electric wheelchairs

Electric Wheelchair or Powerchair – Which should you choose? – by Eric Comforth

0 Comments 25 November 2009

Electric wheelchairs are either rear or front wheel driven. Some of them are center driven or four wheel driven. These powerchairs come in many varieties like small portable models, foldable models, and models that can be dis-assembled. Large, full-featured electric wheelchairs that are called rehab chairs are also available. Powerchairs are designed for persons who have arm and leg disablement. Such people would find the operations of hand propelled wheelchairs quite difficult.

Electric wheelchairs are fitted with electric motors that are powered by 4 to 5 ampere rechargeable batteries. These motors are outboard boat engine types. The batteries come in dry or wet types. Dry type batteries are the most preferred ones due to ease of operation and maintenance. Electric wheelchairs are also fitted with battery chargers so that plugging into standard wall outlets is easy.

Operating either a joystick or a controller usually controls electric wheelchairs. Hand controllers, chin controllers, puff/sack controllers are specifically designed for persons with varying degrees of operational difficulty. The controller is the most expensive part of powerchairs and is quite delicate. Electric wheelchairs come with several optional functions like tilting, reclining seat and leg elevators, etc. to facilitate healthy and functional operations.

Electric wheelchairs for kids are generally those used by mentally disabled children or children affected by polio. These wheelchairs are custom made to suit the age of the child as well as the usage like indoors or outdoors or both. Polio affected kids and paraplegics were using hand supports till a few decades ago. Such hand supports normally resulted in severe body strain to the kids. The advent of electric wheelchair for kids has greatly relieved such kids of their suffering.

Travel had been on the rise and persons using wheelchairs are no exception. Traveling on vacation, travel for education, employment or participation in sports meets and general commuting for shopping, etc. have become indispensable for persons using electric wheelchairs. Portable and foldable models of wheelchairs require storage space, when not being used. As such, public transports like buses, trains and airplanes specifically provide electric wheelchair carriers. Buses with low boarding platforms that can literally lift wheelchairs into the buses have also been designed to serve such people. Such platforms are electrically or hydraulically operated.

Nowadays, in the United States, sales and service facilities for electric wheelchairs are quite widespread. You do not have to go too far to buy an electric wheelchair of your choice. As these powerchairs are made-to-order types, deliveries take some time but are normally very reliable. Electric wheelchair parts repair has also become quite easy, reliable and economical due to the healthy competition between the various electric wheelchair manufacturers.

Operation of an electric wheelchair by patients or disabled persons carries a certain amount of risk. Accidents could not be avoided at one time or another. Such accidents could be minor or major. Hence, insurance companies provide both accident/life insurance policies, as well as medicare policies to cover such risks. It is always advisable to take suitable insurance policies for physical and financial protection. Electric wheelchairs and medicare go hand-in-hand for persons confined to wheelchairs.

Electric power scooters, or mobility scooters as they are called, are normally fitted with two rear wheels, a seat with a flat area to place the feet and a handlebar in the front to operate one or two steerable front wheels. Swiveling seats are also available. Electric power scooters are invariably electric powered by rechargeable batteries that could be charged from standard electric outlets. Certain models of mobile scooters are gasoline-powered. Such electric power scooters have been most welcome for persons confined to wheelchairs. They find such scooters handy for commuting to schools and colleges as well as to workplaces and shopping. Electric power scooters are normally cheaper than powerchairs. Insurance companies and healthcare agencies like Medicare prefer to insure or extend medicare facilities for people using such scooters.

Eric Comforth is a consultant who writes on many consumer topics. There is more wheelchair information at
Wheelchairs For You.

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