Install A Power Lift Toilet Seat For A Safer Bathroom

Install A Power Lift Toilet Seat For A Safer Bathroom

 

 

The toilet seat should not be overlooked as a way to help a loved one stay independent as long as possible. It also can be a location of great concern for those prone to falling or for caregivers who must help transfer their loved ones in order for them to use the toilet.

 

It may not be the household item that catches a person’s eye or thoughts while looking for hazards, but toilet seats have options available today that many caregivers are unaware of.

 

From extra padding to extra height, these specialized seats make it easier for elderly loved ones to get on and off the toilet. The industry, however, is bringing innovation one step forward with power-lift toilet seats.

 

 

Types of Power-Lift Toilet Seats

 

Spring-Powered Option Lift Toilet Seat

 

There are two main types of power-lift seats on the market. The first is a spring-powered option. It is already in an upright position when a loved one approaches it, not like the usual toilet seat. It hinges on the front and meets a person’s rear while they are standing. When a loved begins to sit back, the spring and hydraulic piston slowly lowers them to a seated position.

 

With this option, the device takes about 80 percent of the weight off the person using it. When a loved one is finished, he or she stands up independently, with the weight again being minimized by the hydraulics in the system.

 

Motorized Lift Toilet Seat

 

The second option is completely motorized, assuming 100 percent of a person’s weight. This is a great option for someone who needs full assistance.

 

It installs on the toilet and includes a hand controller for raising and lowering the seat. The controls help the seat meet a loved one in their standing position; then, with a small lean back, lowers them directly onto the toilet. When the person is finished, the controller again is available to lift a loved one to a complete standing position. For larger people, a dual-motor option can be bought for additional support.

 

A power-lift toilet seat is available in either a free-standing or wall-mounted product. The free-standing seats are able to be used bedside, which some people may prefer for flexibility.

 

Check With Your Medical Insurance Company Regarding a Lift Toilet Seat

 

The good news, if you are considering a purchase, is that if a physical deems this kind of support medically necessary, many insurance companies will help cover the cost. A caregiver can do some easy research to find out their loved ones’ benefits.

 

 

 

Would a Power-Lift Toilet Seat Be A Good Option For You?

 

Time in a bathroom is typically a very personal thing. Many loved ones may feel embarrassment needing assistance, especially if they still are very mentally aware and simply experiencing the standard bending/reaching issues that often come with age. With more progressive needs, an aide still must assist the person in getting on and off a toilet.

 

From another point of view, a power-lift toilet seat is an ideal option for someone in recovery from a surgery or illness. It helps people return home and stay home longer. From knee issues to back concerns, a long list can be made of times when a power-lift seat is beneficial. Toileting is one thing that no person can ignore, and a little help can go a long way for someone who just needs a boost.

 

Safety is of utmost importance to all those involved in caregiving. All power-lift toilet seats come with weight recommendations, but most are between 250 to 500 pounds. There are also bariatric versions available. The power-lift toilet seats help caregivers and loved ones alike, by promoting independence and dignity, while preventing injuries.

 

Falls are a big safety risk for people with uneven gait, or wobbly knees. Elderly people are especially at risk, as any caregiver will attest. A power-lift toilet seat tremendously minimizes that danger.

 

While these products were designed originally for hospitals and other care facilities, they are now available for the consumer. Caregivers are thankful for fewer falls and trips to the emergency room, and loved ones are grateful for regaining a sense of self-worth and respect.

 

 

The TILT™ Toilet Incline Lift (once known as the Tush Push from Phillips Lift Systems)

 

 

 

EZ-ACCESS Tilt Toilet Lift

I recommend the TILT™ Toilet Incline Lift (once known as the Tush Push from Phillips Lift Systems) as the best solution to help prevent falls in the bathroom while using the toilet.

This device lowers users to and from the commode.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The TILT™ Toilet Incline Lift provides comfort and safety along with the functionality of a heavy duty commode lift chair. This lift is compatible with both standard and elongated toilet seats.This toilet lift accommodates users 5’2” to 6’4” and bowl heights from 14” to 21”, and has a weight capacity of 325 lbs.

 

 

 

Tilt Down Seat Up

 

 

 

 

The TILT™ is equipped with Companion Control to allow the user or caregiver to easily operate the seat with the push of a button.The TILT™ is designed for easy installation and comes with a 2-year warranty.  The TILT™ is made in the USA.

 

 

 

 

Features of the TILT™ Toilet Incline Lift (once known as the Tush Push from Phillips Lift Systems) :

 

  • The unit is lightweight, yet strong and durable.
  • Easy installation – typically less than 15minutes.  The TILT™ Toilet Incline Lift is compatible with both standard and elongated toilet seats.
  • The TILT™ offers great stability, as the TILT attaches directly to the bowl, rather than pushing the unit over the commode.
  • The TILT™ moves the user 7-1/2” forward, which is ideal for clearing obstructions and rising from the bowl. This also positions the user’s shoulders over their feet for optimal balance and positioning.
  • Arms remain at a constant positioning angle, which keeps the elbow of the user slightly bent to maximize their ideal strength position in order to exit the seat. The low angle of the unit allows for easier lateral transfers from mobile devices, chairs, transport chairs, and bath seats.
  • In the down position, the arms are lower than the seat for a slideboard transfer. The hand grips feature non-slip covers.
  • The assembly is protected by a plastic shield, which can easily be removed for cleaning.
  • Unit accommodates users 5’2” to 6’4” and bowl heights from 14” to 21”.

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

How to Buy an Elevated Toilet Seat

Your Guide to Shower Chairs and Bath Benches

Guide to Bathroom Grab Bars and Hand Rails

Help Your Older Adult Move From the Wheelchair to the Toilet

How to Buy a Power Lift Recliner Chair

Minimize Your Senior’s Falling Risk Now!  Here’s How …

Easy Home Improvements for Mobility Issues

Best Hemorrhoid Treatment Product Reviews

Modifying Your Bathroom For Safety

How to Reduce the Risks of Heavy Lifting for Caregivers

Choosing the Best Transport Chair

Choosing a Medical Walker

Choosing a Walking Cane

Find the Right Power Wheelchair

Preparing For Your Hip Replacement Surgery

Top Pillows to Relieve Neck Pain

Preparing For Your Elderly Parent to Move In

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Tips for Managing Foot Drop

 

Tips for Managing Foot Drop

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foot drop is a muscular weakness or paralysis that makes it difficult to lift the front part of your foot and toes.

It’s also sometimes called drop foot, and can cause you to drag your foot on the ground when you walk.

Foot drop is a sign of an underlying problem rather than a condition itself. This could be muscular, caused by nerve damage in the leg, or the result of a brain or spinal injury.

Foot drop usually only affects one foot, but both feet may be affected, depending on the cause. It can be temporary or permanent.

 

 

Causes of Foot Drop

 

Foot drop is the result of weakness or paralysis of the muscles that lift the front part of your foot. This can be caused by a number of underlying problems:

 

 

Muscular Weakness

Muscular dystrophy is a group of inherited genetic conditions that cause gradual muscle weakness and can sometimes lead to foot drop.

Foot drop can also be caused by other muscle wasting conditions, such as spinal muscular atrophy or motor neurone disease.

 

 

Peripheral Nerve Problems or Neuropathy

Foot drop is often caused by compression (squashing) of the nerve that controls the muscles that lift the foot.

Sometimes, nerves around the knee or lower spine can become trapped. The nerves in the leg can also be injured or damaged during hip replacement or knee replacement surgery.

Foot drop can sometimes be caused by nerve damage linked to diabetes (known as a neuropathy).

Inherited conditions that cause peripheral nerve damage and muscle weakness, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, can also sometimes lead to foot drop.

 

 

Brain and Spinal Cord Disorders

Foot drop can be caused by conditions that affect the brain or spinal cord, such as:

  • stroke
  • cerebral palsy
  • multiple sclerosis

 

 

Diagnosing Foot Drop

Foot drop is often diagnosed during a physical examination. Your GP will look at the way you walk and examine your leg muscles.

In some cases, imaging tests, such as an X-ray, ultrasound scan or computerized tomography (CT) scan, may be required.

Nerve conduction tests may be recommended to help locate where the affected nerve is damaged.

Electromyography, where electrodes are inserted into the muscle fibers to record the muscles’ electrical activity, may also be carried out at the same time.

 

 

Managing Foot Drop

 

If you have foot drop, you’ll find it difficult to lift the front part of your foot off the ground. This means you’ll have a tendency to scuff your toes along the ground, increasing your risk of falls. To prevent this, you may lift your foot higher than usual when walking.

Recovery depends on the cause of foot drop and how long you’ve had it. In some cases it can be permanent.

Making small changes in your home, such as removing clutter and using non-slip rugs and mats, can help prevent falls. There are also measures you can take to help stabilize your foot and improve your walking ability.

 

These measures include:

  • physiotherapy – to strengthen your foot, ankle and lower leg muscles
  • wearing an ankle-foot orthosis – to hold your foot in a normal position
  • electrical nerve stimulation – in certain cases it can help lift the foot
  • surgery – an operation to fuse the ankle or foot bones may be possible in severe or long-term cases

 

 

Ankle-Foot Orthosis for Drop Foot

 

An ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) is worn on the lower part of the leg to help control the ankle and foot. It holds your foot and ankle in a straightened position to improve your walking.

If your GP thinks an AFO will help, they’ll refer you for an assessment with an orthotist (a specialist who measures and prescribes orthoses).

Wearing a close-fitting sock between your skin and the AFO will ensure comfort and help prevent rubbing. Your footwear should be fitted around the orthosis.

Lace-up shoes or those with Velcro fastenings are recommended for use with AFOs because they’re easy to adjust. Shoes with a removable inlay are also useful because they provide extra room. High-heeled shoes should be avoided.

It’s important to break your orthosis in slowly. Once broken in, wear it as much as possible while walking because it will help you walk more efficiently and keep you stable.

 

 

 

 

 

Electrical Nerve Stimulation for Drop Foot

 

In some cases, an electrical stimulation device, also known as a TENS machine, can be used to improve walking ability. It can help you walk faster, with less effort and more confidence.

Two self-adhesive electrode patches are placed on the skin. One is placed close to the nerve supplying the muscle and the other over the center of the muscle. Leads connect the electrodes to a battery-operated stimulator, which is the size of a pack of cards and is worn on a belt or kept in a pocket.

The TENS stimulator produces electrical impulses that stimulate the nerves to contract (shorten) the affected muscles. The stimulator is triggered by a sensor in the shoe and is activated every time your heel leaves the ground as you walk.

For long-term use, it may be possible to have an operation to implant the electrodes under your skin. The procedure involves positioning the electrodes over the affected nerve while you’re under general anesthetic.

 

 

Recommended:   The TEC.BEAN Rechargeable TENS Unit

 

 

TEC.BEAN Rechargeable Tens EMS Unit with 16 Modes and 8 Pads Pulse Impulse Pain Relief Massager

 

 

Video:  See Foot Drop Treatment Using a TENS Device

 

 

 

Surgery For Drop Foot

 

Surgery may be an option in severe or long-term cases of foot drop that have caused permanent movement loss from muscle paralysis.

The procedure usually involves transferring a tendon from the stronger leg muscles to the muscle that should be pulling your ankle upwards.

Another type of surgery involves fusing the foot or ankle bones to help stabilize the ankle.

Speak to your GP or orthopedic foot and ankle specialist if you’re thinking about having surgery for foot drop. They’ll be able to give you more information about the available procedures and any associated pros and cons.

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Choosing a Medical Walker

Choosing a Walking Cane

What Caregivers Should Know About Sciatica Pain

Top 10 Massage Chairs Reviewed

Preparing For Your Elderly Parent to Move In

Hands Free Shoes That Make Dressing Easier

10 Simple Products to Help With Getting Dressed

10 Simply Fabulous Arthritis Aids

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

The Right Lighting Prevents Falls

Guide to Bathroom Grab Bars and Hand Rails

Minimize Your Senior’s Falling Risk Now!  Here’s How …

Easy Home Improvements for Mobility Issues

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Preparing For Your Hip Replacement Surgery

 

 

Hip replacement is a life-changing step to end chronic pain and restore your quality of life. However, this is a major surgical procedure with an intense recovery period. It is wise to be as prepared as possible. Here are some things to consider.

 

 

Preparing Yourself For the Surgery

You want to face surgery with the strongest and healthiest body possible. Your surgeon will likely recommend attention to the following items in the weeks before surgery:

 

 

Nutrition 

 

Eat well balanced, nutritious meals. However, the time just before surgery is not the time to diet or to add any new over-the-counter herbs, supplements or medications. Eat healthy foods and drink adequate water in the time leading up to surgery. Protein in particular will help your bones and muscles recover from surgery.

 

 

 

Medications

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-rKez3ThyHlw/VYOqAVMRldI/AAAAAAAAI54/NrfwOEwnbxI/s1600/medicine-bottle3.png

Make a careful list of all medications you take, including prescription drugs and any over-the-counter items you might purchase at the supermarket or drug store. Include vitamins, herbs and other supplements. You will need to show this list to your physician and other caretakers before surgery. Your doctor may recommend tapering off and stopping certain medications before your surgery date, as they can impact bleeding during the operation or interact with anesthesia or other medications you will be given during and after the surgery.

 

 

 

Stop smoking 

 

Smoking impacts your blood vessels and lungs, and can slow your recovery from surgery.

 

See What Are the Most Effective Stop Smoking Aids?

 

 

 

Exercise

http://fitafterfifty.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/old-man-exercising.jpg

 

Ask your doctor about any exercises you should do before surgery. Exercises to strengthen your upper body will help you get around with crutches or a walker after surgery.

 

 

Video:  Hip Exercises for Before Your Surgery

 

 

 

Certain exercises can help maintain the strength of your leg and hip muscles.  You can practice them now to help prepare for your post-surgery rehabilitation.

