How to choose the right power wheelchair for your client
“My needs, my choice.”
Choosing the right powered mobility platform for your client can be a real challenge.
The important thing is to evaluate the chair in the environments in which your client lives their life and choose the alternative that ticks the most boxes and feels right for them.
There are pros and cons with all types of mobility – but you can make an informed and logical choice by asking some simple questions.
Where does my client spend most of their time driving?
Are they mostly indoors at home or work? They may need a slightly smaller, compact chair that is good at maneuvering in tight spaces
Or are they active outdoor users? Speed, long range and good suspension are vital for an active day driving on varying surfaces
Perhaps it’s a combination of both indoor and outdoor?
What about comfort? Probably the most important for perceived quality of life.
Do they use their wheelchair at work? What mobility challenges exist in the work place? Will the chair fit in an elevator?
How will the chair cope with accessing other forms of transport (car, bus, train)? Obstacle capability and stability on ramps and inclines are vital here.
What about their personal abilities and health situation?
How does their physical condition affect their driving capabilities? Advanced suspension helps combat fatigue and pain, so the user can do more in a day.
Spasticity? Good suspension can be critical to protect the body from vibrations and shocks.
Cognitive challenges involved? Ease of approach and targeting are important.
What are the most important activities of daily life for that person? Will the chosen solution provide good accessibility for those activities?
Do they have a preference?
Front-wheel, Mid-wheel, Rear-wheel drive? Would your client consider an alternative that might give better access and functionality?
For example Rear-wheel drivers often find it easier to switch to MWD – offering more intuitive driving with superior maneuverability.
When you have considered all the above, you may still be unsure.
The ideal way to reach a decision is to have your client try a couple of alternatives, preferably in the environment where they spend most of their time.