Power Wheelchairs For Quality of Life

power wheelchair

The power wheelchair industry has taken advantage of today’s technology to expand the options available to the public.  Safety remains the first consideration in the manufacturer’s design, but computerized accessories open up a world of 21st century options.  While power wheelchairs have the same basic features and operating mechanics, manufacturers present distinctly different options and considerations.

China, Taiwan and Canada are the leading manufacturers of power wheelchairs.  The industry is currently in the midst of a growing cycle.  Much of that growth is directly connected to the weight increases experienced in western cultures.

In 2004, Canada exported $1.9 billion of power wheelchair equipment to the U.S.  By 2008, that figure had increased by 114% to an astounding $4.1 billion.  Coincidentally, The National Center for Health Statistics reported that 63% of Americans are overweight and 47% of those overweight individuals are classified as clinically obese.

This increase in weight has caused the wheelchair industry to provide sturdier wheelchairs with enough power to safely transport the user.  With the availability of so much technology, manufacturers can now offer amazing computerized options that can accommodate the most challenged user.

Difficult Decisions

Having to select a wheelchair can be a difficult emotional decision.  However, once the patient decides the wheelchair is necessary, the selection process should be organized and thorough.

Factors that usually influence the decision to purchase a wheelchair are the severity of the disability, the length of the disability, the safety of the user, the ability of the user to manage the wheelchair and of course budget.  With this information in hand, the first decision is whether to acquire a manual wheelchair or a power wheelchair.

Manual wheelchairs and power wheelchairs definitely serve a purpose but cater to very different users.  Needless to say, people with power wheelchairs are generally unable to navigate the manual wheelchair.

Selecting The Power Wheelchair

In selecting a power wheelchair, the weight of the user is an important consideration.  Power wheelchairs use either a two pole or four pole motor.  For chairs that will be transporting more than 300 pounds, the larger, four pole motor will be necessary.  There are also more options that only the four pole motor can accommodate.

Power wheelchairs are designed to provide speed, power and comfort to the user’s experience.  There are numerous styles and colors from which to choose.

To select the right power wheelchair, the following factors should be considered:

  • The nature of the disability
  • Visual abilities
  • Psychological condition
  • Sitting Posture
  • Sensory Level
  • Wheelchair transfer ability
  • Amount of time to be spent in wheelchair
  • Indoor/outdoor use or indoors only
  • Budget

Power wheelchairs offer amazing solutions for just about any situation.  Keep in mind that these chairs are more difficult to assemble and disassemble than lightweight chairs.  The purchaser should also fully understand any warranties and guarantees that accompany the chair.

A power wheelchair is an investment in the user’s quality of life.  If the due diligence is performed responsibly, the user will lead a more fulfilling life.

General Information About Power Wheelchairs

Power wheelchairs are also known as electric wheelchairs or motorized wheelchairs.  Today’s high-tech chairs have evolved dramatically since the first electric wheelchairs were manufactured by two inventors; Herbert Everest, a paralyzed miner, and his friend Harold Jennings, a mechanical engineer, in 1918.

In the 1970’s, aluminum was used to build and support the frames.  This change greatly affected the weight of the chair and added more flexible maneuverability.  Aluminum also allowed for more reasonable portability.

Improved maneuverability is one of the primary reasons users select power wheelchairs.  The power wheelchair is best described as a motorized personal mobility device that has six wheels and a joystick controller that permit superior maneuverability indoors.

With front wheel, rear wheel, and all wheel drive options, today’s electric wheelchairs are ideal for indoors but can also be used outside.

Interesting Statistics

There are 54 million Americans with disabilities, mobility limitations and other impairments that are permanent.  Mobility aids and related devices are needed by 38% of those Americans.  The use of a power wheelchair allows the user to act with independence and go about their lives and careers rather than be dependent on nursing care or being bed-bound.

As the population ages and as the obesity rate continues to increase, the need for power wheelchairs will continue to rise.  Increasing neurological and rheumatoid conditions are also debilitating causes for persons who need mobility assistance.

A recent study conducted by SCI involved gathering information from 412 individuals who use wheelchairs for 40 hours per week.  Respondents were interviewed by telephone or in person.

The purpose of the study was to determine if there exists a standard protocol for wheelchair users or if more customization needs to be considered.

The results of the survey indicated the 97% of manual wheelchair users and 54% of power wheelchair users required customization for their chairs.  100% of the power wheelchair users received a chair with programmable controls.  Older users and lower income users were likely to use standard programmable power wheelchairs.

The survey indicates that the standard of care for power wheelchairs is programmable controls. Unfortunately low income individuals are unlikely to afford this necessary option.

