During a recent call from a customer we were asked how many of our electric wheelchairs have power seats fitted as standard and which powerchairs can have them fitted as an optional extra. We have sold models with this feature but it got us scratching our heads as to which of our current electric wheelchairs currently on sale have this ability.
We rarely are asked for this so we started to wonder how powerchair users who live on their own actually manage to undertake some of the simplest chores like reaching for items that are stored in top cupboards or how do they reach light switches.
Another good reason for using an electric wheelchair with an elevating chair is to allow the user to have conversations with people at an eye to eye level. This is often very important to many of us and is an important part of establishing good rapport when meeting people for the first time.
We know that many rooms and in deed entire homes are often converted for use by wheelchair users and so appreciate that many household items are rearranged to make things in reach. However for those who are not fortunate enough to have had their home converted or those who find themselves on the move and in others houses and offices the use of an elevating seat is invaluable.
Many daily chores including shopping require the ability to reach up for items, buttons or handles, even using the lift can sometimes become a problem if you can't reach the top range of the push buttons. This is where an electric wheelchair with an elevated seat comes in handy, allowing the user to rise sometimes as much as 500mm or 20" giving them that added reach.
Wheelchair users who cannot afford nor qualify for financial assistance to have their rooms or entire home converted may consider replacing their model with an electric wheelchair that has the elevating seat or might be able to find a company who can carry out a retro fit of a lifting seat. This may be a more viable option.
The most common design for the elevating or lifting seat is the gas powered or hydraulic system where a battery operated pump creates pressure to lift the chair on a hydraulic ram or piston which is operated from the wheelchair controls. However care should be taken to make sure the user's feet and or footrests do not become trapped under items including furniture as the seat rises up. There are some powerchair models that can be used at a reduced slow speed with the seat fully elevated which is often useful when browsing high shelves and other displays.
We will soon be compiling a limited choice of electric wheelchairs with this feature.