 

 

Video:  A Guide to Recovering After Hip Replacement Surgery

 

 

 

 

 

Rest 

Get adequate sleep in the period before your surgery. You will want to be as rested as possible to face the impact of a major surgery.

 

Attitude 

Undergoing joint replacement surgery is a very big undertaking. For awhile after surgery, you will be more disabled than you were before and will need help from others just to perform basic tasks. You will also have to deal with pain after joint replacement surgery. You’ll want to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for these realities, gathering your inner strength and focusing on the ultimate outcome of better mobility. You might consider acquainting yourself with meditation techniques or use CDs or downloaded guided meditations that can ease your anxiety about surgery and focus your mind on the positive.

 

 

Blood Donations 

Major surgery almost always involves some blood loss. Talk to your doctor about the option of donating your own blood ahead of surgery, to be used if you need a transfusion. These donations must be completed well in advance of your surgery date.

 

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/imageserver/dmv/images/plates/decals/DPplacardtemp.gif

 

 

Get a Disabled Parking Permit

 

You can get a temporary (6 month) disabled parking placard from the DMV to use while you recover from surgery. Be sure to get the forms, have your doctor sign them, and get the placard from DMV before your surgery.

 

 

 

Preparing Your Home For the Upcoming Surgery

 

When you return home from surgery, you will be dealing with post-surgical pain and will be less mobile than before while your joint heals. Your doctor and hospital staff will give you guidelines for preparing your home.

 

 

 

These guidelines may include the following:

 

  • Assess the number of stairs, doorsills and other impediments to get in and out of your home and to get around inside your home. Your physical therapists in the hospital will train you in handling stairs.

 

  • If you live in a two-story home, you should create a sleeping space downstairs for the first weeks following surgery.

 

  • Measure the width of your doors and hallways. You should have at a minimum 30 inches of clearance in all areas you must navigate at home during the first few weeks. Remember that you will be using a walker and need to be able to turn around with the walker.

 

  • Remove all throw rugs, cords and other obstructions to allow a wide path through the rooms of your home. You must avoid falling or slipping while your joint is healing.

 

  • Make sure you have a chair with sturdy arms that you can use to help stand up and sit down.  Consider a power lift chair.

 

See this Guide to Power Lift Chairs

 

  • Measure your chair and/or couch and acquire cushions or firm pillows you can sit on to ensure your knees are always slightly lower than your hips. While you recover, you will not be able to bend your hip joint any tighter (closer to your body) than a 90 degree angle. You will also need a special, higher seat for the toilet and a shower or bath seat.

 

  • Place objects you will need frequently – clothing, cooking utensils, etc – in new locations so you can reach them without bending down or reaching up.

 

  • Look into assistive devices. You will need certain assistive devices to help you use the toilet, bathe, dress yourself, pick up items, and get in and out of chairs and your bed.  Equipment most often used includes walker, shower chair, raised toilet seat, sock aid, and a reacher.

 

See Your Guide to Shower Chairs and Bath Benches

See Choosing the Right Medical Walker

See 10 Simple Products to Help With Getting Dressed

 

Recommended Equipment

 

 

 

 

Preparing Your Caregivers and Loved Ones for the Surgery

 

When you first leave the hospital, you will need the help of others to perform basic activities like bathing, dressing and managing household chores like cooking and cleaning. Arrange for a family member or friend to be available to stay with you for the first week or two.

 

If you live alone or have no one who can fill this role, consider going to a specialized rehabilitation facility after discharge from the hospital. Your hospital should have a list of these facilities. You may want to arrange a visit ahead of time. Admission to a facility may be dependent on your insurance policy. Please review your insurance policy coverage beforehand.

 

 

Pain After Hip Replacement Surgery

 

Pain after joint replacement surgery is undoubtedly one of the things people fear most about the procedure. This is understandable, but pain after surgery can and should be managed. Pain control maximizes your ability to participate in therapy and recover as quickly as possible. Throughout your recovery, doctors, nurses and therapists will ask about your pain level, and it’s essential that you provide as much detail and honesty as possible.

 

 

Pain at the Hospital (Before and After Surgery)

 

While you’re still at the hospital, you should discuss your pain control options with your nurses and doctors.

 

  • Let your healthcare providers know as soon as you begin having pain.
  • Take your pain medication at regular times. Most pain medication taken by mouth needs at least 20-30 minutes to take effect.
  • Rate your pain using the 1-10 pain scale. (Reporting your pain as a number helps the doctors and nurses know how well your treatment is working and whether or not to make any changes.)

 

A number of pain control options are available, including:

 

  • Patient controlled analgesia (delivered through your IV)
  • Oral medications prescribed by your doctor
  • Pain pumps inserted at or near the surgical site during surgery
  • Temporary nerve blocks administered prior to surgery by your anesthesiologist
  • Ice, heat and other no-medicine options.

 

 

Common Questions about Pain after Surgery

 

 

Q. Could I become addicted to the pain medication?

 

A. It is rare to become addicted to medicine used for pain control. Addiction means a person is taking a medicine to satisfy emotional or psychological needs rather than for medical reasons. Addiction is often confused with “physical dependence”. Physical dependence occurs after you have been using a narcotic for prolonged periods of time. It is a chemical change in your body causing withdrawal symptoms when the medicine is abruptly stopped. This can be avoided by gradually reducing the dosage over several days. Physical dependence is not addiction.

 

 

Q. Could I build up a tolerance to the pain medication so it stops working?

 

A. For some medicines, after a person takes the same amount for a long period of time, the body doesn’t respond as well to the same amount. Larger or more frequent doses of medicine are needed to obtain the same effect. This is called “tolerance” and it sometimes happens in people who take narcotics for pain control over a long period of time. Following your surgery expect to take pain medication for a short period of time.

 

 

Q. What if I have side effects from the pain medication?

 

A. All drugs have potential side effects. Not everyone who takes a medicine will experience side effects. Some common side effects of narcotic medications are drowsiness, constipation, and nausea. Always discuss any side effects with your healthcare provider.

 

 

Q. What if I don’t take my pain medication?

 

A. You may not recover as quickly. Pain medication allows you to stay mobile and helps you get the most out of your exercises. Pain causes increased fatigue, which also slows recovery. Pain adds stress to yourself and your caregivers.

 

You may also be interested in:

How to Buy an Elevated Toilet Seat

Choosing the Right Transport Chair

Caregivers Need Sleep – Here’s How to Get it

How to Give a Sponge Bath in Bed

Shower Chair and Bath Bench Guide

All About Grab Bars and Hand Rails for Safety

Prevent Bed Sores

Caregivers – How to Reduce the Risks from Heavy Lifting

Help for Painkiller-Induced Constipation (OIC)

The Most Effective Stop Smoking Aids

Adjustable Beds Guide and Reviews

Should You Get a Hospital Bed for Home Use?

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

 

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Mobility Scooter Buying Guide

Mobility Scooter Buying Guide

 

Invacare Lynx L-4 Microportable Scooter Invacare Lynx L-4 Microportable Scooter: Blue

 

Investing in a mobility aid such as a mobility scooter is often one of the first steps people take when preparing to age in their own home. Mobility scooters allow seniors to enjoy the freedom and independence of leaving the house on their own accord and complete daily tasks such as doing the groceries, paying the bills, and much more.

 

 

 

However, choosing the correct mobility scooter is not such a simple task. The market is flooded with a variety of makes and models, each of which have different features to cater for different needs.

In this article, I’ll discuss some of the biggest factors that influence a buyer’s decision when choosing a mobility scooter either for personal use, for a loved one, or for a patient, and I’ll also take a brief look at two of the most popular models.

 

 

3-Wheel Mobility Scooters vs 4-Wheel Mobility Scooters

 

The most common mobility scooters on the market currently have either three or four wheels. Both three-wheeled and four-wheeled models come with their own benefits, and choosing between the two is highly dependent on the individual’s needs.

The general consensus is that three-wheeled mobility scooters offer greater maneuverability compared to their four-wheeled counterparts. They also tend to be lighter and more spacious due to the fact that they only have one wheel positioned in front of the user, making them a great solution for people who are tall, prone to leg stiffness, or suffer from aching legs.

Three-wheeled mobility scooters also feature a tighter turning radius, making them ideal for use indoors or in tight spaces. They can also be used in light outdoor conditions, and most three-wheeled scooter models will come with headlights, tail lights, and turn signals for safe use on roads and sidewalks.

However, if you, your loved one, or your patient are looking for a scooter that can be used predominantly outside, then a four-wheeled model may be the best way to go. Four-wheeled mobility scooters are more stable than three-wheeled models, simply due to the fact that they are evenly balanced at the back and front end of the scooter.

They also tend to be more rugged and durable, and have more power and reach higher speeds than three-wheeled models, but they are generally not as maneuverable. Four-wheeled mobility scooters are better suited for outdoor use because they are more stable and can be used on a variety of terrains, and also come equipped with the necessary road safety features such as headlights, tail lights, and turn signals.

 

 

Mobility Scooter Sizes: Compact, Mid and Full Size

 

Another major (and obvious) difference among mobility scooters is their size. Choosing the right size for a user depends primarily on how and where they plan to use the scooter, as well as their individual needs. There are three main sizes currently available on the market:

 

Compact mobility scooters are super lightweight and are great for users who require a scooter that can be transported easily. Most compact models can be folded without the need for extra tools, and can easily be lifted onto a bus, car, or other mode of transport.

As they tend to only come in three-wheeled models, compact mobility scooters have a tight turning radius, but are not rugged enough to handle curbs or rough terrain, meaning they are not really suited to be used outdoors. They also tend to have smaller batteries, meaning they will have a shorter travel range and less power than mid-size or full-size scooters.

Compact scooters are perfectly suited for travel, and for use in apartments, condos, houses, or any other indoor environment that features tight spaces.

 

Mid-size scooters are generally available in both three and four-wheeled models, and are still smaller than full-size scooters, making them a great choice for all-round use. Unlike compact scooters, they CANNOT be folded, but they are still light enough to be lifted into a minivan, SUV, or truck.

Mid-size scooters are not as maneuverable as compact scooters and are not ideal for use in an apartment or condo. However, they still have a small enough turning radius to be used in shopping malls, grocery stores, etc. They are also rugged enough for light outdoor use, and can tackle small curbs and slightly rugged terrain.

As they are larger than compact models, mid-size mobility scooters also tend to have larger batteries, meaning they have a larger travel range. While the weight capacity of mid-size scooters varies, they tend to peak at about 250lbs.

 

Full-size mobility scooters tend to reach the highest speeds and travel the largest distances on a single charge. They also support more weight, and bigger motors and tires mean that these scooters can be used on rough terrain.

Due to their size, they are not suited for indoor use, and they also lack the maneuverability to be used in areas that have tight corners or spaces. They may not fit into some SUVs or minivans, and tend to be very heavy. However, they are perfect for outside use in parks and acreages, and for patients who want the freedom to make long trips and do not require a scooter to move around once they’ve reached their destination.

 

 

Questions to Ask Yourself:

 

Now that we’ve discussed the main differences between the main types of mobility scooters currently on the market, here are a list of questions you may want to ask yourself in order to help you decide which scooter is right for you:

 

  • Do I need a scooter to move around my home or small areas like shops and malls, or do I need it to make longer trips to the supermarket, to visit friends/family, etc?
  • Do I need a scooter that can be easily transported in a car, van, SUV, or even public transport?
  • Do I plan to use the scooter indoors or outdoors?
  • Will I need a scooter that has enough power to go uphill?
  • What kind of equipment will I need to take with me when I use my scooter?

 

 

Mobility Scooter Reviews and Recommendations

 

 

Titan Folding Three-Wheel Lightweight Electric Mobility Scooter Tzora Titan 3

 

The Tzora Titan 3 Wheel Mobility Scooter impressed me with its folding capabilities, because using a device that can be easily stored and transported is fundamental when it comes to achieving the highest comfort.

 

 

 

 

The Tzora Titan 3 Wheel Mobility Scooter, a product with a great portability that is recommended for people who want to attend local events, but also for those who like to travel by plane. Using this unit will help you continue to do the activities that you like, as it is great for indoor and outdoor use, and it comes with an entire list of reliable features.

Besides sporting a sleek and modern appearance, the Tzora Titan 3 Wheel features a lightweight design, ensuring easy maneuverability, and allowing it to be transferred easily into a car, a train or an airplane.

Facilities and Comfort

The Tzora Titan 3 Wheel Mobility Scooter sets itself apart from other important brands with its incredibly comfortable features. Given that it incorporates a Memory Foam seat that is 22″ wide, you don’t have to worry about experiencing discomfort.

The unit’s engineering features a four point seat structure, which ensures a better stability than a unit that comes with a center seat post. Due to its center of gravity, a center seat post can easily become unsafe on inclines, and the unit can become quickly unstable, so the Tzora Titan’s four-point design improves stability on inclines by 45%.

This unit comes with extra safety features, as it integrates a full light package: left and right turn signals, front headlight and running lights, rear tail lights and reverse tail lights.

This 3-wheel scooter has large rear tires, which means that it ensures excellent traction and smooth rides, even when it is used on an uneven surface with hills or ramps.

 

Technical Specifications

The weight capacity featured by the Tzora Titan 3 Wheel Mobility Scooter is  300 lbs, while the scooter’s overall weight is 141 lbs. This ultra lightweight product measures 55″ Length x 24″ Width x 38″ Height, and it integrates a 39″ turning radius. It runs on 12V – 26Ah batteries, and it can range up to 19 miles.

The battery light indicator will keep you informed about the battery life, making it easier for you to monitor your device and ensure that it won’t run out of power when you most need it. The maximum speed offered by the Tzora Titan is 8 mph, so comparing with similar products that you can find on the market, this unit will not allow you to lose any time on the road, as its main goal is to help you enjoy life without wasting any minute.