In Summary

The advantages of the power wheelchair are many.  The mobility provided by power wheelchairs has positively impacted the user’s quality of life.  New technology has made it possible for users to acquire smaller, lightweight wheelchairs that are extremely maneuverable in the small confines of the home or office.

The mobility of these machines enables the users to interact socially, earn a living, continue their education and participate in community activities without relying on a third party.

When preparing to purchase your new power wheelchair, it  is a good idea to try to communicate with someone who uses the chair and with physical therapists who are familiar with the product.  This is just one more way to perfect your purchase and enjoy a higher, fuller quality of life.

Components of All Power Wheelchairs

The evolution of the wheelchair is astounding and shares little resemblance to the first illustrated wheelchair which is in a portrait of King Phillip II of Spain in 1595.  In 530 BC, there are records of Greeks who placed wheels on beds in order to transport the disabled.  In 525 AD, the Chinese attached wheels to chairs and various cultures have tinkered with the wheelchair ever since.

Serious production of the wheelchair commenced in the late 19th century when push rims were added for self propulsion and when wire-spoked wheels replaced wooden wheels.

The first motorized wheelchairs were built in 1918.  Herbert B. Everest, a paralyzed miner, who developed the first folding wheelchair along with his friend Harold C. Jennings, a mechanical engineer.  By the 1970’s many manufacturers began to mass produce lightweight, foldable aluminum wheelchairs.

As the Baby Boomers come of age and as the global trend for overweight populations continues to increase, the wheelchair industry can only be described as booming.  Fortunately, today’s technology has provided power wheelchairs that can provide a mobile solution for just about any disability.

The Parts of the Power Wheelchair

There are two types of power wheelchairs; lightweight and heavyweight.  Every power wheelchair has six components.

  • Frame – Most power wheelchairs are not foldable although some manufacturers do produce a foldable power chair.  The use of strong, sturdy lightweight materials has greatly reduced the weight of the chairs.
  • Tires and Wheels – Electric wheelchairs use pneumatic, semi-pneumatic or solid wheel tires.  Often the front two wheels are caster wheels.
  • The Control System – The purpose of the control system is to control the speed, the braking and turning abilities of the chair. The most common control systems are operated with a joystick, although options like push buttons, voice control and computerized head-chin are offered.
  • Batteries – Several different types of sealed lead batteries are used by power wheelchairs.  U1 group 24 batteries are the most popular because they hold the charge longer than others.  Battery chargers should be included with the purchase.
  • Brakes – The braking system is controlled by the controller.  Brakes usually lock themselves when  the chair is stationary or in the off position.
  • The Motor – Two pole motors are used for lightweight chairs while four pole motors are used for heavyweight power wheelchairs.  Today’s power chairs come with front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, center wheel drive or four wheel drive.  For chairs that will be used outdoors, four wheel or front wheel drive is recommended.

As the user will discover, there are many computerized programs that can be customized to fill a need.  Manufacturers will work closely with purchasers to come up with a highly personalized power wheelchair that can dramatically improve the user’s quality of life.

How To Buy and Finance Your Power Wheelchair

Purchasing your power wheelchair is a quality of life issue.  The first component of that decision is the expected longevity of the disability.  When getting a professional, informed decision about the nature of the disability and how long it will last, you will have valuable insight that may define the specifications for the wheelchair.

Those specifications will be influenced by a realistic glimpse into the future.  You will have to evaluate how the user’s ability to independently manage  and operate the chair over the next 12 months, 36 months or longer may change.  You will also need to be realistic about the weight of the user and how that weight may change.  Carefully consider the environment in which the chair will be used and how it will be transported from one location to another.  The chair must be designed to operate in a variety of settings.

When addressing these concerns, keep in mind that there is a power wheelchair design for just about every individual and every disability.  Manual, foldable wheelchairs are often the best solution for short-term disabilities where the user has the arm strength and mobility to maneuver the chair independently.

But, when you have decided that the user’s quality of life requires a power wheelchair, you are on the way to providing the user with an independent lifestyle that can function indoors or out. The sense of freedom empowers the user to get back in the game and be less reliant on others.

There are two basic categories of power wheelchairs; lightweight and heavy duty.  If the chair will be transporting more than 250 pounds, a heavy duty chair with a larger motor will be needed.

Heavy duty chairs are made of the same metals as lightweight chairs, but the frame, axle, suspension, braking system, wheels and battery will all be upgraded for better performance and safety.

Like any motorized equipment, the user will need to implement a regularly scheduled maintenance program.  It is important that maintenance be performed on a timely basis.  This will ensure the chair’s performance for years to come.

When you have decided that a power wheelchair is the right solution, you will now need to settle the financing.  Power wheelchairs cover a wide price span ranging up to $12,500.00.

