MAKING THE SWITCH TO A POWER CHAIR
Being independent means have mobility. People who are not disabled often take this for granted. However, but people with mobility impairments realize how limiting it can be when they can’t always go where they want to without someone else helping. A power chair helps to restore their independence. There are drawbacks to long-term manual wheelchair use, which include fatigue, repetitive stress injuries, and lack of power on inclines and uneven terrain. Since our upper extremities were not designed for self-propulsion, the desire to lead an active lifestyle in a manual wheelchair could potentially be derailed over time by the limitations of the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. For people with very limited mobility, or those who lack hand strength and energy, a power chair might be the only option. Power wheelchairs (aka power chairs) can navigate different environments and terrains, operate easily in wheelchair vans, and give the user more options, support and independence.
With a power chair, no minimum strength is required so you can cover greater distances without tiring.
Different drive-trains (mid, front, or rear) offer personal preferences for different terrains (pavement, grass/dirt, etc.) The seating options of a power chair are enhanced by its ability to tilt, recline and elevate the leg rests. These features have made the power chair an essential part of everyday living for people who need rehabilitation such as those suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or other progressive diseases.
With a power chair, a person can change their positions throughout the day. Periodically moving helps improve overall comfort and ease pain caused by being in one position too long. The greater mobility offered by a power chair creates more freedom to than a traditional wheelchair. This helps restore more freedom to go out and carry on normal day-to-day activities.
Power chairs are virtually infinitely adjustable so that users can adjust them to different seating positions themselves to fit the task they are doing. For people with spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy, or cerebral palsy this is especially important because a slight tilt of the seat can help when they are on a hill or need to look up or down for an extended period of time.
Reduction of Pain and Fatigue from Sitting Too Long
When a person sits too long in one position, the constant pressure in one area causes pain. A power chair’s ability to easily tilt and adjust to different reclining angles helps increase comfort throughout the day.
Physiologic and Orthopedic Implications
Power chairs can help improve comfort and alignment of the spine. This in turn can help with other functions such as speaking, breathing, and other bodily functions such as going to the bathroom. A power chair can help ease orthostatic hypotension and make a caregiver’s job easier. Lifting a patient out of a traditional wheelchair can also put stress on a patient’s shoulders. Power chairs help reduce this strain by raising the patient.
Raising the legs is key to helping manage edema. The leg rest on a power chair can be raised and additionally the chair tilted back to help improve lower limb circulation.
If you have a health issue such as muscular dystrophy, ALS, cerebral palsy, spinal stenosis or any other disease that affects the central nervous system which can reshape your body, you need to select a power wheelchair that has the proper supports and cushions for your spine, lumbar, and legs. Some known heart or lung diseases can have a negative affect on the way you breath in an upright position. By purchasing a power chair with a reclining seat this can help alleviate heavy breathing or blocked air passages.
You must always work with your healthcare professional, physical therapist, occupational therapist and/or physician to determine which power chair is the best solution for you or your loved one. Visit Pace Medical Equipment & Supplies to talk to one of our power chair experts for a FREE, NO OBLIGATION power chair consultation. We accept MC/Visa/Discover cards. Pace offers a great selection of power wheelchairs including:
Golden Power Chairs by Golden Technologies: Golden LiteRider Envy, Golden Alanté DX, Golden Compass TRO, Golden Compass HD (450lb weight capacity), Golden Compass Sport
Pride Power Chairs Jazzy Power Chair Line: The Jazzy Select® Elite, The Jazzy Select® 6, The Jazzy® Elite HD, The Jazzy® 614 HD