 

Ease of Use

Given that it comes with a folding frame and a folding delta tiller, the Tzora Titan 3 Wheel Mobility Scooter features a great portability, especially since its heaviest component weighs just 49 lbs.  It can fit in any car’s trunk, and it can be transported from one place to another easily.

Its batteries packs, which are located in the back section, can be simply removed by lifting them up, as there are no cables or wires for you to disconnect, because the terminals connect automatically, so you won’t be required to make special adjustments.

Very maneuverable, the Tzora Titan enables you to maintain an active and spontaneous life, as it can be disassembled and folded in just a few minutes, without involving any physical efforts. This unit can separate into multiple pieces that can be easily stored, so no matter how small your place is, you can be sure that you can keep this unit out of your sight when not in use.

 

Price and Warranty

The Tzora Titan 3 Wheel Mobility Scooter is listed at Amazon here.  It comes with a 16 months manufacturer’s warranty. 

If you want to maintain your scooter in the best conditions, you have to use a tarp when keeping it outdoors, which will prevent moisture and particulate matter from getting into the internal mechanics.

A surprising demise of the two batteries can be more than inconvenient, as it can leave the user in a really precarious situation. So, to prevent this type of problem, and you must make sure that you protect the batteries from extreme temperatures, and you must avoid overcharging them, as that might cause them serious damage.

 

 

Buzzaround Lite 3 Wheel Scooters Seat Size: 18" W x 16" D

The Buzzaround brand is well known for producing efficient and durable mobility scooters. The BuzzAround Lite 3 Wheel Mobility Scooter is one of their latest models.

Unlike its predecessors, the Lite model features numerous improvements which allow you to dissemble it for easy storage, to remove its battery for a comfortable recharge and much more. Furthermore, this scooter has the highest torque of any scooter in its category.

 

 

However, it lacks some sophisticated convenience features and its range its pretty week. Nevertheless, lets take a closer look at it and see if it can turn out to be a value purchase for anyone.

 

Facilities and Comfort

Most mobility scooters are very easy to drive on a clear lane but have difficulties going uphill or handling themselves on problematic terrain. However, this is not the case of the BuzzAround Lite 3 Wheel Mobility Scooter which can easily climb inclined areas and can comfortably take turns even on grass of gravel. The scooter can be used both indoors and outdoors.

Its compact 3-wheel design allows the user to drive the scooter even through narrow spaces. For the user’s convenience, the scooter also features an average sized front basket which can be used for carrying traveling necessities such as a purse, a bottle of water and much more.

As far as comfort goes, this scooter features an improved, more comfortable seat with upgraded armrests which can be flipped-up for easy transfer. The scooter also features an auto grade carpet on the floor and a modern finish. The overall body has a combination of Vermillion red, Sahara arctic blue shades. The black seat is 15″ wide and 14″ deep.

 

Technical Specifications

This scooter comes with an off-board battery charger, quick release batteries, an electronic speed control and a programmable controller. The scooter has a 250 pounds maximum weight capacity and a 4 mph maximum speed. It is powered by a Sealed Transaxle, motor 24 VDC and features a rear-wheel drive.

The main problem with this scooter is the fact that it only has an 8 mile range. In all fairness, there are a few scooters on the market, such as the Pheonix HD 4 Wheels Mobility Scooter, which can range up to 15 miles with a single battery. Furthermore, the Pheonix HD 4 Wheels Mobility Scooter also allows the user’s to add a second battery which allows the scooter’s range to reach 30 miles.

The Pheonix HD is also in the same price range as BuzzAround Lite 3 Wheel Mobility Scooter. This being said, I am not impressed with the Lite scooter’s 8 mile range.

 

Ease of Use

Mobility scooters are designed in order to help people with mobility problems be independent. However, most scooters can be very challenging for this type of people. Since you can’t actually use them for large distances, you need to store them in your car truck until you reach your destination.

Most of them are very inflexible and can only fit in large trunks. However, the BuzzAround Lite 3 Wheel Mobility Scooter can easily be dissembled in order to fit in any car. The dissemble process is very simple. All you have to do is pop off the seat, pull of the battery and take the frame apart. In these three simple steps, you will dissemble the scooter in 5 lightweight pieces that can easily be carried even by elderly people. The heaviest part weights only 32 pounds.

Safety Features

For optimal safety, this scooter is equipped with electro-mechanical brakes and 8″ Foam filled non-pneumatic tires. Despite having an unsatisfactory range, I have to admire this scooter for its excellent maneuvering capacity. It features a 31″ turning radius, a 62.75″ pivot turn, a 39″ three point turn and a 28″ corridor turn. Its 2″ ground clearances offers it a very good stability.

In order to be as safe to use as possible, the scooter also comes with a control panel which allows the user to handle back-lighting, a good speed gauge which offers throttling control and a horn.

 

Price and Warranty

The price of the BuzzAround Lite 3 Wheel Mobility Scooter is $849. The scooter’s price includes the batteries and a the charger.

As a product made in the U.S.A, the Lite scooter abides by high levels of quality and durability. It also comes with a One Year In-Home Service Contract warranty. The electronic parts are covered by a 2 year warranty and the frame is covered for a lifetime. Furthermore, most of its distributors offer free shipping on this scooter.

 

 

The Shoprider Sunrunner 4 Wheel Mobility Scooter comes equipped with many features and facilities. However, it integrates a turning radius that won’t allow you to make tight turns, and it can’t be broken into pieces for easy transporting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shoprider Sunrunner 4 Wheel Mobility Scooter is a powerful device that can help disabled people become more active and independent.  It is recommended for both indoor and outdoor use, and it ensures comfortable rides that will get users as far as they have to go.

According to many customers reviews, this machine has a sturdy construction, which ensures great durability, and it also has a long range for delivering the best support and assistance.

 

Facilities and Comfort

When it comes to purchasing a reliable mobility scooter, it is important to consider the comfort that it can offer you. Giving that you are going to spend a considerable amount of time in your scooter, you must opt for a seat that can eliminate pressure and offer sufficient support for your back. The Shoprider Sunrunner 4 Wheel Mobility Scooter incorporates a deluxe padded chair that can slide and swivel for getting off and on the scooter easier. It also allows you to adjust the height to provide enough room for your knees, and the best part is that it comes with a high ground clearance.

At 3 inches, it can easily be used on uneven sidewalks and surfaces, and it enables you to travel across non-paved terrains without worrying about unseen obstacles, or damaging the unit’s motor. Furthermore, the tiller and the  flip-back armrests can be adjusted to our personal preference.

This scooter comes with a spacious basket for meeting all your storage needs, and it has many safety features that can help you avoid dangers and unpleasant situations. Therefore, a headlight and a rear view mirror are included to improve your visibility.

 

Technical Specifications

The Shoprider Sunrunner is a motorized scooter that has a 300 pounds weight capacity, and a 5 mph top speed. Although it might not be very fast, it can help you move quick on areas that are meant for walking, so that you won’t waste any time while trying to get to your destination. In other words, you can get across a crosswalk faster than regular people, and you won’t have to worry about not catching the elevator before the doors close.

Another benefit that you can obtain by purchasing this device is that it delivers an impressive range, as it can travel 25 miles per charge. Therefore, you will not be exposed to the risk of being stranded every time you take your scooter outdoors, but you will be able to relax and enjoy your rides instead.

The 50 inches turning radius and the four-wheel design prevents the scooter from making tight turns, which might block out your options, however, its construction provides more stability than devices that can make quick turns, and its 10-inch pneumatic wheels can deliver the smoothest rides. Furthermore, the 22-inch base width helps you get your scooter easier into small indoor spaces.

 

Ease of Use

The Shoprider Sunrunner 4 Wheel Mobility Scooter can deal with inclines very easily. Unlike units that can travel up only a 6-degree slope, this machine can climb an 8-degree grade. Although it might seem like a small difference, it allows you to have access in places where you couldn’t get before.

Considering its compact folding seat, you can store your scooter quite easily. This product measures 49 x 22 x 38 inches, and it weighs 180 pounds, but given the fact that it can’t break down into pieces, you will have to remove the middle seats of your car in order to transport it.

 

Price and Warranty

The Shoprider Sunrunner  price can be viewed on Amazon here, and it is backed up by a one-year warranty for the frame, drive train and electronic elements. Furthermore, the company offers a six-month warranty for the battery, which is typical for these type of products. So, you will get enough coverage to convince yourself that you made a good choice.

 

Invacare Lynx L-4 Scooter Red

 

 

Despite the fact that it comes with a low distance range, the Invacare Lynx L4 4-Wheel Mobility Scooter can surprise you with other effective features. The thing that we liked the most about this unit is that it can be adjusted to anyone’s needs.

 

 

 

 

Facilities and Comfort

The Invacare Lynx L4 4-Wheel Mobility Scooter was designed to help individuals suffering from mobility ailments by offering them the chance to travel to their favorite places without needing the assistance of another person. This practical machine can facilitate a customizable and comfortable ride, as it comes with features that increase its overall performance.

The fact that its armrests and the seat’s height can be adapted to your needs represents a great bonus. Based on the fact that you will spend a considerable amount of time using it, you should have the possibility to make all the adjustments you need to feel more comfortable when driving.

Another convenient feature is that unlike other units which integrate only three wheels, this product comes with 4 wheels, providing more stability and easier control on inclines.

However, although it can handle surfaces with humps and bumps easily, the distance from the base to the floor measures only 4.5″, which means that it might encounter problems into going over high obstacles. Still, for those who have difficulties lifting their legs, a low scooter is the best solution for their problem.

 

Technical Specifications

The manufacturers of the have tried to create a device that provides all the features required to offer a smooth ride. This product can give you the functionality of the L-3 model power scooter with the performance and strong look of a 4-wheel unit. Its 360-degree rotating chair can give a whole different perspective to users with different levels of mobility, while its 300 lbs capacity makes it perfect for individuals of different sizes.

Still, comparing this device with other handicap scooters, we can notice that this unit is constrained by a 7 miles range. While most scooters can claim a battery charge of 20 miles, the Invacare Lynx L4 has a low distance range, which can negatively impact your independence. Still, if you plan to use this product only indoors, or if you don’t like long travels, you might find it very effective.  

If you decide to use it for long driving, you can opt for extra batteries and you can obtain a better range by using an off-board or on-board charging system.

The Lynx L4 4-Wheel travels at a maximum speed of 5 miles per hour, so you can be confident that you will reach your destination right on time. It measures 39.8 x 20 x 36 inches, and it weighs 112 lbs, which means that it can be easily maneuvered, and the seat has 18″, so it can fit users of all kind. Its 51″ turning radius and its flat-free wheels ensure a great driving experience, while its 8″ incline capability provides a safe ride.

 

Ease of Use

The Lynx L4 4-Wheel is a lightweight product, and can be easily disassembled into 5 pieces, and stored anywhere you want in the house. When you have to transport the unit, you can break it down into elements that can fit in a car, so its design offers you great transporting possibilities that don’t require the use of special scooter lifts or scooter carriers. All you have to do is follow 4 simple steps to disassemble and reassemble the unit, and you are good to go.

 

Price and Warranty

Although other devices feature a better drive range, it is one of the more affordable mobility scooters (see the price at Amazon here).  It is available in blue and red, and it comes with a 1 year warranty on the electronics, frame and trans-axle, meaning that you will have plenty of time to convince yourself that you made a good choice.

 

 

Breeze S 4-Wheel Luxury Electric Mobility Heavy Duty Scooter with Batteries

 

The Breeze S 4-Wheel Luxury Heavy Duty Scooter comes with a modern, comfortable seating, and it combines a nice design with functionality in a great way. This heavy duty  scooter is larger than other units available, with a weight capacity of 350 lbs, but it is also very fast, and allowing you to do all the activities that make you happy without wasting any time or worrying about battery life.

 


 

The Breeze S 4-Wheel is among the safest devices available, featuring the most advanced safety system in the world.  It offers exceptional comfort and easy control and enhanced style. The manufacturer, Afikim Electric Vehicles, has taken every small detail into consideration with the to ensure driver safety and comfort, including state-of-the-art electronic controls, advanced shock absorbers, reinforced chassis and fully adjustable orthopedic seats.  

Combining the capacity to offer stability for varying terrains with the ability to make tight turns, you will obtain a machine that can facilitate better travel times and more comfortable rides.

 

Notable Features Include:

  • Advanced electronic system that includes programmable drive controller and LCD display.
  • Ergonomically designed tiller is adjustable to meet the drivers’ exact requirements.
  • Full round suspension and shock absorbers delivering levels of stability never seen before.
  • Powerful LED front & rear lights which dim at standstill to save battery, indicators and audible horn
  • Fully active suspension, with true shock absorbers for added comfort

 

Technical Specifications

Besides integrating a large suspension system, the Breeze S 4-Wheel includes an incredible 360-degree swiveling chair, which has a 350 lbs weight capacity and a 18″ seat width. Furthermore, the unit’s overall length is 52″, while its overall width is 26″, and it weighs 269 lbs. The 67″ turning radius on the unit impacts its mobility in a great way, but the most impressive thing is that the machine can work at an incredible speed of 9,3 MPH, enabling you to move very fast, especially since it features a 25-mile battery range. Another great advantage that you can get by purchasing this unit is that it comes with an energy-saving option, which is used for turning off the brake light after 5 seconds of idling, preserving the battery.

 

Price and Warranty

Despite its  price tag, you will get an incredible value, which is reflected in its safety properties, power and reliability. You can view the price at Amazon here.  The Breeze S 4-Wheel Luxury Heavy Duty Scooter is backed up by a standard 2 years warranty, which means that you will have plenty of time to test its functionality.

 

 

Spitfire 1420 EX Travel 4-Wheel Scooter

Whether you’re interested in a unit that offers more safety features or one that offers more stylish, adjustable features, you can’t go wrong with the Spitfire EX 1420 4-Wheel Mobility Scooter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facilities and Comfort

While most people are disappointed with the fact that some units don’t provide enough room for the feet, with the Spitfire EX 1420 4-Wheel you have nothing to worry about, because it offers additional space, allowing taller users to feel comfortable, as well.

