While modern technology and the advent of power wheelchairs allow wheelchair users to move more easily and quickly both inside and outside, wheelchair users often find it difficult to participate on the same level as other individuals who do not suffer from a lack of mobility due to their inability to raise and lower themselves. Individuals who must use a wheelchair for their main source of mobility are positioned at a lower height than those who are able to move standing up. This lower height can make it difficult for patients in wheelchairs to reach items on higher shelves, transfer out of their wheelchair to their bed or a toilet independently, and generally participate normally in the world with minimal help from others. Seat elevators for power wheelchairs can serve as a solution to these chronic problems which wheelchair-bound individuals face every day.
Seat elevators is an add on power function that allow patients to lift and lower the seats of their wheelchairs while they are seated in them. They operate through an electromechanical lift system and can be easily controlled at all times by the wheelchair user. These devices are designed to make mobility easier, safer, and more comfortable for wheelchair-bound individuals as well as allow them to participate independently from a seated position in a world designed for those who are able to move without the use of a wheelchair. Seat elevators have many benefits for wheelchair-bound individuals, including pain reduction, increased self confidence and social skills, and increased independence.
Reduced Pain and Ease of Transfer
Seat elevators can help reduce pain for wheelchair-bound individuals in a number of ways. They allow these individuals to transfer themselves more easily into their bed or a chair, onto a toilet, or onto the the floor or a lower surface without injuring themselves or requiring help from someone else. This ease of independent transfer can help reduce pain and strain on an individual’s knees and hips and reduce the need for extensive strength in their extremities.
Increased Self Confidence and Social Skills
Seat elevator devices allow wheelchair-bound patients to communicate on the same level as most other people. When they are interacting with someone who is standing up, an individual in a wheelchair can use their seat elevator to lift their seat in order to be at eye level with the person they are speaking to. This ability to raise themselves to the same level as their family members, friends, and colleagues can have a significantly positive impact on wheelchair-bound patients’ self confidence and social skills.
In addition to being able to transfer themselves more independently, individuals with wheelchair seat elevators are able to function in the world as a whole without as much dependence on others. They are able to lift and lower their own seat in order to sit at a standard height at any table. When they go to the grocery store, they can lift their seat to reach the items they need on higher shelves without asking for help. Wheelchair users with seat elevators are able to function more independently as a whole in stores, restaurants, and even in their own home.
Of course, a consumer must be evaluated by a physical or occupational therapist but also a medical supplier with a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) to determine if a power seat elevator is a good solution for the wheelchair user’s condition and environment. Often times, funding does not cover the cost of a seat elevator but their may be some alternative funding options available to add the seat elevator to a new power wheelchair. American Seating and Mobility’s staff of ATPs at our branches in Fife, WA, Portland, OR, Billings, MT or Post Falls, ID can work with you and your healthcare team to determine if a seat elevator is a good solution for your unique situation.