The first thing you will need is a prescription from a physician.  If Medicare is your primary insurance carrier, you will use this prescription to file the initial claim.  Usually, Medicare will pay 80% of the cost.  If you have a secondary carrier, you should request that they pay for any gap between what Medicare will pay and the final price.

If Medicare is the secondary carrier, you must file the initial claim with the primary carrier and then wait until you are reimbursed by the carrier before applying to Medicare for the balance.

If you do not have Medicare, you will need to discuss your options with your carrier.  You will also find that most manufacturers and providers will assist with financing.  Leasing programs are available through most providers.  However, as with other forms of credit, times are tough.

In any case, you should develop a realistic budget and work with the provider to procure the best deal for your situation. Most providers are very experienced at helping new clients work through the insurance-financing end of the purchase.  Just as the power wheelchair can be customized for the user, the financing can also be tailored to suit the consumer. Choosing the best yet affordable power wheelchair like finding the right events company in Singapore who take care your very special occasion.

Getting a Power Wheelchair – What You Need to Know

If you are looking for a power wheelchair, you need to determine the specific tasks you need it to do. The most important consideration, of course, is that it moves about well.

To know what will work for you, two things you have to consider are the size and weight of the user. This is important since The client’s weight is a major factor in determining the speed and range of the power wheelchair. Basically, the less you weigh, the better range you will get. If you are on the heavier side, a smaller and slimmer wheelchair may not provide the power and range you require.

By definition, a travel chair that folds, or a small light has small batteries, because the bigger power wheelchairs are heavy and require larger batteries. Small batteries mean a lower cap on the maximum speed the power chair can produce. The occupant’s own weight factors in to affect the chair’s range and performance.

A third consideration is where you will be using your power chair. A smooth, flat surface is the easiest to navigate with a smaller wheelchair. If in your daily life you generally meet up with rougher terrain, that will mean that a larger model is a wiser choice for you. While lighter chairs may appeal, heavyweight chairs may feel more comfortable on rougher pavements.

The Hoveround brand offers many choices. It is a superb choice for power chairs. Its products fit easily through doorways and hallways. The Hoveround line of power chairs include a tote bag as well as a convenient cup holder. Models support up to 600 pounds. Hoveround provides custom fitting and training by one of its own specialists. Free delivery is included.

Hoveround offers six unique power chairs from which to choose. Each model aims to improve mobility. The wheelchairs are simple to operate, comfortable, easily maneuverable, and very reliable.

  • The popular MPV5 model gas a weight capacity of 300 pounds. It’s speed in 5 miles per hour.
  • The TEKNIQUE FWD is highly maneuverable, and comes with the color options of Black, Teal, Blue, Purple, Red, or Yellow.
  • The TEKNIQUE RWD boasts a stable rear wheel drive performance.
  • The TEKNIQUE GT has a higher ground clearance of nearly five feet, for more stability.
  • The TEKNIQUE XHD model has an extra powerful drive motor with support for more robust frames of up to 450 pounds.
  • Finally, the TEKNIQUE HD6 option offers an extra powerful drive motor with support for bariatric frames of up to 600 pounds.

Battery ranges of all Hoveround power wheelchair models are 15 – 20 miles.

Hoveround mobility specialists and the patient’s doctor can help determine the power chair most suitable for your individual needs.

In choosing the best power chair, you must also consider the cost so you can determine whether to take a personal loan or not.

Power Wheelchairs and Medicare – What You Must Know

Over the past several decades the power wheelchair business has grown. It’s no wonder considering the now-aging baby boom is set to provide a steady stream of customers as this generation succumbs to bad knees, arthritis and other health issues. Manufacturers of these chairs advertise the fact that Medicare will cover the cost of these chairs and in many cases this is true, but potential buyers should understand Medicare guidelines before they begin their search for a power chair.

A person looking for Medicare assistance in purchasing a power wheelchair must meet several qualifications. First, they must have difficulty moving around their home due to a medical condition. Additionally, they must have difficulty doing things like bathing, getting in and out of bed and dressing. Finally, it must be determined that the person can safely operate the chair or has someone available that can assist them in safely operating the chair, and the chair must be able to be used in the person’s home. All of these conditions must be met in order to qualify for Medicare assistance for a power chair. You can always get a personal loan to cover the cost of the chair, however, power chairs are often covered by Medicare so you might not even need to get a personal loan and pay for your chair out of pocket.

An in-office visit to the doctor is required before one can qualify for Medicare assistance. The doctor must provide a written explanation of the person’s medical condition and why a power chair is warranted. The doctor will also make the determination that the person can safely operate the chair. Because of the possibility of fraud, a person looking for a power chair to be covered by Medicare should make sure they are seeing a doctor who is reputable to help ensure their application is not delayed or denied.

