What is a power wheelchair?
A power wheelchair, unlike a wheelchair that requires manual power, runs on an electric motor powered by a rechargeable battery.
It is also known by various other names like a motorized wheelchair, power chair, electric wheelchair or Electric Powered Wheelchair (EPW).
Who needs a power wheelchair?
A power wheelchair is like an upgraded version to a manual one. It is used by individuals who are aged or with disabilities resulting in mobility impairments.
It is for the people who require a wheelchair but lack the energy to operate a basic one manually and/or by those who do not have any caretakers to operate it for them 24/7.
It is also used by individuals with cardiovascular and fatigue-based conditions.
Benefits of a power wheelchair
- The sense of complete independence – It lessens their dependence on people to push their wheelchair around for them.
- It is battery powered and easy to use – individuals using them do not require any assistance to operate it.
- It comes in various types – some of which allow the user to use it in terrains which are not accessible using a manual wheelchair.
- Many customizable seating options – provide the user with the utmost comfort.
- Features like tilt and recline – relieve them of pressure from sitting for long periods of time.
- Can travel long distances – an opportunity to go farther than what might have been possible using a manual wheelchair.
- Small turning radius – it is easily manoeuvrable in tight or small spaces.
Features of a power wheelchair
Power wheelchairs come in various types but all of them have some common features that are listed below:-
Depending on the type of power wheelchair (lightweight or heavy-duty), a 2- pole or 4- pole motor is used. The latter one offers more carrying power.
- They come in wet-cell or dry-cell options. It is usually 12-18 ampere-hour rechargeable type.
- Some power wheelchairs carry an onboard charger which can be plugged into a wall outlet. Some other models may have a separate charger unit.
- It usually takes 8 hours for the batteries of a power wheelchair to fully charge and can last for several hours or use up to 16 to 32 km.
Power wheelchairs are either four-wheeled or six-wheeled that come in four general drive systems- front, center, rear wheel drive, and all-wheel drive.
- Controllers are most commonly in the form of an armrest mounted joystick.
- For severely disabled individuals, other control options like head to chin controller, motion sensitive tube or even an eye-to-computer screen controller are available.
- One such famous example is the electric wheelchair used by none other than the genius, Stephen Hawking!
Types of power wheelchairs
Power wheelchairs are designed for indoor, outdoor or for both indoor and outdoor use. There are 3 types:
Transportable Power Wheelchair:
- It is extremely light in weight in comparison to the other types.
- It can easily be folded and/or disassembled allowing for easy transfer in and out of a car’s trunk.
- It is ideal for usage in narrow and confined spaces.
Outdoor Power Wheelchair:
- The distinguishing feature of this type is the presence of a suspension package, ideal for outdoor use.
- It has got a great battery range and a tight turning radius.
- However, it cannot be folded or disassembled.
Heavy Duty Power Wheelchairs:
- It is built for outdoor use and can withstand usage in rough terrains.
- It possesses a larger motor, wheels and longer frames.
- It provides a smooth ride over rough surfaces and some inclines.
Although it may prove to be a bit expensive for some, it is worth every penny for it guarantees a much better quality of life. However, for financially constrained people, there are some options available. One such option is, if a power wheelchair is prescribed by the doctor, then it can be considerably reimbursed by the medical insurance company you are subscribed to.
Where to buy it?
Power wheelchairs are available in Hyderabad in:
TrueCare Surgicals (Store 1)
Address: H.No 1-100, G2, Hitech City Main Road, Opposite Indian Oil Petrol Pump, Madhapur, Hyderabad, Telangana- 500081
TrueCare Surgicals (Store 2)
Address: Nizampet X Road, Near Sri Sri Holistic Hospital, Behind Vasi Reddy Swagruha Foods, Kukatpally, Hyderabad, Telangana- 500072