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Power - A Wheelchair User’s Guide

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Power - A Wheelchair User’s Guide

Powered mobility solutions come in a number of guises, and you’ll most likely need to try out a few different options to see what works best for you.

When choosing a powered wheelchair, there are a number of things to consider, to ensure you find the most appropriate, and comfortable, solution for you.

  • Can you get in and out easily? Some powered wheelchairs, especially those that are more like scooters, require more leg movement to comfortably get yourself seated.
  • Are the controls easy to reach and manage?
  • Will you be using it in your home, out and about, at work, etc? Try out the turning circle of any wheelchair that you’re considering, as they can vary significantly. If you’re using the wheelchair indoors, you’ll want to know how much space you’ll need to get around.
  • Can you get it in and out of your car easily? Some powered wheelchairs can be dismantled, others can’t, but either way you’ll want to be sure that you can get it into your vehicle.

An option that addresses a few of these questions is the prospect of converting a manual wheelchair into a powered version. You keep the wheelchair that you’ve been using already, or choose to buy a manual chair that you know is comfortable and easily transportable, and add power to it.

If you need a little extra power, but don’t need everything offered by a full powered wheelchair, then a conversion might be the best option for you. Different options are available:

  • Systems like E Motion reduce the effort needed to propel yourself, so the power doesn’t replace the manual action, it just makes it much easier. This enables you to maintain muscle use, if you are still able to manoeuvre but need a little extra assistance.

  • Systems like E Fix, which fits directly onto your wheelchair, giving you a joystick control but retaining the flexibility of a folding manual wheelchair. Systems like this generally come with quick-release wheels, making them easier to transport and store

  • Systems like our SDMotionDrive, that add electric propulsion controlled by a joystick, and give you the option to have an additional control for an attendant or carer to control the wheelchair for you, should you need it.

The different options that are available make wheelchair conversions more suitable and accessible than many people realise, so if you’re looking into powered wheelchairs, it might be something to consider.

Wheelchair conversions and powered wheelchairs are battery-controlled, so when you are looking into the right fit for you, make sure you take account of the range - how far the wheelchair can travel on a single charge. Some models come with the option of a larger power pack to increase the range, so consider whether or not you’ll need that included.

You should also keep in mind that you’ll need to charge the batteries, so you should check how easy they are to plug in, and if they will take up a lot of space near a plug socket. This is another area where wheelchair conversions may offer an advantage, as the devices used to add power take up very little additional space compared to the standard manual wheelchair.

Electric wheelchairs themselves come in a variety of forms too, with options including those that can be taken off-road as well as those that can be used safely as driver or passenger in a vehicle.

You can even get a device that clips onto your manual wheelchair to turn it into a powered trike, giving you the freedom to explore the countryside at speed.

Power gives wheelchair users many options, so if you need help navigating them all, give us a call and let us help you find your best solution.

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