Caring for Your Electric Wheelchair

Finding the Right Electric Wheelchair

When looking for an electric wheelchair, there are multiple factors which need to be taken into account. This is a process you should go through with your doctor or physical therapist, and you should take the time to make the right decision. These products are fairly expensive, and if you’re not satisfied with your new wheelchair you can’t just take it back, and if Medicare or your insurance is paying for the chair, they will not pay for a replacement for several years or unless your condition changes.

Is a Electric Wheelchair Right for You?

Talk with your doctor about whether a electric wheelchair is the right choice for your physical impairment. If you are strong enough to push your own manual wheelchair without any trouble, you may not be eligible for insurance or Medicare coverage for the cost of a power wheelchair. If you need to navigate in an environment with low accessibility for a normal wheelchair, a power wheelchair may help you. Some models are equipped to pass over thresholds of between one and three inches.

If you have limited mobility but can walk using a cane, you may not need a electric wheelchair. If you can get around your own home comfortably with a cane, but need a more convenient way to travel outside, you may prefer a power scooter. Power scooters are more economical, although they are larger and harder to navigate in small areas. Heavy duty scooters are available with a weight capacity of up to 500 pounds.

A good candidate for a power wheelchair is anyone who has a serious medical problem affecting mobility in a manner which is permanent or which may worsen in the future. Anyone who cannot use a manual wheelchair or power scooter should have a power wheelchair, be it because of a lack of arm strength or mobility, or because they lack the mobility to easily enter or exit a scooter.

Types of Electric Wheelchairs

There are two different types of motorized wheelchairs. One is the electric wheelchair, which is a motorized version of a manual wheelchair, and the other is the more advanced power-base wheelchair.

The power wheelchair has the advantage of being smaller and more portable. While it lacks some of the features of a power-base wheelchair, if you are comfortable in a manual wheelchair and want something automated, this is a good design.

The power-base wheelchair is strong, sturdy, and adaptable. The seat is affixed to a powerful motorized base; heavy duty models supporting up to 675 pounds are available. Many parts are interchangeable, so you can put a variety of different seats on the base, making this a versatile option to meet any changes in your physical needs that may come in the future. These are larger and heavier, and the use of a machine may be necessary to put a power-base wheelchair in a vehicle.

Talk to your doctor about what option is best for you. An electric wheelchair can generally be customized to meet your specific physical needs as well as your preferences and taste. Take the time to compare your options before you buy. -Article by Adam Hefner