Transitioning from a Manual Wheelchair to a Power Chair

February 6, 2019 by Jorge Ramos

Transitioning from a Manual Wheelchair to a Power Chair

The wheelchair is a vital part of the mobility and independence of its users. Most of the time the user has a manual wheelchair. These manual chairs are propelled with the hands, but it’s really the joints of the user that make the greatest effort when propelling it. Shoulders are highly mobile joints, but unlike the hips, they are not prepared or designed for the continuous effort to support the full weight of the body. The effort is continuous, but it varies in intensity depending on the surface. Propelling on slopes requires much more effort than a flat surface. There are also other situations that require more effort, such as moving on a carpeted surface. The carpet increases rolling resistance of the wheels and results in more shoulder effort. For these reasons, a person who has been propelling for a long time in a manual wheelchair may end up suffering shoulder injuries.

In addition, mobility with manual wheelchairs can impose physiological overloads, such as energy expenditure and increased heart rate in people with disabilities. Therefore, the more comfortable and easier to propel the chair is, the greater the energy savings for the user, and thus, they can develop other tasks, in addition to avoiding future injuries.

Power chairs are designed to facilitate the mobility of people who can’t propel independently. Some people believe that these chairs will limit their abilities and their arms will lose strength. We must remember that wheelchairs are not meant to be used for rehabilitation. Their main purpose is mobility and independence - to go to work or school and help with everyday activities such as eating, cooking, taking care of children, leisure time, etc.

Loh Medical® Felix Power Chair

Loh Medical® Felix Power Chair

The Loh Medical® Felix folding power chair is the perfect blend of power, portability and style. The dual motors are controlled by a PG controller and powered by a 2x 12V battery box that can be easily removed for folding, storage and transit.

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When transitioning from a manual wheelchair to a motorized power chair, many aspects should be considered. Power chairs are heavier and sometimes need more maneuvering space or maintenance than a manual chair, but sometimes it’s the only option that will allow the user to carry out the activities of daily life without needing assistance.

Controlling a power chair is done using a lever known as "joystick." The joystick can have several different grips or modifications that allow the chair to be controlled by the dominant hand, as well as variations in mounting or support. Some of these chairs offer the possibility of adding other controls such as the ability to steer it with other parts of the body or by changes in posture, or even control elements around them like computers or phones.

There are other specs that should be taken into account, among them are the turning radius, the power of the motors, the capacity of the motors, and above all the possibility of a change in the clinical situation of the user.

An excellent option to start in the world of power chairs is the Felix power chair. It is a folding, steel chair with two motors. Its maximum speed is 8 km/h (5 mph) and each charge can yield between 25-30 km (15.5-18.5 miles) of travel. If you are interested in more information, you can contact us and we will gladly help.

Jorge Ramos, MD Sales Manager for the Caribbean

Health professional with marketing and sales skills, lover of technology, videojegos and sports. His weaknesses are coffee and his family.

Location: Santa Tecla, El Salvador Contact
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