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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

Monthly Archives: May 2017

  • Wheelchair ramps - what to look for when buying

    We sell a fairly wide range of wheelchair ramps and are frequently asked for advice on which ramp to buy. There are different styles of ramps for wheelchairs and each has its perks and is intended for a different type of operation and situation, so we decided it would be good to create a brief guide to explain the key differences between each model and point out which are best for manual and electric wheelchairs.

    So, when looking for the perfect wheelchair ramp it is worth considering these simple factors to ensure that you pick the right type and the right size.

    Ramp length

    For self propelled and transit wheelchair we advise that the maximum gradient for the ramp is 1:6.

    This means that in moving forward 6 feet you climb just one foot in height or in other words if you need to tackle a 1ft rise in your wheelchair, you will need a 6ft ramp to do so comfortably and safely. When it comes to electric wheelchairs you will need a lesser gradient to avoid the powerchair from grounding out as you mount the ramp due to their low ground clearance.

    Ramp Width

    This one is more obvious in that the wheelchair ramp needs to be wide enough to accommodate your wheelchair or powerchair yet narrow enough to fit into the threshold you are bridging.

    Once you have calculated the dimensions of the ramp that you require you can consider which of the styles suits your purpose best. Here are the most common types of wheelchair ramp:

    Threshold ramps

    These are most commonly used to bridge single steps and door thresholds and are typically made from aluminium or fibreglass and are rigid designs (that is they do not fold or roll-up). Often as not the surface has a tread plate finish or uses grip tape to ensure there is traction for the wheelchair.

    Channel ramps

    These are used mainly for access in to vehicles or up bridge steps and from two channels which help to keep the wheelchair moving in the right direction. Channel ramps for wheelchairs are often of portable design and are not intended to be fitted permanently. They tend to come in a variety of lengths but are not suitable for electric wheelchairs due to the side walls.

    Roll-up ramps

    As their name suggests, these wheelchair ramps simply roll up when not in use. Made using aluminium extrusion, the rollup wheelchair ramps are very convenient for those who travel frequently and need to take their ramps to their destination. Often supplied with a carry bag, these provide a quick and easy solution to access to buildings where steps are involved. These ramps suit manual wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs and scooters.

    Folding ramps

    These have become more sophisticated in recent years and now provide a truly portable solution for both manual and electric wheelchairs. As their name suggests, these ramps fold to halve their width meaning that they can then be transported with ease. Typically made from aluminium, these folding wheelchair ramps are lightweight and have an anti-slip grip surface togive good traction.

    There are folding ramps which fold both length ways and width ways and these are known asmultifolding ramps. The idea of these is to be a compact as possible to allow them to be transported and used where and when needed by the wheelchair user. These too are suitable for powerchairs and manual wheelchairs as long as they are rated to a sufficient weight. This weight has to include the wheelchair, the ser and sometimes the attendant also.

    Cross folding wheelchair ramps

    These are very popular for vehicle access as they folds to half their length, making the extremely easy to store. Typically made from aluminium they too are lightweight and have an anti-slip grip surface.

    Fixed ramps

    Fixed ramps or non-folding wheelchair ramps. As their name suggests, these ramps are simply a one piece rigid ramp that is full width to cater for both electric wheelchairs and manual models. Typically they have a lip or side walls to help contain the wheelchair. These are often shorter than other models and used in permanent locations to overcome lower rises. For occasional use they can be quick to setup and therefore useful if you have infrequent visits from a wheelchair user.

    If you want to know anything else about the wheelchair ramps that we sell please call us and we can advise on the best model for your needs.

  • Coming soon the Ogo electric wheelchair from down under

    Do you remember the Segway ? heralded as a new mode of transport back in 2001 it has now become the core of a new electric wheelchair concept thanks to the team who have designed it down in New Zealand.

    In the next month or two this new powerchair is due for release and will be available commercially for the first time. Described by occupational therapists as very exciting, the Ogo electric wheelchair is also described as a personal transportation system and combines the unique active moving seat control system with the very best of self-balancing technology to form a powerchair that can be controlled by body movements.

    Although the Ogo really doesn’t look like a regular electric wheelchair, it does however appear to fill a gap that exists for powerchair users who want a bit more freedom and something more challenging. It won't suit all electric wheelchair users although it may well massively enhance the lifestyle of many, allowing more freedom and more scope.

