There are some common misconceptions about powered wheelchairs, despite being very similar in function to mobility scooters, they have some great additional features which may mean it’s a more suitable option for you and your lifestyle.
Powered wheelchairs may be a good choice if you need help getting around throughout the day or in your home. They are particularly good if you don’t feel confident getting on or out of chairs. Powered wheelchairs come as standard or can be custom-built for more specific needs.
Here are some of the key functions available with a powered wheelchair:
- Joystick or controller to operate the chair – Powered wheelchairs are most commonly operated using an arm-rest mounted joystick. This can be more comfortable if you find it difficult or too tiring to use the standard ’tiller’ or handle bar controls of a scooter which require both arms in front to operate. The arm rest on a powered wheelchair can also usually move away to one side to help with better access, for example, sitting at a desk.
- Specialist or prescription seating – As well as the basic seat and backrest options available, it is also possible to have specialist seating fitted to the chair. If you require specialist seating, or think it may help, speak to your chosen dealership about the options available.
- Tilt and recline – Often referred to as ‘tilt-in-space,’ this feature is designed to help people who are unable to sit comfortably in an upright position for long periods of time. It allows pressure on the body to be shifted along with the tilt of the chair.
- Leg elevation – Leg elevation rests usually work in partnership with the tilt and recline functions, as it can be uncomfortable to sit in different tilted positions without them.
- Seat elevation – This is an important feature to help with transferring in and out of the powered wheelchair, which allows the person more flexibility in their movement.
- Suspension and larger batteries if needed – For those who are looking to travel on more difficult terrain using their powered wheelchair, there are options available to help. These include altering the suspension and looking at larger batteries to help with longer travelling distance and maintaining battery life.
More complex and bespoke powered wheelchairs will be custom-built and will be more expensive. It is best to arrange for a Motability Scheme dealer to visit you at home, or for you to visit them at their showroom, to discuss in detail all your requirements.
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