The powered wheelchair is suited for those having limited use of their arms and legs, those suffering from conditions such as post – polio or multiple sclerosis and the elderly.
Manual wheelchairs require the use of arms to roll the wheelchair and the repetitive nature of this action causes injuries in the shoulders and arms especially as the user gets older. Many manual wheelchair users have shifted to powered wheelchairs and have found the independent mobility it offers to be quite liberating. The powered wheelchair comes in two configurations such as the traditional style which is an adapted version of the traditional manual wheelchair and the platform style which is a seating system installed on top of the powered base.
Powered wheelchairs also come in styles that can perform specialized functions such as enabling the user to reach a standing position, tilt or recline the chair, using the chair on difficult terrains and even to climb stairs. Powered wheelchairs are also built to suit children although the use of it is a debatable issue. Many parents feel that it may not be entirely safe to allow their children to operate it while some feel young children suffering from severe disabilities will benefit greatly in terms of development due to early mobility.
A powered wheelchair comes with a manually controlled joystick with which the user can regulate the speed and direction. Many chairs also come with programmable control features and even voice activated controls. Also, most chairs come with a dynamic braking system which automatically engages the brake as soon as the joystick is released. However, the choice of a powered wheelchair must be made in consultation with a professional and also depending upon the user’s needs, preferences and capabilities.