    If you are already thinking the Ogo electric wheelchair is not for you because it requires good use of your core muscles to steer it then don’t worry. This powerchair comes with a choice of three types of control, hands-free, seat steer or joystick control.

    The hands free capability is the big attraction to me. Most forms of mobility scooter and electric wheelchair require one or both hands to be in use all the time to drive and steer the mobility aid. With the Ogo both hands remain free, opening up a plethora of opportunities for sport and outdoor pursuits. In fact looking at their videos, you may want your hands to hang on as this electric wheelchair seems to be able to go places no other powerchair has ventured before !

    See more Ogo videos here

    By using your core and upper body muscles you are able to both steer and control the pace of the Ogo electric wheelchair. This balance requirement is what makes this powerchair different and for those who are able, it will help them to keep strength in their core muscles. When used in normal conditions on a footpath this requirement is fairly minimal. However, move to a more challenging terrain and you will need to brace yourself and hang on as the Ogo becomes an off road monster that can go just about anywhere, with the ability to tackle soft sandy surfaces, loose gravel, rough terrain and steep inclines. In relative the Ogo powerchair is relatively small and light in weight yet it is potentially faster than most other powered mobility devices and electric wheelchairs.

    The Ogo seems to beat traditional powered wheelchair is many ways. Firstly it has a huge range, potentially up to 40 km / 24.8 miles on a single charge. Secondly it achieves reasonable speeds of 20 kph / 12 mph which is far greater than any other production electric wheelchair on the market. SO where can the Ogo be used ? It is designed to be used for where ever pedestrians can access. It can be used as a primary or secondary wheelchair, medical aid, a toy, a piece of sports and recreational equipment.

    What is nice about the way the Ogo is being marketed is that it is not simply a piece of mobility equipment nor an electric wheelchair. Instead it is being promoted to able bodied folk as well as those with disabilities, which, when you think about its removes stigma attached to using a mobility aid such as a powerchair. If folk who are not wheelchair users become frequent users then any user of the Ogo will not be assumed to be disabled nor a wheelchair user.

    One restriction of the Ogo is the weight restriction of 110 KG which equates to about 17 stone, however there are plans afoot to make a model for heavier users. In the UK the speed will be restricted to in the United Kingdom it is limited to 4mph/6.5 kph.

    Ogo  state Ogo is not just about the users. Family and friends of those who have trialed the Ogo love it too. They have told us that their homes are a happier and healthier environment - that Ogo means more freedom and independence for them and increased opportunities to get back into activities they had given up - walking the bush trails, rediscovering the  beaches and parks, shopping. Just participating in life with their partners. “Grabbing life by the wheels”.

    So if you are in the market for a new electric wheelchair and can afford to wait a month or two then you might like to consider the Ogo ! Or if you are looking for a more regular powerchair please visit here.

  • Just whistle for your electric wheelchair !

    When staff at the hospital in Israel found themselves wasting time collecting electric wheelchairs for their patients one of them decided it would be good if you could beckon for your electric wheelchair like you would a well-trained dog and it would come to you. Then they invented Chair Call !

    Now they have just that, powerchairs and electric wheelchairs that are commanded by an app on their mobile phones allows them to call their chair from within near distance.

    A team of experts at the Jerusalem hospital developed the device now called 'Chair Call' to help improve the quality of life for wheelchair users.

    Alyn Rehabilitation Hospital for disabled children near Haifa north of Tel Aviv developed the app and the associated device that brings electric wheelchairs to their users like well trained dogs at their beck and call.

    The device fits easily on to the joystick of the electric wheelchair and the application installs on to a tablet of mobile phone. The cost of this small device is under £15 making it very affordable for a powerchair user and making their life easier by way of having their electric wheelchair to hand at all times.

    Acting like a remote control, the device allows you to call your electric wheelchair. Often as not powerchairs are stores out of the way when the user is in bed or in another chair. So to be able to call you wheelchair when it is needed is a very attractive proposition and will make many users lives easier.

    The development team is headed by Hila Borel and includes specialists in paediatric rehabilitation.

    Other volunteers from Intel and various techie organizations recently won the prize for outstanding social development from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. They developed the electric wheelchair friendly device when theory recognised the need of the children treated at the hospital.

    Alyn Hospital is dedicated to helping physically disabled children to become more independent and use technology as part of their remit. Locally this system can be fitted to an electric wheelchair for just 60NIS or under £20.

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