Benefits of Power Wheelchairs
Power mobility allows people to move within their home and community and it can help maximize independence for those with limited mobility. The two main types of power mobility available are in the form of electric scooters or power wheelchairs. The choice to use either an electric scooter versus an electric wheelchair depends on the users' needs and abilities. Knowing some of the benefits of power wheelchairs can help in making the right decision.
Power wheelchairs are customizable and have more options for seating. For users who require positioning devices for trunk control and stability, a power wheelchair can be customized with seat and back cushions with many positioning features. Power wheelchairs also have options for electric tilt and recline, which are features that can be beneficial for people who have limited ability to reposition themselves in the wheelchair. Tilt and recline features provide comfort and pressure relief from sitting for long periods of time.
Both electric wheelchairs and electric scooters allow a person to travel for long distances. This is an important benefit for people with limited mobility as it provides opportunity to go farther in their community than they might in a manual wheelchair.
Using a power wheelchair can be beneficial for conserving a person's energy. This is especially important for people with disabilities, such as multiple sclerosis or post polio syndrome. A power wheelchair can allow people to be mobile within their home or community without expending a lot of muscle work and energy. This, in turn, can benefit people by allowing them to conserve their energy for other activities important to them.
A main difference between a power wheelchair and electric scooter is the turning radius. Power wheelchairs typically have a smaller turning radius, which means that they are more maneuverable in small spaces. Power wheelchairs also have more options with center wheel drives or front wheel drives for a small turning radius in tight spaces.
Variety of Terrain
Power wheelchairs also offer the benefit of traveling over a variety of terrain through the options of tire types and wheel positions. The most popular position for wheels in power wheelchairs are rear wheel drive, where the large wheel is in the back and the smaller casters are in front, which provides stability in driving both indoor and outdoor. Alternatively, center wheel drives or front wheel drives, where the large wheels are placed in the center or the front of the power wheelchair change the center of gravity for the wheelchair and can help in maneuvering over obstacles and curbs.
Adah Chung has been a freelance writer since 2008. She is published on websites such as Work.com and in the "Perspective on Physician Assistant Education" journal. Along with writing, she is also an occupational therapist. Chung held a faculty position in medical education at the University of Colorado and has a master's degree in education from the University of Toronto in Canada.