Ever struggled to push up a slight slope? Have you sat in your car whilst your kids are at football training? Do you get wrist and shoulder pain from pushing all day? Has your therapist been encouraging you to consider a powered wheelchair? If you have answered yes to one or all of these questions, then you may need to consider power assist options for your manual wheelchair.
Power Assist is a motorised device that can be attached to your manual wheelchair. Over the last few years we have seen an increase in aftermarket options available in the Australian market. For many who have taken the leap, the power assist device has become part of their everyday routine offering independence through discreet motorised assistance throughout the day.
Power Assist devices can be in the form of an aftermarket attachment (Max Mobility Smart drive), wheelchair power drives (Quickie iXpress, Alber Efix, Merits Power Pack), pushrim activated wheel assembly (Alber Emotion, Ottobock esupport) and Trike options (Firefly and Batec Electric).
The primary purpose of a power assist device is to allow the wheelchair user to propel with less energy expenditure. The repeated strain on upper extremities can lead to chronic pain, soft tissue injury and muscle tears. If strength and fatigue are issues, the ability to extend functional mobility is all empowering.
If you are considering a new wheelchair frame with the view of attaching a power assist device, a number of questions need to be answered including:
In summary, power assist wheelchair users desire to maintain (and at times regain) their independence with the look and feel of a manual wheelchair. The power assist device offers a helping hand to get through the day. The range has expanded for clients with spinal cord injuries and the best option is the one that meets your mobility and lifestyle needs. Most are compatible with all leading chair manufactures and extensive discussions with your wheelchair supplier will result in you making an informed decision.
Know your chair – Know where it comes from – Know the tools to be used Knowing where your wheelchair was manufactured, will give you
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