A powered wheelchair can be useful for an individual who may have difficulty with or are unable to self-propel a manual wheelchair. Powered wheelchairs can come in many different sizes for children and adults that can come with standard features and can also be customised according to the person’s needs.
The selection of a suitable powered wheelchair can significantly improve a person’s quality of life and independence. Powered wheelchairs are not for everyone and require in depth consideration and it is suggested that you seek advice from an Occupational Therapist before deciding on a powered wheelchair.
Factors to Consider
- The Individual’s physical abilities – What type of control will best suits the individual’s needs? What size seat will they need? What is their postural control like?
- The Individual’s other abilities – do they have good depth perception? What is their vision like/do the use glasses? What is their memory like? How good is their sense of direction? Can they make judgements regarding the environment, maintain attention and problem solve in order to operate the powered wheelchair?
- What the powered wheelchair will be used for – will the powered wheelchair need to go over different types of ground? How far will the individual be traveling in the powered wheelchair?
- Funding – is the individual eligible for funding to pay for the powered wheelchair. It may be best to consult an Occupational Therapist regarding funding options.