How to Use an Electric Wheelchair Safely

By Published On: 19 April 2022

LITH-TECH offer a range of folding electric wheelchairs. One thing that forms a large part of our offering to each and every customer is our demonstrations, where we spend time with a potential customer, helping them to find their ideal wheelchair.

As well as ensuring that the customer has the wheelchair that will best suit them, we use these demonstrations to help them to use their wheelchair safely and in the correct way.

Using an Electric Wheelchair Safely

Electric powered wheelchairs do require a careful approach to driving, and there’s some things that you do need to know before you start using one.

Choosing the Right Wheelchair

As we’ve highlighted many times before, not every wheelchair will suit everyone. Different wheelchairs have different properties and materials that all affect the feel of driving but also the type of user they’re best suited to.

For example, someone with Parkinson’s disease or another disability that affects their fine motor control will want a wheelchair that has been programmed to be slower to avoid the sudden jerk that can happen on acceleration. Electric power is an instant delivery of power, so if you are not used to the feeling and control of a joystick, or have shakier hands, then you will need to have a lower speed wheelchair that can ensure the safety of the user.

This is because lower speeds mean less acceleration potential, and for someone who may have a struggle with dexterity, it’s imperative that they don’t have the ability to be able to go to speeds as fast as someone who has full motor control.

Similarly, a user who is over a certain bodyweight may feel uncomfortable in a wheelchair that is a very lightweight frame as a chair that is too light for them can be dangerous to use.

Navigating the Outside World

Pavements and roads are not often conducive to electric wheelchair usage. With curbs, cambers and drain covers all posing problems to wheelchair users, it’s important that you learn the proper technique.

Toby, CEO and founder of LITH-TECH Mobility, covered how to take curbs in a video, which you can watch below.

Setting Up Your Wheelchair Comfortably

Different disabilities require different approaches to wheelchair setup. For example, some people might require a headrest to support their neck more.

We also completely personalise your joystick, programming it to suit your needs, from speed limitations to slower acceleration. This all depends on the person and their disability, as it’s important that for your own, and others’, safety that your wheelchair is personalised to your needs.

Another key thing we do to ensure that your wheelchair is comfortable is to organise your cushioning. Someone with longer legs will need to be sat further back in the wheelchair seat in order to feel fully comfortable. To accommodate this, we can move cushions around to allow the user to be as far back in the chair as possible.

Using a Wheelchair in Adverse Weather Conditions

In bad weather, such as rain, snow or windy conditions, the safest thing to do is to stay indoors. LITH-TECH’s wheelchairs work best in good weather. In light rain, you will need to cover the joystick to protect it, as the workings can get damaged.

Carefully Using an Electric Wheelchair Inside the Home

Inside homes, electric wheelchairs need careful use to keep you safe and the house well protected. At LITH-TECH, we regularly receive calls from people who need replacement armrests as they’ve knocked and damaged them when going through a door or in a hallway.

To be careful inside a home, the most important thing is to have an adaptive home. This means wider hallways, doorways that have a small lip on and doors that can open fully to allow for full turning circles.

However, when navigating around homes, be sure to keep your elbows tucked into your side to ensure that you don’t accidentally bump them as you navigate around.

Are you Looking For Help With Electric Wheelchair Purchasing?

Speak to LITH-TECH today, and we can book in a demonstration to help you make your decision. Get in touch today.

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