This machine comes with customizable features, as it integrates flip-up padded armrests with reflectors. You can also adjust the angle and height of the armrests, which is a great comfort feature.

Due to its practical size, this compact scooter can be used both indoors and outdoors.

 

Technical Specifications

The Spitfire EX 1420’s sturdy components ensure a great durability, while the 180° swivel seat allows you to obtain superior mobility. 

Furthermore, with this device, you have the possibility to increase battery millage, as it gives you the chance you to choose between two different types of batteries, enabling you to have a say in the way that your unit operates. So, depending on your preferences, you can opt for the 12AH battery, which offers a distance of 9 miles, or you can use the 21AH battery, which offers a range of 15 miles.

Another great advantage that you can get by purchasing this model is that it incorporates an adjustable tiller, allowing you to put the controls right where you want them.

With a maximum incline of 12 degrees and a 48” turning radius, you can be confident that you will enjoy a great functionality, which will give you the possibility to do the things that you love the most without needing any assistance.

This unit’s overall dimensions are 35” H x 20” W x 40” D, while its seat measures 17” W x 16” D. Furthermore, it has a 300 lbs capacity, and it features a maximum speed of 5 mph.

 

Ease of Use

The Spitfire EX 1420 4-Wheel Mobility Scooter can split into five pieces, which makes it easier to be transported from one place to another. Moreover, giving that its heaviest component weighs only 28 lbs, it can be disassembled and put back together in just a few minutes without using any special tools, ensuring easy storage.

 

This lightweight scooter is very simple to maneuver because it can get through any aisle, and its large, front-mounted basket allows riders to go shopping and carry anything they want in the most comfortable conditions. Also, the fact that the chair swivel in any direction is very helpful, so you will get a unique combination of utility and comfort.

 

Price and Warranty

he Spitfire EX 1420 4-Wheel Mobility Scooter is considered one of the most affordable units on the market, (see the price at Amazon here), but you won’t have to give up any comfort or features for the price.   

The main structure of the scooter, which is the frame, comes with a lifetime warranty, while the electronic components are backed up by a 14-month warranty. There is also a six month warranty on the batteries.

 

http://www.clker.com/cliparts/H/E/q/z/Y/g/black-underline-swirl-hi.png

 

You may also be interested in:

Find the Right Power Wheelchair

Choosing a Medical Walker

Choosing a Walking Cane

Choosing a Transport Chair

Getting Your Wheelchair Into the Car

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

If you would like to explore the idea of writing your own blog, you can read more about how I learned to write, launch and improve my blog here.

 

 

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Caregivers Can Reduce Risks of Heavy Lifting

 

Caregivers Can Reduce Risks of Heavy Lifting

 

 

 

A caregiver has more to be concerned about than merely the well-being of their loved one; their own emotional and physical state must be a priority.

 

Part of a caregiver’s self care is learning how to safely transfer a loved one, whether between chairs, beds and baths.

 

 

Many opportunities are available for a caregiver to injure themselves during such tasks, and consequently be of no help to the one they must assist.

 

Much of a caregiver’s work may include daily routines such as bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting, feeding and others. Excessive bending and lifting are physically demanding, and can make a caregiver feel tired and taxed.

Muscle tension, backaches, sore neck and headaches are only a few side effects of a caregiver’s job. As author Mary King says in Caregiver Safety for Moving & Managing Patients, “Sore muscles are one thing, but a chronic back injury, painful hernia or ruptured disc can cause major problems beyond the medical complications.” 

A caregiver can learn how to efficiently help a loved one with some simple lifting, transfer and assistance tools.

 

 

Safe Lifting For Caregivers

No matter a caregiver’s strength and physical endurance, without proper lifting techniques, the rest is useless. The first tool for a safe lifting experience is making a plan! Never go into a transfer without first “walking” through it mentally.

A caregiver should know where they are going and how to get there.  Have the person positioned properly. Make sure the area is clear and free from interference. Position any assistive equipment in order to provide the optimal support to both caregiver and person being assisted.

 

 

 

The Importance of a Gait Belt

 

Proper use of a gait belt can reduce the struggles involved with this task and lower the risk of back injury.

 

 

A gait belt is an assistive device which can be used to help safely transfer a person from a bed to a wheelchair, assist with sitting and standing, and help with walking around.

 

 

See Also: Safe Transferring from Wheelchair to Toilet

 

 

It is secured around the waist to allow a caregiver to grasp the belt to assist in lifting or moving a person. When used properly, the belt protects the care recipient from falling and also protects the caregiver from injuring his or her back as they lift or move the care recipient.

 

 

A gait belt is usually 1-½ to 4 inches wide, and 54-60 inches long. The belt is made out of canvas, nylon, or leather with a buckle at one end. You can purchase a gait belt at medical supply stores, large pharmacies, online (e.g. Amazon), or even stores like Walmart.

 

A standard gait belt has a metal buckle that has loops and teeth. Thread the belt through the teeth of the buckle and then put the belt through the loop to lock it.

 

A quick-release gait belt has a plastic buckle that snaps into place to clip the two ends together.

 

 

 

http://www.wrightstuff.biz/assets/images/categories/gait-transfer-belts-slings-1.jpg

 

 

A gait belt should be used if the care recipient is partially dependent and has some weight-bearing capacity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some benefits of using a gait belt:

 

  • Provides assistance to the caregiver in moving an individual from one place to another. Gait belts can also be used to help raise a care recipient without straining the back.

 

  • Allows a caregiver to help stabilize a care recipient who loses his or her balance while walking. The belt acts as a handle that allows a caregiver to easily grasp onto the belt and stabilize the care recipient.

 

  • Helps protect the care recipient and caregiver from unnecessary injuries.

 

Be extra careful if the care recipient has a feeding tube, catheter, or medical issues involving their abdominal area. Consult with a physician about proper lifting under these conditions to find out if using a gait belt is safe.

 

Medical Gait Belt, Soft Nylon Transfer Belt With 6 Handles And Quick Release Buckle, Machine Washable - Back 4" Front 2" High Design For Maximum Comfort - Ideal To Ambulate Patients Safely

 

I recommended the Medical Gait Belt; it is made of soft Nylon, and had 6 handles and a quick release buckle.  It’s also machine washable.

 

 

 

 

For proper lifting techniques, I recommend the book Caregiver’s Handbook, profiled in this article below, which has excellent detailed diagrams and tutorials on lifting and transfers.  

 

Some basic lifting tips:

 

  • Make a plan.
  • Do not over exert.
  • Stand close with your legs shoulder-width apart to keep balanced.
  • Bend your knees as far as comfortable.
  • Let your legs do the work: Lift with your leg and back muscles.
  • Lift slowly; do not jerk.
  • Avoid twisting.
  • Don’t bend at the waist, but keep your back and neck straight
  • Face the person you are helping, positioning them close to you
  • Wear support, non-skid shoes
  • Never have someone grab your neck for assistance.

 

 

 

The Transfer Process

If a loved one is in bed (one of the most common and challenging transfers) and needs help moving to a different location, the process below is a step-by-step instructional.

 

If transferring to a wheelchair, the chair needs to be parallel to the bed, and the wheels of the chair locked. Before touching a loved one and performing any movement, it’s important that a caregiver explain what they are going to do.

 

After a short explanation, eliminating any surprises, the next step is getting the person to a seated position. If they are not strong enough to do this independently, a caregiver can place one arm under their loved one’s legs and the other arm under their back and lift up. They must lift from the legs, not back. Then, pivot and swing both legs over the edge of the bed.

If applicable and able, always transfer the person to their stronger side. An example the Strength for Caring Web site gives is if a loved one has had right hip surgery, they will most likely be able to help the most if transferred to the left.

 

Next, a caregiver should instruct and assist the loved one to scoot to the edge of the bed. Let a loved one use as much strength as they can to help themselves. A caregiver can then use the gait belt, by placing their arms around the loved one’s hips and grabbing to the belt.

 

Helen Pereira, a physical therapist, recommends asking a loved one to lean forward, bringing their weight over their feet. Use the belt and their strength to lift to the feet. A good hint here is for a caregiver to begin a rocking motion, to gain momentum. The caregiver should still be in front of the loved one while he or she is coming to a standing position and stabilizing his or her knees against those of the one being assisted. This provides the most stability for both participants. After lifting carefully together, then take small steps and lower to a sitting position in the chair, or other destination.

 

Practice makes perfect, and after a caregiver performs a few proper transfers, he or she will be a pro!

 

 

 

Patience

 

Patience is one thing a caregiver needs to have with any transfer.
The Family Caregiving Alliance (FCA) suggests that a caregiver allow their loved one to finish what they are doing before beginning a transfer.

Many times a caregiver will unintentionally rush because of their own pending commitments. This attitude is frustrating for a loved one who can sense another’s angst and hurried pace.  Especially if a loved one is memory or brain impaired, this sense of urgency must be curtailed. The FCA suggests a caregiver allows their loved one time, saying for example: “Mom, after you finish that last bite of cereal, we’re going to get you dressed and ready to see your friends.”

The other side of the emotional assistance a caregiver can show is respecting a loved one’s “reality”. Caregiving is a big responsibility and taking on transfers is no exception. It may take longer to get a loved one up and going for the day if they are confused, argumentative or just tired and not ready for the tasks at hand. As a caregiver, never force a situation. It will only make the transfer more challenging and tense, leaving room for error and injury.

Leave and come back after a few minutes, the FCA suggests. And, if a loved one still resists being transferred, a caregiver must weigh the pros and cons of moving forward. If it’s a simple question of taking a bath or not, it can probably wait another hour or even day. However, never leave a loved one in soiled undergarments, or lying down for hours at a time to develop bed sores. The loved one’s health is a priority!

 

 

 

Other Assistive Devices

 

Durable medical equipment is a big help with all transfers, of any kind.

In addition to gait belts, this kind of equipment includes products such as walking canes and walkers.  Often, having a stable object for a loved one to grasp and assist in standing is the key for a successful transfer.

See Also:

 

 

Many other important safety devices can be purchased without a doctor’s prescription, including raised toilet seats, plastic shower chairs, transfer discs or cushions, and portable seat lifts.  These items can provide invaluable assistance in daily activities for both the caregiver and the patient.

 

 

A pivot disc is an item that not every caregiver is aware of; it is designed for assisted or unassisted transfers by individuals with limited or no ability to pivot.

Individuals with upper body strength can use the Pivot Disc to accomplish independent transfers, and it’s an excellent caregiver assistance tool.

I recommend the Safety Sure® Pivot Disc (weight capacity: 400 lbs)

 
 
This video shows how to to use the pivot disc properly:

 

 

 

Essential Medical Supply Adjustable Hand Bed Rail with Floor Support

 

 

 

A bed rail can also be particularly very useful for transfers from bed to a walker, wheelchair, or simply to a standing position.

To make sure bed rails are appropriate for your situation, read my post Risks of Bed Rails:  Should You Install Them?

 

Also Recommended:  The UPEASY Seat Assist

Uplift UPEASY Liftchair Lift Chair Liftup Seat UPE 3

The UPEASY Seat Assist is a mechanical lifting cushion that will ease an individual into their seat, as well as help them up. Its lifting action releases gently as they begin to stand, lifting up to 80% of their body weight, as needed. Seat Assist requires no electricity to operate, so it’s convenient to take everywhere you go. It’s also adaptable to fit most armchairs and sofas, so it can be quite handy to have one of these in the home, to use when and where needed.

 

 

 

Patient Resistance to New Devices is Common

 

Sometimes introducing a new assistive device makes people uneasy. If a loved one resists any assistance or assistive devices, a caregiver may need to have a conversation with them, explaining the risks to both people if these tools are not used. It is important for your loved one to feel in control and that they are making independent decisions for their care.

 

 

 

Don’t do it Alone

 

A caregiver can and should rely on the strength of their loved one to assist in lifting and transferring. Solicit your loved one’s help by having them shift their weight, move their arms to make the assisting easier, or push up with the strength they do still possess.

Remember that a small amount of help from the one being transferred equals a lot less work for a caregiver.

If a loved one is unable to help and too heavy for one person to life, seek help. A caregiver should never put themselves in harm’s way during a transfer. 

If it’s a non-emergency situation and a caregiver finds themselves unable to physically assist a loved one, they should call the local fire department and request a “fireman’s assist,” says the Family Caregiving Alliance. The local squad will come to the house and help. And, of course, in any emergency, call 911.

A caregiver who remains calm and collected, explains the process to their loved one, and uses simple safety measures will be able to complete almost any transfer with ease.  Soon they will be moving a loved one with confidence and control.

 

Recommended Reading:

Caregiver’s Handbook

A compassionate and comprehensive resource for anyone who needs to take care of an elderly person at home, the Caregiver’s Handbook is an invaluable reference that offers constructive, illustrated guidance for first time and beginning caregivers, including information on essential first aid, advice on selecting professional help when needed, and dealing with a variety of common conditions.  Read reviews.

 

 

 

 

Please help fellow caregiver readers by sharing your lifting and transferring thoughts and tips in the comment section below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

How to Choose Adaptive Clothing

Blue Emu and Australian Dream – Which One is Better?

Helping Your Older Adult Move From Wheelchair to Toilet

Shower Chairs and Bath Benches

Safety Grab Bars and Hand Rails for the Bathroom

Risks of Bed Rails – Should You Install Them?

Caregivers and Morbid Obesity Issues

Dealing With Caregiver Anxiety

The Drunk Caregiver

Would a Power Lift Chair Help in Your Home?

Caregivers Must Prepare for Emergencies – Here’s How

Patient Lifts and Slings for Safety and Comfort

10 Simple Products to Help With Getting Dressed

Guide to Power Lift Chairs

How to Prevent Bed Sores

Patient Lifts and Slings for Safety and Comfort

Find the Right Power Wheelchair

Choosing a Transport Chair

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Patient Lifts and Slings For Safety and Comfort

 

Patient Lifts and Slings For Safety and Comfort

 

 

 

Patient lifts and slings are an essential part of home health care when a person requires help getting out of bed, getting up from a sitting position or when they need help moving from one spot to another.

