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Facts about Motorized Wheel Chair

Updated on January 25, 2013

Motorized wheel chairs are basically similar to manual wheel chairs, but instead of moving it manually, there is a built-in motor that moves it around. Also known as a power wheel chair, this disabled tool equipment is considered to be a better choice as it can provide more conveniency to the physical challenge people. It easy to use and it does not need the users to exert energy to move it. This could be challenging for them if going up a hill slope.

Motorized wheel chairs offer great speed and that's why it is very important for the user to be familiar with the control functions before using it outdoor. On top of that, the user should also take extra care when heading down short and sharp turns so as not jamming the foot pedals. These power wheel chairs feature automatic brakes but it is highly advisable that you avoid sudden stops as this can do damage to the chair itself. Should there's a need to go fast, you can use the joystick control to keep the brakes from engaging, but be extra careful when you do this.

Motorized Wheel Chair
Motorized Wheel Chair

There are varieties of different motorized wheel chairs models and brands that could be found in the market today. Although they are produced by different manufacturers, the main concept remains the same, the differences might be on the built-up of the chair, design, add-on functions and etc.

If you are looking to buy one, whether for your own use or a member of the family, you should get to know a little more about motorized wheel chairs before proceeding with the purchase.

The price of a motorized wheel chair ranges from as low as $1,000 to a sky high price of $10,000 and well, that depends on the level of customization and the additional features that it has. Since motorized wheel chairs are not cheap, mediacare does have plan that offers to pay for the users who meet their listed criteria.


Medicare "Power Mobility" Benefit

The criteria is very simple, a person must need assistance with the basic daily activities such as bathing, dressing, going to the restroom, and etc. The main principle is that the person is unable to move around without the help from others, and so he or she must be unable to use a cane, walker or a manual wheel chair, which needs him or her to exert energy to move it. If you (or your family member) are covered by a health insurance, do check with them as they might be able to cover part of the motorized wheel chair cost if not all.


Tips and Considerations when Buying Motorized Wheel Chairs

Wheel Chair Lift
Wheel Chair Lift
  1. Motorized wheel chairs are not collapsible or fold-able and therefore, they won't fit into an average car. For transportation, you will need a van that is equipped with a power wheel chair lift - a special equipment that fixed onto a vehicle to lift up a wheel chair, either to put it into the vehicle or simple hold it outside at the back of the vehicle.
  2. Not all motorized wheel chairs are created equal. It might needs to be customized based on the level of disability faced by the user. For example, if the disabled person has no hand function and could not handle a joystick to control the chair movement, then other alternatives have to be considered, such as using the mouth and head.
  3. A power wheel chair will always have the necessary safety feature such as the seat belts. When seated on it, the user at all time should wear the seat belts no matter what. This is crucial as it can prevent the user from failing off the chair. For better safety reason, some motorized wheel chairs even have the foot straps that can use to secure the feet from slipping off the foot rests while on the move. If none of these not installed on the wheel chair, you will better have them installed separately.
  4. After purchasing the motorized wheel chair of your choice, the first thing that you need to know is learn about the wheel chair safety and precautions. Be cautious about young children or other elderly people around the house. Going too fast might knock them too. If the power wheelchair is used outside, watch out for dirt and gravel as they can make the chair unsteady. Look out for holes or dips as if you run down on one, you can tip the power chair over and hurt yourself badly.

Those are the basic things that you need to know when considering buying a motorized wheel chair. It is also important that you do your own research to find out more about the particular model power wheel chair that have laid your eyes on. If you can't make decision yourself, consult your physical therapist for advices and recommendations.

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