What Is an Electric Wheelchair?
An electric wheelchair—also called a powered or motorized wheelchair—is a four- or six-wheel chair with a motor that runs on one or two batteries. These wheelchairs are maneuvered with a joystick and require no upper body strength. Powered wheelchair varieties range from simple, standard wheelchairs for short-term use to highly customized versions for more complex and long-term needs.
Complex rehabilitation technology, or CRT. “These wheelchairs are measured and built specifically to meet each individual’s unique needs,” This technology includes multiple positioning options, advanced electronics and controls, adjustments for orthopedic issues and accommodations for ventilators.
Key Differences Between an Electric Wheelchair and a Mobility Scooter
When people lose the ability to walk, they turn to motorized vehicles, such as a mobility scooter or a powered wheelchair. Mobility scooters are three- or four-wheel vehicles that aren’t highly customizable. Electric wheelchairs usually feature four to six wheels and can be designed to the user’s specifications. “A mobility scooter is for people who have some mobility who can transfer in and out of it,”
Who Benefits From an Electric Wheelchair?
A powered wheelchair can be a helpful alternative or necessity for anyone unable to operate a wheelchair manually. People who cannot walk due to a permanent or progressive illness that causes disability can benefit significantly from an electric wheelchair.
How to Pick the Best Electric Wheelchair for You
If you’re new to the world of powered wheelchairs, check out the following types online or at a medical supply store:
- Portable power wheelchairs are basic, light and can be disassembled for easy travel.
- Front-wheel power wheelchairs are powered by large front wheels, providing good traction and allowing room for the user’s feet.
- Mid-wheel power wheelchairs have three sets of wheels—small ones in the front and rear, and large wheels in the middle. These wheelchairs are often known for being easy to maneuver in small spaces.
- Rear-wheel power wheelchairs have small rear wheels that are powered, giving the chair an extra push from the back. This push helps users when driving over a curb or rough terrain.
- Heavy-duty power wheelchairs are built for people who weigh 0Kg to 200Kg.
Once you’ve determined which type of wheelchair would best suit your needs, consider comfort features that come standard or at an additional cost, as well as the wheelchair’s maximum weight capacity and accompanying batteries.
“The most important factor in choosing a wheelchair? Comfort,” Here are a few features to consider:
- Cushions. “We have a saying—there is a butt for every cushion and a cushion for every butt,” “All aspects of the seating system, including cushions, back supports and headrests can be customized to accommodate different sizes, postures and sensory needs.”
- Tilt and recline functions. These functions help prevent pressure sores and are especially important for older adults whose skin may be thin and bruise easily.
- Power leg rests. When used along with the tilt and recline functions, the elevating leg rest capability can help reduce leg swelling.
“The average power chair can carry up to 200Kg and run over most surfaces that a client might wish to traverse,”
“Most power chairs have two batteries and cost about Kshs. 250,000 to Kshs. 300,000 each,”
Most electric wheelchairs can travel about 10 miles on a full charge, so some people choose to charge them every night or every other night. As for average battery life, It can last from three to five years. The lifespan of a battery depends on many factors, including how often it’s charged and how much the wheelchair is used.