The fact that Medicare covers the cost of a power chair is a big selling point for manufacturers. Medicare covers only 80 percent of the cost of a chair and then only if a person has met their Part B deductible. The buyer is then responsible for the remaining 20% of the purchase. Medicare also sets a limit for the cost of the chair as well, so additional options may add to the final amount the buyer is responsible for. Most private insurers will cover the amount that Medicare does not cover, but it is important for a buyer to check their coverage before committing to buy.

Mobility is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life. This is one of the main reasons Medicare has a mobility benefit. Understanding how this benefit works, and making sure to follow Medicare guidelines can help a person in their search and acquisition of a power wheelchair.

Types of Power Wheelchairs and Mobility Scooters

If mobility has become a challenge for you and you are trying to decide which power wheelchair or mobility scooter best suits your needs, there are several types to choose from. The information below may help narrow down your choices and make your decision a little easier.

Power Wheelchairs

Power wheelchairs range in price, size and functionality and come equipped with a wide range of features. They are usually manufactured with two to six wheels and are available in rear wheel, center wheel or front wheel drive. They can be used either indoors or outdoors. Power wheelchairs are steered by a programmable joystick which provides easier maneuverability in tight spaces than mobility scooters. They also have more seat position options and depending on the model, the seat may recline, tilt or elevate. Power wheelchairs run off of rechargeable batteries and the light weight versions are normally foldable for easier travel. The light weight, as well as the heavier types of power chairs, can also be tied down and transported in vehicles made for this purpose. Depending on the model, power wheelchairs can hold up to 600 pounds and range in price upwards to around $15,000.

Mobility Scooters

Mobility scooters are available in three different types: three wheel, four wheel or compact. They are easily maneuvered by a bicycle-type handle bar and are suited for indoor or outdoor use. If you plan to use your scooter mostly outdoors, you may want to consider the four wheel scooter, as it is best suited for rough terrain or steep hills. Unlike the power wheelchair, the mobility scooter is lighter and more easily disassembled for easier transport. Mobility scooters take up a lot less room than power wheelchairs. In fact, most scooters will fit in tight spaces, such as a closet, car trunk or back seat. Many models come equipped with swivel or sliding seats, flip-up armrests and a removable basket. One notable advantage mobility scooters have over electric wheel chairs is the cost. The price of a mobility scooter ranges upwards to around $5,000. Scooters have a weight capacity of approximately 300 lbs. and like the wheelchair, they run off of rechargeable batteries.

Do you need to buy mobility scooter but you have short budget? Personal loan is the solution of your problem. But before you take a personal loan see to it that you know and understand the pros and cons of it.

Important Power Wheelchair Information You Need to Know Now

Using a wheelchair to get around can be a frustrating experience. Although you can probably manipulate a manual wheelchair, certain situations will require you to ask for assistance. This can be embarrassing and limiting. A power wheelchair can help you regain your independence. Here are several reasons why you need a power wheelchair:

1. Ease of use. A manual wheelchair is unwieldy and difficult to work sometimes, especially as the day goes on and you lose strength in your arms. Everyone gets tired. Many people find that by the end of the day they have no choice but to park themselves in one place, which limits their ability to enjoy life. With a power wheelchair, you have the option of not just going from room to room in your home, you can get outside and take a ride down the sidewalk, enjoying the sunshine and getting some fresh air without wearing yourself out.

2. Rough terrain. While out and about, some areas are very difficult for a manual wheelchair to get through, even when you have someone to assist you. A power chair’s heavy-duty wheels can easily move over bumpy ground or ruts, allowing you to visit friends in the park or go to a loved one’s sporting event.

3. Independence. Perhaps the biggest reason for you to have a power chair is that it allows you to regain the independence you used to enjoy. You shouldn’t have to depend on someone to always get you from Point A to Point B. With a power chair you can live life on your terms, without waiting for anyone else. Hungry? You have the option of heading into the kitchen to fix yourself a treat. Tired? Head into your bedroom and take a nap. In a manual chair, you may feel like you are asking permission to live your life. Not so with a power chair.

4. Durability. The fact is power chairs are simply better built than manual chairs. Their wheels are made to cover different terrain, and the frame itself is built stronger. A high-quality power chair like the ones built by Hoveround can last you a very long time and will not need to be replaced. You can always get a personal loan to cover the cost of the chair, however, power chairs are often covered by Medicare so you might not even need to pay for your chair out of pocket. Purchasing a chair from Hoveround also guarantees a custom-built chair and repair service around the clock so that you will never be without your chair.

In buying a power wheelchair, you must know the different important information first, just like buying medicine so you won’t end up with regrets. For example, tongkat ali herbal medicine, there are different things to look for before buying it. You can’t just buy it anywhere.