry or bother about transportation.
You can even hire a pull-behind trailer to transport your power wheelchair as it doesn’t even require you to do anything. The wheelchair is lifted into it easily in its entirety. This means that it can accommodate any kind of power wheelchair you’re using.