 

 

Patient Lifts have provided patients and caregivers alike, with a more efficient means of transportation. Patient lifts allow an occupant to be effortlessly lifted from a bed and transferred into a wheelchair, onto a commode, or bath, all without any strain by the caregiver or risk by the occupant. Patient lifts offer safety assistance to both the occupant and the caregiver.

 

From manual patient lifts to electric patient lifts to scales and slings, there are a wide variety of effective patient lifting devices available in today’s medical supplies market which affects how the lift operates for the caregiver and occupant.

 

There are a number of factors you should take into consideration before making a purchase, including how much you are willing to spend, where is the lift going to be used, how much the occupant weighs and how often you will be using the lift.

 

By answering the questions below, you can best assess the type that will best suit your needs.

 

The basic questions to ask before buying a Patient Lift are:

 

  • Is the lifting to be done from a seated or a prone position?
  • Does the occupant have a lack of extremity use or spasticity?
  • Can the patient utilize the provided hand grips?
  • Is collapsible design a necessity?

 

The primary advantage of all the general purpose patient lifts is that they enable a single caregiver to meet a wide range of safe patient handling requirements for patient and caregiver injury prevention.

Patient Lifts can widely be classified into 4 categories:

 

  • Manual Patient Lifts
  • Power Patient Lifts
  • Stand-Up Patient Lifts
  • Heavy-Duty Patient Lifts

 

Other Patient Lift Resources include:

 

  • Lifting Slings
  • Lift Accessories

Power Patient Lifts

Electric Patient Lifts come equipped with enormous power enabling them to accommodate a wider range of patients.

Electric Patient Lifts are often able to hold up to six hundred pounds and feature power-operated bases that allow for customized structuring.

They feature an ergonomic design, which makes patient transfers much easier and less stressful for both the patient and the caregiver. Additionally, electric patient lifts also offer long, padded handles with various grip choices to accommodate users of different heights.

Further, electric patient lifts operate via a rechargeable battery pack or plug-in cord and also include a manual override feature in case of a power outage. Due to these features, electric patient lifts are more expensive than their manual counterparts.

Stand-Up Patient Lifts

Stand-Up Patient Lifts are designed for the caregiver to assist patients in standing from a seated position, dressing or undressing, and/or moving the patient from a wheelchair to a commode or bed.

Stand-Up lifts are ideal for patients who are too weak to stand without assistance. Stand-up patient lifts are preferred over general purpose floor lifts because they provide the patient a greater degree of independence and participation and at the same time promotes circulation and joint range and improves clinical outcomes by enabling the patient to stand for a period of time.

Heavy-Duty Patient Lifts

Heavy-duty Patient Lifts are capable of lifting up to 1000-lbs. Heavy-duty Patient Lifts are ideal homecare equipment for transferring bariatric patients from bed to wheelchair, wheelchair to commode or bath etc.

The base legs are generally adjustable and open for additional stability during transfers. The legs of these lifts can also easily close to make the lift as narrow as possible for hallways and doorways.

Additionally, Heavy-duty frame mounts and steel tubing outline such structures in order to guarantee optimum strength to lift heavy loads. All Bariatric Lifts are electrically operated and use 24V rechargeable batteries.

Patient Lift Slings

Patient Lift Slings are easy for the caregiver to use and provide secure support to the patient. These durable, comfortable slings are available in a variety of styles and fabrics to meet specific patient needs.

Getting the right Lift Sling is a vital part of purchasing and using a Patient Lift. Both normal patient lifts and stand-up patient lifts require that the sling is purchased separately, because patient lift slings are available in multiple sizes and styles to meet specific needs.

Each sling is constructed of durable materials which resist deterioration from exposure to moisture or laundering. Patient Lift Slings are available in a variety of styles like full-body sling, sling with toileting cut-out, commode sling and divided leg sling.

 

 

Installing patient lifts and slings can prove invaluable to the comfort of both the caregiver and the patient, increasing the quality of life for those who have advanced mobility issues, and enabling those who are temporarily or permanently disabled to remain in their homes rather than having to relocate to a nursing home.

 

With so many variables at play, choosing the right patient lift can be a daunting task and an uninformed purchase can cost time and money. Luckily, I’ve put together a guide to help you choose the right lift for any user’s unique needs.

 

 

 

Floor Based Patient Lifts

 

 

Floor based patient lifts can be moved from room to room and are spatially economical. We offer several models ranging in price and designed to support a wide range of weight. The Hoyer Deluxe Power Patient Lifter features handle grips to reduce back strain and a mechanical lever for non-powered lowering. This model also provides the patient with more leg-clearance and comes equipped with castor bumpers to prevent wall and furniture damage. This patient lift is designed to support up to 400 pounds, folds for compact storage and can easily be moved from room to room.

 

If you require a standing lift with the utmost support, the Reliant Stand-Up Patient Lift is ideal. This lift supports up to 350 pounds and the adjustment features adapt to a range of body sizes. This patient lift features multi-functioning slings that allow for quick toilet transfers, stand assist and full supported seated transfers.

 

 

 

 

Tension Mounted Overhead Patient Lifts

 

 

Another great in-home lift is the Guardian Voyager Portable Overhead Lifter. It has a lifting capacity from 220-440 pounds, enabling care givers to easily perform safe lifting with less effort, keeping them from getting injured themselves.

 

Guardian Voyager Portable Overhead Lifter (for Easytrack Systems) The Guardian Voyager Portable Lifter when used with optional Easytrack Systems, offers a revolutionary breakthrough in overhead lifting and transfer technology for the home.

 

Overhead ceiling lifts solve the problems that traditional floor-based lifts have presented such as difficulty maneuvering over thick carpeting, turning in tight spots, and getting into and around bathrooms.

 

Although ceiling lifts have been available, they typically require permanent and expensive modifications to the home thus turning it into an institutional setting. Now, with the Guardian Voyager and Easytrack Lift, caregivers can easily transfer family members or loved ones from a bed to a wheelchair, wheelchair to bath or any where else within the range of the Easytrack System without permanently defacing their homes.

 

A Guardian Voyager with Easytrack System can be the enabling factor that allows the home to be the primary place for care. And because the system is portable and can be setup without tools in as little as 5 minutes, it offers the flexibility to travel.

 

The Voyager Portable Lifter is the lightest portable lift on the market today. Weighing only 12 pounds with the battery, the Voyager can lift up to 440 pounds.

 

Its lightweight design allows for portability and easy attachment to any permanent mount or the Easytrack trolley if using one of the Easytrack systems. The smooth, quiet operation ensures the person being transferred is safe and comfortable. The patented Quick Release feature prevents having to lift the Guardian Voyager onto the rail, as well as saves time and battery power.

 

 

 

Features:

 

  • Can be used with optional 2, 3, and 4 post track configurations
  • Heavy-duty Lifting Capacity – 440 lbs
  • Lightweight – only 12 lbs. (including battery)
  • Lightweight and portable – only 12 lbs.
  • Quick easy set-up in less than 5 minutes
  • Push button feature to Remove and rechargeable Battery pack
  • Quick Strap Release Lever – fast winding/unwinding of Strap before and after transfer operation
  • Electronic soft-start and Soft-stop

 

 

Patient Slings

There are a variety of slings available for rent or purchase depending on patient needs and the type of lift you decide on. Look slings that offer full head and neck support and double padding for comfort, and are machine-washable. Quick-drying mesh fabric makes them ideal for bathing, and handles and strong nylon and polyester straps help to prevent falls. The Hammock 6 Sling was designed with additional straps to prevent falls of agitated or non-cooperative patients.

 

 

With four sling points and a padded head support, the Extra Large Patient Lift U-Sling with Head Support by Drive Medical is a valuable accessory to a floor lift.

 

 

The solid-design, polyester product does not require an optional chain or strap and can withstand a weight capacity of 600 pounds. The 58″L x 49″W sling includes 4 or 6 cradle points.

Renting Or Buying Patient Lifts and Slings

If you temporarily need patient lifts and slings you may prefer to go with patient lift rentals. Many patient lifts and slings are available to rent as well as purchase.

Also, it is always crucial to investigate the options and familiarize yourself with the safety features of your patient lifts and slings before purchase, and contact the supplier if you have any further questions.

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Caregivers and Morbid Obesity Issues

How to Reduce the Risks of Heavy Lifting for Caregivers

10 Simple Products to Help With Getting Dressed

Guide to Power Lift Chairs

Finding the Right Power Wheelchair

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Help Your Older Adult Move from Wheelchair to Toilet

Help Your Older Adult Move from Wheelchair to Toilet

 

 

 

Caregivers, save your back!

 

Since family caregivers don’t get formal training in safe lifting and transfer techniques, it’s easy to hurt yourself while helping others. These instructions will allow you to confidently help your older adult move from wheelchair to toilet while also saving yourself and the wheelchair user from injury.

 

Important Tip:

For Wheelchair Transfers involving a wheelchair and toilet. I recommend having a raised toilet seat with arms; a raised toilet seat with arms helps ease this type of wheelchair transfer because it helps the wheelchair user by giving them something to hold onto for support, this will allow the transfer to be made with extreme caution and safety.

http://www.oshatrain.org/courses/images/623/623_2_2_toilet_seat_riser.jpg

 

Instructions for proper transfer from wheelchair to toilet

 

1. Starting Transfer From Wheelchair To Toilet

The wheelchair user should be currently sitting in a wheelchair, in a position where it is easy for them to transfer from the chair. When the user is ready, you should make sure that the brakes are engaged on both sides of the chair before attempting a transfer.

The wheelchair user should be currently sitting in a wheelchair, in a position where it is easy for them to transfer from the chair. When the user is ready, you should make sure that the brakes are engaged on both sides of the chair before attempting a transfer.

 

2. Removing Footrests & Clearing a Path To Transfer

The next step would be to remove any type of components of the chair that are in the way of an easy transfer. That would include footrests (if they are removable), leg rests, and/or any extra accessories or components that are removable. Some wheelchairs do not have the feature to remove the footrests, others allow you to “swing away” the footrests to the sides so that they are not in the way when attempting a transfer.

 

3. Caregiver Positioning & Precautions

You should be in the right position to attempt a wheelchair transfer. This means that if you are the caregiver, you should make sure that you are ready to support the user’s weight in case you need to assist them during the transfer.

The caregiver should also keep in mind which side of the user is their weak side; this allows you to know which side they are more likely to lean or fall over if that occurs.

The weak side of the user is determined by finding out which side they have a weakness in their extremities. This may include their arms & legs, depending on their current condition.

If you are able to determine their weak side, you can position yourself so that your knees are between their legs, ready to support the knee in case they need help. Your hands should be positioned so that you are ready to support their hip area as well.

 

4. Wheelchair User Shifting

The user should now be in position to lift from the chair. This means that they are positioned at the edge of the wheelchair seat with some minimal momentum building towards the front of the chair.

When they are at the edge of the seat, ask the user to ensure that their legs are level with the ground, and that their feet are positioned straight underneath the seat so that they are ready to stand up.

 

5. Standing & Transfer

When the user is in position and ready to stand, make sure that your hands are on their hip area. The user’s arms should be positioned on top of the armrests to provide stability and support.

Direct the user to lean towards the front of the chair, this will help the caretaker handle the weight of the user when they are assisting the person during a transfer.

The user should push themselves upward and out of the chair. Their arms positioned on the armrests, and their feet leveled with the ground, which will help ease the pressure of the transfer for both parties.

Once they are in a standing position in front of the chair, the caretaker should shift their positioning towards the opposite end of the user’s weak side (or their strong side). The toilet should be directly in front of the user when they are in a standing position after exiting the chair. They should face the front of the toilet, the user’s eyes should be facing the wall where the toilet is facing.

Once they are ready to sit down, assist them by providing limb and hip support, then you will want to instruct them to slowly step back until they are positioned to sit in the center of the toilet seat. While doing this step, the arms of the toilet should help the user by providing support, the user should place their hands on top of the arms of the toilet.

 

Transfer From Wheelchair To Toilet Tips

  • Make sure you allow the user enough time to complete each step without having to struggle with their body weight.
  • If able, the user should be able to lift some of the weight of their body out of the chair during the transfer, to allow an easy transition.
  • You should always double check the brake mechanisms of the wheelchair before attempting a transfer.
  • Remember that some bathroom surfaces may be slippery when attempting a transfer, some may not provide enough support to enable a wheelchair transfer.

 

And that is how you can properly transfer a person out of their wheelchair and into their toilet.

If you are consistently having to transfer out of a wheelchair and onto a toilet, or from a wheelchair to , or any type of transfer, you should research information to buy a wheelchair that comes standard with flip back armrests, or removable armrests. This should help you and your caregiver to easily transfer in any type of situation.

  • Always protect your back by bending your knees instead of from your waist.
  • Consider using an inexpensive gait belt to help you safely support your older adult.
 

 

  • Ask your older adult to use the wheelchair or toilet seat arms for support rather than holding on to your shoulders.

 

  • If their legs are not strong, place your knees in front of theirs (called blocking) while they stand.
  • If one side is weaker than the other, stand on the weaker side for extra steadiness and support.

 

Go regularly to reduce accidents

It takes some preparation to help your older adult from wheelchair to toilet. To reduce the chance of an accident because it takes so long to get to the toilet, make regular trips to the bathroom to reduce urgency. Try after meals and every couple of hours. Don’t wait until your older adult says they need to go – by then the need might be too urgent.

 

Video below: an occupational therapist demonstrates a wheelchair to toilet transfer using a raised toilet seat with arms.

