April 1, 2023

Power Wheelchairs

Power wheelchairs are divided into two categories:

  • Consumer power wheelchairs
  • Rehab power wheelchairs

Consumer Power wheelchairs have a van-style or captain’s seat that the user sits in to drive the power wheelchair with their hand via the joystick. The power bases vary in size, performance, ability to disassemble/fold, battery range, and weight capacity.

Rehab Power wheelchairs have seat supports and usually handles on the back, and a seat pan.  These features will accommodate different back supports and seat cushions.  These seating system frames will also accommodate head, trunk, and thigh supports.  These custom features necessitate a specific wheelchair evaluation. Shara Anderson, Occupational Therapist, and owner of USA Rehab, has a passion for assessing needs for Rehab power wheelchairs.

Power seating systems, such as power tilt-in-space, recline, seat elevation, leg elevation, and even power standing are also possible on the rehab power wheelchair.  The power base may be front wheel, mid wheel, center wheel, or rear wheel drive, depending on a user’s mobility needs.  The power bases vary in size, performance, battery range, and weight capacity.  If the user is not able to use either hand to operate the power wheelchair alternate drive controls can be explored, such as controls operated by the chin.