Manual Vs Electric Wheelchair

Manual wheelchairs require the user or caregiver to push the chair. For users who spend most of their time in a wheelchair, being able to propel the wheelchair by themselves is important for their sense of independence. Electric wheelchairs (or power) allow to go long distances without tiring and not require any caregiver. They make mobility and independence possible for users at any level of strength, agility, and endurance. The power seating options allow tilt, recline, and adjust positions at the touch of a button.

For wheelchair users, trying to decide between the portability of a manual chair and the independence of a power chair can be a difficult decision. Some travelers choose to bring both in order to use a electric wheelchair as a primary means of mobility while having a back-up manual wheelchair with them just in case. For those who do not use a wheelchair at home, but who have other mobility disabilities, renting or bringing along a lightweight wheelchair could offer benefits while abroad, especially if travel over long distances or over difficult terrain is expected. The weight of Manual Wheelchairs can vary quite a bit, ranging from 21 to 40 pounds. Power chairs, on the other hand, can be in the range of 250 to 350 pounds without the user. For this reason, these types of electric chairs tend to be pretty inexpensive. People with upper body strength typically use a manual – they propel it with their arms on the rims of the wheels. Many people cannot push a wheelchair with their own arm strength and may require a wheelchair powered by batteries.

According to clinical needs which wheelchair you prefer determined in two ways; through your own knowledge and understanding of the body, how it feels, and what issues you have, and by the recommendations of an occupational or physiotherapist who specializes in properly assessing people who need a wheelchair. Many people who lived with a disability for a long time, have found that careful consideration of what is the best way to get around has been a key to their independence. For some people the solutions have included multiple devices – different environments, different devices – a manual wheelchair in the home, a Electric Wheelchair to work and even a hand cycle for exercise.

Manual wheelchairs have to be driven around manually and may get really strenuous for a patient after a point in time. It is thus always nice to go for an electrically powered chair. Electrical chairs are equipped with the most modern features to ensure extra comfort for the operator. Electric wheel chairs are, however, usually more expensive than their manual counterparts which is very well justified owing to the features they are equipped with.

Which wheel chair to buy is really a personal choice which can be based on the budget, the nature of injury and the nature of requirement. If a patient is to be wheel chair ridden for months on end, investing in an electrically operated wheel chair would be a better option. A manual wheel chair would be a good choice for a patient who is only immobile for a short duration of time—a month at the most may be!

In conclusion, there are 3 contributing factors to consider when choosing between a manual and an electric wheelchair: your budget, your physical condition and your primary use for the chair. Once you have determined these, you will hopefully find making your decision much easier.

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