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

How to Reduce the Risks of Heavy Lifting for Caregivers

Install a Power Lift Toilet Seat for a Safer Bathroom

Best Hemorrhoid Treatment Product Reviews

How to Give a Sponge Bath in Bed

Find the Right Power Wheelchair

Choosing a Transport Chair

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Buying a Stairlift

Which stairlift suits you and your home?

 

There are different types of stairlifts. Most stairlifts have seats but some are for standing on – they have a slim pad that you lean against. If you have difficulty stepping off the lift, some designs give you level access to the landing. Choosing the right one is a matter of assessing your needs and your home.

If, however, your stairs are too narrow for a stairlift, or you are unable to use one for other reason, you’ll need to consider alternatives, such as

  • installing an elevator
  • rearranging your house so that you can live on one floor

 

Types of Stairlifts

 

Lifts for straight stairs

Lifts for straight flights of stairs are cheaper. However, if you have two or more straight flights separated by landings, you may be able to install one continuous curved stairlift, rather than have two lifts fitted.

Straight stairs

Lifts for curved stairs

This is the type of lift you’d need if your stairs are actually curved. But stairlift manufacturers and suppliers call any kind of lift that goes round a corner a ‘lift for curved stairs’.

Lifts for use outdoors

Outdoor stairlifts are similar to indoor models but tougher and waterproof, so they can be used to get you  up your front steps.

http://www.lucanus.ca/images/CRE-2110E_top.jpg
Outdoor stairlift

Standing lifts

Lifts that you stand or ‘perch’ on are the answer if you can’t sit or stand easily – they’re often used by people who have trouble bending their knees. They’re slimmer than lifts with seats, and so can be fitted on narrower stairs.

To use a standing lift, you need to be able to stand for the minute or so it takes the lift to climb the stairs. If you get dizzy or collapse sometimes, a standing lift is probably not for you. There also needs to be enough headroom on the stairway. This is usually worked out as your height when standing plus around 12″ (30cm).

Lifts which can pass a doorway

In some houses, the lift will need to pass in front of a door – this often happens at the foot of the stairs. You can get around this by fitting a hinged track that lifts up when the stairlift is not being used.  Check that there’s some mechanism to make lifting the track more easy. Remember to raise it at night, so no one trips over it.

Or go for a powered stairlift that will slot automatically into place and lift out again when you use or park the lift. If you’re very heavy, check with the supplier that the hinge will be strong enough. Some  models use a different system – the track extends and withdraws automatically as the seat moves.

 

Four Steps for Choosing and Buying a Stairlift

 

You can’t just order a stairlift off the rack – it has to suit you and your home.

Stairlift companies will visit you at home to:

  • talk about what you need and how you’ll use the lift
  • check your stairs and work out how the lift might be fitted
  • either give you a quote during this visit or send it to you soon afterwards

 

These visits are made without obligation – don’t be put under any pressure to buy.

Use this checklist of key questions below to ask company reps.

 

——————————————

Print out and use this checklist as a reminder of some key questions to ask.

The company

 

  • Did the rep carry out a thorough assessment of you and your home?
  • Did the rep provide a firm, written quote?
  • Could the company arrange for you to avoid VAT?
  • Did the rep provide satisfactory answers to all of your questions?
  • Does the company have a money-back guarantee?
  • Are you able to pay the last installment after the lift is fitted, when you know that you are happy with it?

Repairs

 

  • For how long is the lift guaranteed?
  • Is there a 24-hour repair service?
  • How long might it take a repair person to arrive?
  • How much would repairs cost?

 

The lift

 

  • Were you able to see and try out the lift locally?
  • Are the controls easy enough to use?
  • Could you get on and off it easily?
  • Is the lift comfortable?
  • If things get more difficult, will you still be able to use the lift?

 

Safety

 

Stairlifts have a number of safety features. Check which of these the lift has, if they are important to you:

  • Speed controller – the lift will start and stop without jerking and will move slowly.
  • Safety sensors – if the lift meets an obstacle on the stairs, it will stop.
  • Safety belt – is one included and, if  so, can you fasten it easily?
  • Seat locks – swivel seats have a lock so that they don’t move when you are getting in or out of them.
  • Locks – lifts can be fitted with locks to stop children or visitors using the lift.

——————————————————–

 

There are four steps to take when you’re deciding on a stairlift:

  1. Contact a number of companies
  2. Discuss your options
  3. Compare costs
  4. Ask questions

 

Contact a number of companies 

Prices vary a lot, so I recommend trying at least three companies. Different manufacturers offer different ranges of stairlifts, too, so you may have to try more than one to find the lift that works best for you and your home.

It’s best to contact firms that aren’t tied to any one make of stairlift, so you’ll have a wider choice.

 

Discuss the options

When the manufacturer or supplier visits, the rep will measure your stairs and you. They usually just need to know the length of your leg when sitting, to make sure there’s no danger of you grazing your knees as you go up and down the stairs. If your stairs have a particularly low ceiling, they may measure your height when sitting down.

They’ll also need to know your weight. They should ask you about your mobility. Expect questions that will help you choose the right control, including whether you are left- or right-handed.

The rep should give you full details of their range and tell you about the products that will suit you best. You should think about what you’ll be able to manage in the future, as well as what you find easy now.

 

Here are some of the main options – make sure you discuss any that are important to you:

Swivel Seats – these let you turn to face the landing to get on and off more easily. The swivel locks in place, so there’s no danger of any movement if you push on the arm rest to stand up. Some swivel seats are powered.

Choice of colors and upholstery – some lifts have a greater choice than others. Some firms will paint the lift any color, and cover the upholstery in any fabric you like.

Easy-to-use controls – you should be able to choose between right- and left-handed controls. They should offer other choices, including levers that are easy to use even if you have little grip or strength. Check that you’ll be able to easily hold the control in place for as long as it takes to get up or down the stairs. Some lifts have remote controls.

A good rep will have a selection of controls for you to try before deciding.

Hand held remote controls and wall controls – you can use these to call the lift or send it back up or down the stairs. This is very useful if more than one person in your household uses the stairlift. Check how many remote controls are supplied – some firms give you two as a matter of course. Remote control and wall controls can also be used by an assistant, who can control the lift for you.

Safety belt – These are fitted on many lifts as standard. Check that you can fasten your belt easily. Can you choose which side it fastens on? If you need more support than a belt will give, many lifts can be supplied with a more elaborate harness.

Lock – if you have children visiting and they want to play on the stairlift, a lock is useful to help avoid accidents.

Comfortable seats – all stairlifts have padded seats. If you can, try them out for comfort before you buy. The manufacturer or supplier should be able to tell you where you can do this – many companies provide local mobility shops with demonstration models for people to try. Check that the lift moves off quietly and smoothly.

Footrest raisers – all lifts have a platform on which you rest your feet. Both the seat and this platform flip up so that the lift doesn’t take up much space when not in use. If you have difficulty bending to lift the footrest up, look for a model which raises the footrest automatically.

 

Compare Stairlift Costs and Service

You need to think about costs and the service offered. Take into account the after-sales service offered and the length of guarantee, as well as what the lift itself is worth.

Some companies will provide a firm quote – you either take it or leave it. Others may be open to negotiation. It may help you to get a keener price if you tell the company that you’re getting quotes from more than one firm.

 

Think Carefully About Accepting a Special Offer

You may find that a company can offer you a discount or a cheap deal on a particular model. Usually, you have to sign up quickly to get this discount. You may be told that a ‘cancelled’ order means that a lift has suddenly become available that just happens to fit your home and can be offered to you at a reduced cost.

While you will get the lift for the price promised, the lift may not be the one that suits you best. Consider carefully if it would be a good choice for you.

 

Ask Questions

Here are some questions you may want to ask the rep:

How long would the work take?

You may be surprised by how quickly a lift can be supplied and fitted – often within a week of the first call. Stairlifts usually take only a few hours to fit; one manufacturer claims less than an hour for a straight stairway.

How much mess is caused by installation?

Lifts are attached to the stairs rather than the wall, and do not involve any major building work. You can expect the company to tidy up after the lift is fitted. You shouldn’t have to repaint or redecorate afterwards.

What happens if I no longer need the stairlift?

If you move house or rearrange your home so that you don’t have to use the stairs, you may no longer need the lift. Some companies will buy the lift back – it can be reconditioned and resold. But the costs of removal and refurbishment mean you’ll probably only get a fraction of the price back. Ask them:

  • How much the company would offer to buy it back
  • What conditions might apply, such as the age of the lift or whether it’s been regularly serviced by them
  • If the price depends on the age and condition of the stairlift
  • How quickly they would be able to do this
  • Would they remove it for free and make good any damage to the walls or stairs?

 

If you think you’ll only be needing a lift for a short period, you might consider renting a stairlift.

 

What about after-sales service?

 

  • Guarantee: check the period offered – all lifts will have a year’s guarantee, but some manufacturers give you a more generous two years.

  • Repairs: stairlifts are reliable, so these should be rare. Ask when the call center is open and how long it takes before an engineer will visit. Get details of call-out and additional hourly charges.
  • Maintenance contract or extended warranty: you can buy these at the time of purchase or when the original guarantee runs out.
  • The usual deal is that for an annual fee you’ll get an annual service visit and free repairs. Some manufacturers offer variations such as an annual service plus reduced rates for an engineer’s visit, if the lift needs repair.

  • Battery: check that the maintenance contract covers the battery – many don’t.

While maintenance contracts may give you peace of mind, you should think about whether it would be cheaper to pay for repairs as you go.

 

Stair Lifts FAQs

 

What is a continuous charge stair lift?

Most stair lifts are battery powered and are charged on the travel rail. A continuous charge stair lift charges the lift along the full length of the rail, rather than just at the top or bottom of the rail.

 

I am in wheelchair, can I use a stair lift?

In many cases, a stair lift is not the right choice if you are a wheelchair user. But if you can transfer to and from the lift easily, you may be able to use it. If you use a wheelchair, your healthcare professional (such as an occupational therapist) can provide you the best answer about your ability to use a stair lift.

 

How much does a curved stair lift cost?

A simple curved stair lift, including the installation starts at $7,500 and can cost upwards of $20,000 depending on the complexity of your stairs.

 

Should I buy a used stair lift?

You may be able to locate a gently used stair lift that can save you money upfront. Reputable dealers selling recycled equipment will sell products they know they can get parts for and may even provide a warranty which reduces the risk of buying used.

 

I want to sell my stair lift, where can I go?

If you have a unit for sale that was purchased within the last 2 or 3 years, you may find a dealer interested in buying it. The dealer will value the product more if it is a current model with readily available parts.

 

I need a stair lift for short term, can I rent one?

Some dealers offer short term rentals or rent-to-own programs. Remember that generally a rental fee will include the installation and removal fee as well as the usage fee.

 

Will insurance pay for my stair lift?

Private health insurance companies may pay for your stair lift and you may qualify for full or partial payment from other funding sources (USA, Canada) depending on your personal financial situation or employment status. Your local dealer is the best resource for assistance with what is available in your region.

 

Can I get a tax deduction for my stair lift?

You may be able to claim the purchase of the stair lift as a medical expense if your health care provider deems the product necessary for your medical condition.

 

I need service for my stair lift, who can I call?

The best company to service is usually the company that installed your stair lift so call them first. If your product has a warranty, you likely must use the original installing dealer to service your unit. If you are not sure who installed it, contact the manufacturer to see if they can help you.

 

What company makes the best stair lift?

The major brands listed below have all been building and selling stair lifts for many years. The major components of this product are very similar among brands.

The best stair lift is the one that fits your needs and is sold to you by your local dealer to ensure that the product is properly installed and can be serviced in the future if any problems arise.

 

Stair Lift Manufacturers

 

North America Based Manufacturers

SAVARIA | Straight Stair Lift Manufacturers
In business since 1979, Savaria is one the top accessibility companies in North America.

 

Bruno Stair Lifts Logo
A solid company with a good reputation in home access products. They make stair lifts that are suitable for outdoor applications as well as for inside the home.

 

Harmar Stair Lifts
Newer to the industry than Savaria and Bruno, they have been in business since the late 90’s and they currently make several models of stair lifts.

 

Europe Based Manufacturers

Acorn Stair Lifts
Known for selling direct-to-consumers rather than through local dealers, this company’s head office is in the UK. They specialize in stair lifts.

 

Stannah Stair Lifts
Highly regarded in the UK, Stannah has produced many stair lifts for the European market, but has smaller presence in North America.

 

Handicare Stair Lifts
Another Europe based company that sells stair lifts under different brand names including Sterling in the USA. This company makes other types of daily living mobility aids.

 

If you have any experience with purchasing or using a stairlift, please share your thoughts below.

 

FBI Warning – Seniors Getting Scammed!

Finding Safe, Practical Shoes for the Elderly

 

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Get the Wheelchair into the Car

Do you need help loading a wheelchair or mobility scooter into your car and transporting it safely?

 

Today we will look at the different types of hoists, lifts, ramps, top boxes and other things that can help.

 

Introduction

Getting a light wheelchair into a car is easy for some people. If you have some strength and the right car, you can pull it in front of the passenger’s seat or behind the front seats. And if you can lift and walk a little, you may be able to put the chair in the back of the car without any equipment.

Some wheelchair users can put their chair in the back of the car and walk the few steps round to the front. Some people who can’t do this transfer into the car and pull their wheelchair in behind the front seats, or they lift their rigid wheelchair frame on to the front passenger seat.

For this you have to be:

  • quite strong and flexible
  • confident that you can do it even on a bad day, if your condition is variable.

It also involves putting your wheelchair in the car with you – you may get your clothes or upholstery muddy in wet weather.

The car needs to have:

  • enough clearance around the seat and doorway
  • low door sills and wide, square doors
  • seats that are easy to adjust

Here we describe some common techniques. If these techniques aren’t suitable for you, your car or your wheelchair, you may be able to develop your own.

Note: For safety, park facing the traffic so that you can get out on the curb if you are entering from the driver’s side. If this isn’t possible, leave something in sight to alert other drivers. A large luminous wheelchair sticker on the inside of the door may help.

Rigid wheelchairs

Get in through the rear hatch and stow the wheelchair in the back

This works only if you are small and agile and have a vehicle with a flat rear sill and a low floor. You get in through the back, drag the wheelchair after you, and clamber over to the driver’s seat. In small cars, this will be possible only if the rear seats fold flat.

Get in on the driver’s side, put the wheelchair on the passenger seat

 

Man pulling wheelchair wheel into carMan pulling wheelchair frame into carMan placing wheelchair frame on to passenger seat

 

Once you’re in the car, remove the larger wheels from the wheelchair and stow them behind the seat or on the floor in front of the passenger seat.

Lift the wheelchair frame over your stomach and on to the front passenger seat. You may have to recline the backrest to make more room between you and the steering wheel. If you have a steering ball, this may reduce the distance between your stomach and the steering wheel.

Place the frame on the passenger seat. Make sure it is strapped in securely; secure the wheelchair with a strap or the front passenger seat belt. Otherwise, it could cause an injury if you have to brake sharply.

Folding wheelchairs

Get in on the driver’s side, put the wheelchair behind the seat

Once you’re in the car seat, turn the wheelchair to face the car, and fold it. Lift the front castors over the sill behind your seat so that the wheelchair cannot roll away or topple over.

Then edge yourself and the car seat forwards to make enough space to get the wheelchair in between the back of the seat and the door pillar. It may be necessary to tilt the seat backrest forwards to give you more room. Now pull the wheelchair in so that the back wheels ride up and over the sill. Finally, move the car seat to your driving position.

A sliding swivel seat may make this easier.

Get in on the passenger’s side and put the wheelchair behind the seat

This technique means you don’t have to go out into the road. It also leaves you more room for getting the wheelchair in.

Transfer to the front passenger seat, fold the wheelchair and lift the front castors over the sill. Slide across to the driver’s seat. Move the passenger seat forwards as far as it will go and tilt the backrest forwards. Lean across and pull the wheelchair in over the sill. A walking stick or piece of rope may help you do this. This is much easier if the whole car seat tilts forward.

You need to be able to reach the lever to tilt the seat forwards. Some cars have levers on both sides. Alternatively, it may be possible to attach a cable to it or to swap the driver and passenger seats round so that the lever is in reach.

Getting over the sill

Some people put a small piece of carpet over the door sill to protect the car from damage and make it easier to slide the wheelchair over the sill. If the car foot well is deep it might help to make an internal ramp or build up the well. Adaptation firms may be able to help you with this.

Unable to get a heavy wheelchair or mobility scooter into a car?

 

Harmar Mobility AL560 Automatic Powerchair Lift Outside Carrier + AL105 Swing Away Joint + FREE Challenger Vinyl Cover

One of the following may help:

  • a ramp to help get the wheelchair or scooter into the boot
  • a hoist that lifts a manual or powered wheelchair into the boot
  • a rooftop hoists that winches a manual wheelchair up and on to the car roof
  • racks or trailers

 

Things to Consider

Pros and cons

Below is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of each method for getting a wheelchair or mobility scooter into your car.

Ramp

 

 

Harmar Single Fold Safety Ramp - 6'

 

  • use with manual wheelchair, powered wheelchair or mobility scooter
  • need to walk to your seat, or have helper
  • wheelchair stored in boot
  • ramps can be portable

 

Hoist or Lift

Lift n Go Electric Scooter or Powerchair Carrier 210 + Swing Away Joint 130

 

  • use with manual chair, power chair or scooter
  • need to walk to your seat, or have helper
  • wheelchair stored in trunk

 

Stowage System

http://www.rica.org.uk/sites/default/files/images/mobility/motoring/wheelchair-into-car/volkswagen-up-wheelchair-bo.jpg

  • use with manual chair
  • transfer from wheelchair to seat
  • wheelchair stored on roof, in trunk or in back

 

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

http://www.wheelchair-information.com/images/wheelchair-accessible-cars.jpg

  • use with manual or power chair
  • entry by ramp or lift
  • remain in wheelchair so independent
  • driver and passenger types available

 

Other Solutions

 

Wheelchair Carriers 001 Tilt n Tote

 

  • trailers, racks and bags
  • need to walk to your seat or have a helper

Ramps

Ramps are a comparatively cheap way of getting a wheelchair or mobility scooter into a car. You just need good dexterity and a large enough vehicle.

Ramps:

  • are widely available from adaptation suppliers
  • are portable, carried in the boot and hook on to the back of the vehicle
  • enable someone to push a light wheelchair or scooter up the ramp
  • enable a powered wheelchair or scooter to run up under its own power
  • can be fitted with an electric winch to your vehicle to help.

Folding ramps or telescopic ramps make them easier to especially if they have carrying handles.

Which ramp for which use?

Ramps have sides that help keep the wheelchair or scooter in line. Check that the side guards are high enough to stop your wheelchair from falling off and that they don’t catch the underside of the chair when you’re pushing it up.

For wheelchairs, use two narrow ‘channel ramps’. Make sure the channels are wide enough to allow the castors to turn.

For a three-wheeled mobility scooter, use a wide ramp or three channel ramps. Look for a ramp that is wide enough to take the wheels easily.

Don’t Forget

  • Ramps often need to be quite long, so that the incline isn’t too steep
  • To leave enough room behind your car for the whole length of the ramp plus the length of your wheelchair or mobility scooter.

 

Using a hoist to lift a wheelchair or mobility scooter into a car:

Two-way hoists

Hoists for lighter chairs are usually two-way hoists. They lift the chair up and down by power but you push the chair by hand to swing it into the car.

Four-way hoists

Four-way hoists:

  • use power to swing the wheelchair into the car AND lift it up and down
  • are generally used if your scooter or wheelchair is heavy
  • are easier to use on roads with steep slopes or hills since you don’t have to push your wheelchair up into the trunk
  • can be fitted to almost any vehicle, while others are made for larger vehicles

 

Using a hoist to get a wheelchair or mobility scooter into a car

You’ll probably need:

  • to use both hands to use the hoist
  • to be able to stand without much support while you are hooking on and lifting the wheelchair or scooter
  • to fold or dismantle the wheelchair or scooter before you lift it, especially if you have a small car or a large or heavy wheelchair or scooter

Attaching the hoist

There are different ways of attaching the hoist to the wheelchair – open hooks or hooks that close:

  • open hooks are easier to use but can come off when the lifting cord is slack
  • closed hooks may be more awkward If you have limited grip or dexterity
  • if the hook has a spring, try it to see whether you need both hands, or if your fingers get caught easily

Telescopic hoist

You need to use both hands for some hoists – one to hold it in the right place to stop the hooks falling loose, and the other to take up the tension with the control unit. This may be difficult to do standing if you have poor balance.

Nearly all suppliers provide a range of hooks, so discuss what you need with them before you buy, and make sure you try all the functions.

With four-way hoists especially, the wheelchair/scooter needs to be in just the right place, which may take a bit of getting used to.

 

Controlling the hoist

Most hoists have hand-held control units which can be:

  • either attached by wires
  • cordless

On a few hoists, there are control units that are fixed to the hoist’s arm or base which means you can hold on for support while you’re using it. Some people find these easier to use than a hand-held control.

Most suppliers have a choice of switches and should be able to find something to suit you. Try the control before you buy.

On some hoists, you have to remove the lifting arm when the wheelchair is stowed in the boot.

If you’re traveling without your wheelchair, some hoists allow you to remove the swinging arm to get it out of the way, leaving more room for luggage. The removable parts can be heavy, especially on heavier-duty hoists. Some can’t be taken out of the car because the lifting cords are permanently threaded through them.

Platform Lifts

As an alternative to hoists, use a platform lift to load an unoccupied wheelchair or mobility scooter into the boot.

To use a platform lift:

  • you bring the platform out of the boot under power
  • push or drive the wheelchair on and secure it
  • and then transfer the platform back into the trunk

 

Platform lifts are easier than a hoist because:

  • you don’t need to fold or dismantle the wheelchair or scooter
  • you don’t need the same strength or dexterity to load the wheelchair
  • you can secure the wheelchair to the platform before loading

 

Platform lifts are:

  • generally used for larger wheelchairs and scooters and they need quite a large load space
  • designed to fit in larger vehicles and vans.
  • best fitted into a large trunk
  • a bulky solution: you need the same amount of room behind the vehicle to load the wheelchair onto the lift platform

Four-way hoists

  • A four-way hoist is easier to use with a heavy wheelchair/scooter.
  • Some users find it difficult to position the wheelchair/scooter in the right place to attach it to the hoist.
  • Some find it difficult to load the wheelchair/scooter using a four-way hoist as they could not operate the control while moving to help guide it into the boot.

Straps and cords

  • Hoists where the wheelchair/scooter is attached to the end of a strap or cord can cause users difficulties.
  • The load is more likely to swing and sway and it requires at least one hand to steady it as it is being hoisted.
  • Some users may worry about getting their fingers caught in the winch on some of these hoists.
  • Users often prefer hoists where the wheelchair/scooter is attached directly to the end of the lifting arm.

Where Do you want to stow your manual wheelchair?

Once you’ve transferred onto your car seat, you can stow your manual wheelchair:

  • in the trunk
  • in back-seat area of your car
  • on your car roof

These hoists can be fitted to either the driver’s or the passenger’s side of the car.

 

How they work

 

Roof Spider hoist

  • Transfer to your car seat
  • Use a switch to bring the hoist mechanism to the car door
  • Hook your wheelchair on by hand
  • The hoist then lifts the chair on to the roof or transfers it to the back of the car and secures it safely.
  • You usually have to attach the wheelchair to the hoist
  • Some are easier than others – with some rear-loading systems you just need to position the wheelchair in the right place
  • Note: for all of them you need to be able to twist into position to use them.

 

A rooftop system means

  • the trunk of your car remains free to carry luggage
  • an increase in the height of the car with some needing a lot of headroom to stow the wheelchair
  • they can’t be used in some indoor parkades

Most rooftop systems carry the wheelchair in a box. However, in some the chair is exposed to the weather. Rooftop systems can be fitted to most cars without any modification.

Trunk-loading systems are slightly less flexible than rooftop systems, as your car’s trunk has to be large enough, and the right shape. Systems that stow the wheelchair in the rear seat area can be fitted to a limited range of vehicles, and require considerable modification.

Besides ramps, hoists and lifts, the other ways you can carry a wheelchair in a car are by using:

  • a trailer
  • a bag or trunk slider which helps you lift a wheelchair into the trunk of a car

Trailers

Trailers let you carry a wheelchair without dismantling or folding it, while keeping the trunk free.

Trailers can easily carry large items including mobility scooters. However, they will make reversing and parking difficult.

In both cases, you may need a license plate if the one fitted to your vehicle is obscured.

Your abilities

  • Whatever option you go for, make sure you are able to use it every time you go out in the car even on a bad day.
  • Make sure you know exactly what you need to do to load and secure your chair and you can do it comfortably and safely.
  • When using a hoist, you also need to secure the hoist itself. Sometimes it stays attached to the chair, which holds it securely but some hoists need to be detached and secured separately.

Your car and equipment

 

  • Make sure the car you choose has enough space for all the equipment you need plus anything else you want to carry. Where will you put your shopping?
  • If you have to fold or dismantle your chair, can you do it? Can you pick up the heaviest part?
  • Check the weight of any equipment you use
  • If you’re using a hoist, check with the supplier that it can take the weight of your wheelchair.
  • Check the car can take the weight of the hoist and wheelchair together, and check its towing weight if you’re using a trailer (ask the car dealer).
  • Some hoists and other equipment can only be fitted to a limited range of cars. Check with the supplier.
  • Most suppliers will adapt equipment to suit you, your car and your wheelchair. Discuss what you need with the supplier before you start.

 

Fitting

 

  • Hoists, lifts and stowage systems are usually installed by vehicle adaptation companies or by their local dealers. Some will come to you to fit the hoist. Otherwise you will have to arrange for your car to be taken to them.
  • Most hoists can be fitted to the right or left hand side of the boot – check with the supplier. Some hoists come in one size. Some are cut and shaped individually for each car to give as much room as possible for swinging the wheelchair in.
  • Some stowage systems require considerable modification of the car, which may not be reversible.
  • Winches need to be fitted correctly: the winch cable must be aligned with the vehicle so it pulls the wheelchair in a straight line.

Safety

Securing things in your car

It’s vitally important to secure the wheelchair when the car is moving. If a wheelchair or parts of a hoist or stowage system came loose, they could cause severe injuries if you have to brake suddenly.

Ramps

  • secure both your wheelchair or mobility scooter and the ramp

Two-way hoists

  • secure the wheelchair or mobility scooter and, with some hoists, the lifting arm, too
  • some two-way hoists come with securing mechanisms built in

Four-way hoists and lifts

  • Four-way hoists and lifts do not require you to secure the wheelchair or mobility scooter
  • the wheelchair or mobility scooter remains attached to the hoist which is secure

Wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs)

WAVs come equipped with restraints for the wheelchair and for the passenger. Both should be used properly at all times.

 

In summary, if do not have the ability to just “pop” the wheelchair into the car without encountering problems, there are many things that you can do in order to prevent the hassle of pushing and pulling your wheelchair and hoping that it fits inside the vehicle. In order to be able to fold and store your chair in your car, consider the assistance of additional mobility equipment, such as a ramp, hoist or a wheelchair accessible van.

 

Related:

Best Power Wheelchairs

Choosing the Best Transport Chair

Start Your Own Blog

 

 

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Best Power Wheelchairs

 

How to Choose the Right Power Wheelchair For Your Individual Needs

 

 

Power Wheelchair or Manual Wheelchair?

 

Choosing the best power wheelchair for your situation can be daunting.

The first decision is to determine the type of wheelchair you need. In most cases you’ll have a choice between a manual (powered by the individual) or electric (wheelchair w/ external power supply).

This choice will often be the easiest, as you may be forced into one or the other for economic or physical reasons.

 

 

 

 

If you have decided to look for an electric, or power chair, you’ll then have to look at a variety of factors…

 

 

You’ll first need to determine what you’ll be using the wheelchair for.

 

This is where it can become a bit more difficult and it may be necessary to consult with an occupational or physical therapist.

 

 

Here are a few questions to ask:

 

  • Is the wheelchair for indoor or outdoor use?
  • How important is maneuverability?
  • Do you need it to fold?
  • How easily can it be transported?
  • Are there any weight requirements?
  • Are there any seating requirements?
  • Are there any speed requirements?
  • Cost, how affordable is it?

 

Jazzy Select 6

 

 

The Jazzy SelectTM 6 from Pride Mobility provides maximum front stability, combined with the advantages of in-line motor technology.

 

 

The Jazzy uses Active-trac Suspension and 6″ front and rear casters for superior performance indoors and out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It also may be a good idea to speak with other individuals that have purchased or have used a power wheelchair in the past. They’ll be able to give you some of the best advice and recommendations.

 

Ultimately, the user should give the wheelchair a test drive before a purchase is made. This doesn’t mean a testing it in the showroom. This means actually taking it home and putting it to some functional, real world use.

 

Also be sure to check out some electric wheelchair reviews  for user ratings and reviews on current models.

 

 

Attributes of Power Wheelchairs

 

  • Powered by a battery – Less physical exertion.
  • Easily go uphill – Manual chairs could have difficulty.
  • No need for someone to assist you
  • Freedom

 

 

 

Drive System & Design Characteristics

 

Most modern battery powered wheelchairs have designs that can be classified as either Rear Wheel Drive (RWD), Mid Wheel Drive (MWD), or Front Wheel Drive (FWD). Each configuration is determined by the location of the drive system in relation to the users center of gravity. All three systems have unique driving and handling characteristics that will appeal to the different needs of the user.

 

 

Drive Medical titan18cs Titan Transportable Front Wheel Power Wheelchair Full Back Captain'S Seat 18 X

 

Front-Wheel Drive wheelchairs offer exceptional indoor/outdoor maneuverability with a design that mounts 2 large wheels in front of the seating area.

The front wheel drive Titan power wheelchair is a comfortable and stylish option for users seeking a transportable power mobility product that’s ideal for indoor and outdoor use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Front-wheel drive chairs are great all around wheelchairs that are suitable for outdoor use but will tend to fishtail at higher speeds. For this reason they are typically manufactured to travel slower than other power chair varieties.

The overall turning radius is about 22″ to 28″, depending on the manufacturer. The design gives many users a sense that the wheelchair is pulling them due to the front mounted wheel position.

 

 

 

 

Mid-Wheel Drive wheelchairs offer excellent indoor maneuverability because the wheels are located directly under the user.

They typically are manufactured with 2 sets of casters located in the front and back that offer stability. Putting the wheels under the user’s center of gravity allows for an extremely tight turning radius.

This design is perfect for small apartments, nursing homes, or anywhere else where precision movement is necessary.

 

 

 

(Below) Mid-Wheel Drive Example:  Drive Medical Image Ec Mid Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair 20 inch

 

Drive Medical Image Ec Mid Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair, 20 Inch

 

The one area of concern for a mid-wheel drive system is the ability to maneuver outdoors, over hills, and across tougher terrain.

A mid-wheel drive system needs to remain on stable, flat surfaces for optimal performance.

However, the fact that they are designed for indoor use doesn’t mean you can’t use them outside though and many retailers will advertise them as being both indoor/outdoor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEDALIST450RD22CS - Drive Medical Medalist Heavy Duty Power Wheelchair, 22 Seat, Red

 

Rear-Wheel Drive was the design for the original powered mobility device.

They are stable, maneuverable, and offer the highest top end speeds available in a power wheelchair market (see speed chart below).

Affixing the wheels in the rear provides the chair with excellent balance in almost any terrain.

Rear-Wheel Drive Example (left): Drive Medical Medalist Heavy Duty Power Wheelchair, Rear Wheel Drive

 

 

 

The major disadvantage with this design is that turning radius will typically increase compared with the front and mid configurations.

Rear wheel drive power chairs are great for outdoor use and provide predictable driving characteristics and stability.

 

 

 

Types, Configurations, & Specialty

 

There are a variety of power wheelchair types on the market. In most cases they can be categorized by their configuration and use.

 

 

Invacare Pronto P31 Power Wheelchair (Blue)The most popular modern power wheelchair offered by retailers is the platform style.
 
This style incorporates a powered base with a completely separate seating system.
Platform wheelchairs are often considered a more stable option compared to the traditional powered wheelchair.
 
They are also easier to transport since the seat can be completely separated from the base.

The Invacare® Pronto® 31 Power Wheelchair  above is a compact front-wheel drive power wheelchair features simple handling, durability and comfort all in an ultra-sleek design.

 

 

 

Drive Medical Sentra Reclining Wheelchair with Various Arm Styles and Elevating Legrest, 22"
There are a number of other specialty power wheelchairs on the market as well including reclining and (rehab) tilt-in-space wheelchairs.

 

Reclining wheelchairs have a seat backing that is completely independent of the chair allowing for separate functionality.
 
The Sentra Reclining Wheelchair from Drive Medical (left) is truly reclining, allowing infinite adjustments up to 180 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karman Healthcare VIP515TP-18-E Foldable Tilt in Space, Diamond Black, 14 Inches Rear Wheels and Elevating Legrests and 18 Inches Seat Width
The tilt in space wheelchair, on the other hand, not only reclines but completely shifts the weight of the user.
 
The entire chair, including the seat, backing, leg & arm rests can be aligned to the users preference without assistance.
 
 The Karman tilt-in-space wheelchair uses the intelligent 0-35 center-of-gravity weight shifting to shift pressure and reduce bedsores. With newly designed swing in and away footrests, as well as flip-back armrests that are height adjustable, this chair is sure to provide optimum comfort.

 

 

 

 

Karman XO-101 ( XO-101 ) 18" Manual Push-Power Assist Stand Wheelchair & FREE Universal Medical Utility Bag

 

 

 

One of the more recent alternatives to powered mobility is a hybrid or power assist system.

This type of wheelchair incorporates a traditional manual wheelchair with the power of electric.

(Left) Karman XO-101 18″ Push Power-Assist Stand Wheelchair  

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
Lightweight Dual Function Foldable Power Wheelchair (Polymer Li-ion Battery) with Magnesium Alloy Rim. Drive with Power or use as Manual Wheelchair. (Electric Motorised Wheelchair)
The PW-800AX is a dual function power wheelchair with standard large rear wheels, meaning you can row manually as usual and drive by power when you are tired.

 

It takes just a few seconds to change from power mode to manual mode, so it helps to take away fear of running out of battery in the middle of your trip.
It is lightweight, foldable, easy to use, practical, efficient and stylish. With that in mind, there is no compromise when it comes to functionality, quality and durability.

 

 

The power-assist system is designed to increase the number of revolutions per pass thus giving the user a noticeable increase in propulsion efficiency. The power systems are light enough to be easily attached and remove to the frame of a manual wheelchair making transportation easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bariatric Wheelchairs

 

With weight capacities of up to 700 lbs and seat sizes up to 30,” bariatric wheelchairs (often referred to as extra wide wheelchairs or heavy duty wheelchairs) are strong enough to accommodate almost any user.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Golden Technologies GP620 Golden Compass HD - Blue

 

The Golden Compass HD offers you a stable, center-wheel-drive platform and an articulating chassis for stability over tough terrain.
 
A bigger, beefier version of the popular Compass, the Compass HD has a 450 lb. weight capacity, yet a modest 20-inch turning radius.

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 
 
Merit’s Atlantis P710 (below) is a heavy duty powerchair with 600 lbs. weight capacity and four seat post that makes it more stable.
ATLANTIS Heavy Duty Bariatric Electric Power Wheelchair Merits P710 + Free Challenger Cover

 

Just like the lighter, manual chairs, heavy duty models are usually foldable and feature armrests and swing-away footrests – but they differ quite a bit in their construction. While lightweight wheelchairs often employ materials like aluminum or titanium alloy, a bariatric wheelchair is usually fashioned from steel.

 

 

Foldable Power Wheelchairs

 

If you’ll be traveling often, and need a highly-portable option, a folding lightweight wheelchair may be for you. Some popular examples are shown below.

 

 

 

 

EZ Lite Cruiser Personal Mobility Aid
The EZ Lite Cruiser (above) is leading the revolution in personal mobility. It is extremely convenient due to its compact size and ability to be transported in just about any vehicle.
 
Not only can you can store the EZ Lite Cruiser in your home or garage, but you can conveniently take it with you in a personal vehicle such as a Car, Truck or SUV. It is also extremely convenient to take on an Train, Bus, Cruise Ship or Airplane.

 

The EZ Lite Cruiser is composed of a lightweight aluminum alloy that is extremely durable and can handle passengers weighing up to 264 pounds.

 

Lightweight wheelchairs provide convenience and comfort to the user and caregiver alike and are often built using materials like aluminum and titanium alloy, while foldable wheelchairs allow for easy storage and transport. Merge the two styles, and you’ve got a great mobility aid that isn’t a pain to lug around.

 

Electric Wheelchair Wheels & Tires

 

 

Wheelchair TiresThere are a number of options when in comes to the wheels and tires of your power wheelchair. Most retailers typically offer 3 tire options: Pneumatic (air filled), foam filled, or solid rubber.

Pneumatic tires offer an extremely smooth and stable ride. The air and tread on the tires hug the road. They really only have one drawback, they often require more maintenance, will often lose air, or if punctured, can go completely flat.

 

 

The foam filled and solid rubber designs are also popular options. Even though you’ll feel every bump and indent in the road, you’ll have the peace of mind that they will never lose air or go flat. It usually comes down to user preference between one design or the other.

 

 

 

 

 

The Wheelchair Controller/Joystick

 

The controller for most powered wheelchairs is a keypad alongside a joystick that controls both direction and speed.

 

When the joystick is moved in any direction, the brakes disengage, and the chair moves. The further you move the joystick from the neutral position the faster it will go.

When the chair is put back in neutral state, it will decelerate, the brakes will re-engage, and the chair stops.

The keypad activates other functions of the chair that you may need. Some wheelchairs offer more sophisticated, alternative wheelchair controlling devices for individuals that have limited use of their hands.

 

 

Some of the other controlling options are:

 

  • Sip and Puff – commands are given by inhaling or exhaling with an attached tube.
  • Head Controls – switches are added to the sides of the headrest.
  • Foot Controls – pedals and buttons are added to the foot rests of the wheelchair.
  • Chin Controls – the controller is mounted near the chin.
  • Speech Controls – the controller uses a simple speech recognition program.


 

 

 

Power Wheelchair Batteries

 

Electric wheelchair users typically have limited strength in their arms and torso, and thus need an external power source for assistance.

 

Compatible Wheelchair Battery for Pride Mobility Jazzy 1143

 

The battery used in most power wheelchairs is a (deep cycle) lead acid battery that is either a wet cell, a gel cell, or an AGM (absorbed glass matt) battery. Although they look and feel similar, electric wheelchair batteries shouldn’t be confused with car batteries. They are vastly different in design and use and should never be interchanged.

 

Wet cell batteries typically hold a charge for longer and offer more power than the gel cell variety. Their major drawback comes down to maintenance issues and leakage during transport.

 

They are not recommended for travel because of the acids that are housed within the unit. If tilted or cracked the battery could spill and corrode the vital electrical systems, wiring, or motor of your wheelchair.

 

Many air and cruse lines will often refuse to transport any motorized wheelchair if it is powered by a wet-cell battery. Wet cell batteries are relatively inexpensive compared to gel cell and thus are still very popular.

 

Gel cell batteries were developed to alleviate some of the safety and maintenance concerns that were involved in transporting an electric wheelchair.

 

Gel cell batteries are sealed and dry with no potential for spills. This is due to the silica gel that suspends the acids (electrolyte) in the battery. So if they are broken or punctured they will not leak.

 

Gel-cell lead-acid batteries were developed to be maintenance free and should be approved for storage on most airlines and cruise ships. The disadvantage of gel-cell batteries is that they usually have less capacity and are more expensive.

 

Power wheelchairs typically utilize 2 – 12 volt deep cycle batteries that must be re-charged on a regular basis.

 

The batteries make them significantly heavier than most manually powered chairs, making it necessary for the wheelchairs to be manufactured with a stronger sturdier frame to support the battery, motor, the user, and any additional adaptive equipment.

 

The range of the battery will often depend on a number of factors including: the users weight, ground level, and temperature.

 

 

Speed – How Fast Can Power Wheelchairs Go?

 

Speed of a Power Wheelchair

 

The speed of your power chair will typically depend on the model. The top baseline speed of most electric wheelchairs and many other powered mobility vehicles is about 4-5 MPH. 

 

 

 

Range – How Far Can They Go?

 

The distance a power chair can travel, or range, will largely depend on the model and its intended use. Many manufacturers will quote a range of 20 – 25 miles for a typical power chair.

Ultimately, the range of your electric wheelchair will depend on a number of factors including: wheelchair battery type, battery age, battery size, the weight of the rider, maximum driven speed, drive train efficiency, driver behavior, and the terrain. In general, the use of a wet cell wheelchair battery will also increase the range. Range is an important metric that should be considered in the selection and design of a power wheelchair.

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

How to Make Your Home Wheelchair Accessible

Mobility Scooter Buying Guide

Help Your Older Adult Move From Wheelchair to Toilet

Choosing the Best Transport Chair

Getting Your Wheelchair Into the Car

Choosing a Medical Walker

Choosing a Walking Cane

How to Reduce the Risks of Heavy Lifting for Caregivers

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

 

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest
1 2