8 Important Facts about Electric Wheelchairs

by Calyn Ehid
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Frankly, there is nobody who would want to feel housebound or highly dependent on family members, a caretaker, or friends. But, severe injuries, old age, or debilitating diseases can impair your full functionality, thereby rendering you to a dependent or housebound situation. While such circumstances are unavoidable, investing in proper assistive equipment could improve your mobility, as well as your sense of independence.

8 Important Facts about Electric Wheelchairs

An electric powered wheelchair is one piece of assistive equipment that you can consider if you fall victim to impaired or reduced mobility. These wheelchairs have gained popularity as a significant development that replaces the traditional hand operated/ manual wheelchairs because they are convenient and effective. In addition to convenience, the wheelchairs can be customized to match your mobility issues, and they offer an enhanced maneuverability, amongst other benefits. If you are looking for an electric powered wheelchair, then this post might be helpful since it provides crucial facts that you need to take into account as you plan to improve your mobility.

Some of the facts discussed herein are the cost of the wheelchair, benefits, insurance coverage, places to buy and how they work.

What Is An Electric Powered Wheelchair?

An electric wheelchair uses an electric motor as the means of propulsion instead of a user’s effort. In addition to the electric motor, the wheelchairs use a rechargeable battery to power the engine, and an intuitive joystick or handle for a hassle-free control. Depending on one’s level of mobility impairment, electric wheelchairs can be customized with unique controls like a chin controller, an eye- to- computer screen controller, and other controls. The special controls are adaptable to a range of severe mobility impairments, where a manual/ hand-propelled wheelchair would not be practical.

While these electric wheelchairs are ideal for anybody with mobility impairment, they are well suited for those who are incapable of operating a manual wheelchair, or those who travel for long distances over terrain that would be fatiguing. In fact, an electrically powered wheel chair was engineered to address most if not all the limitations associated with the use of a manually propelled wheelchair.

For instance, an electric powered wheelchair’s electric powered motor provides sufficient propulsion to minimize the effort required to move about. Moreover, the electrical powered wheelchair facilitates the user’s independence since he or she does not need a caretaker to help push the wheelchair around.

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How Much Do Electric Wheelchairs Cost?

The current market offers an array of electric powered wheelchairs that range from the most affordable to the least affordable. The price depends on the style and features that compose a particular wheelchair. As an example, affordable models have only essential features, and they can’t be altered to fit a user’s unique needs. They are intended for indoor use and their average price ranges from $1000 – $1500. High-end models are custom built to match the needs of a user, and they are intended for both indoor and outdoor use. Cheap models in this category cost an average price of $2000.

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Where Do You Find an Electric Wheelchair?

If you are planning to buy an electric powered wheelchair, you can find one in a reputable store that sells many models of electric powered wheelchairs. These stores have a range of wheelchairs to choose from. For that reason, you can readily find one that fits your budget and offers more advantages. Most stores for electric wheelchairs also support online shopping so you can order your preferred wheelchair online, and the retailer ships it to your convenient location. Besides the flexibility to buy a wheelchair from any location, online shopping lets you conduct a cost comparison across multiple sellers to pick one with competitive pricing.

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Who Can Benefit From an Electric Powered Wheelchair?

Ideally, an electric powered wheelchair is a vital piece of assistive equipment for anybody with mobility impairment. However, this type of wheelchair would be more critical if you virtually find it impossible to propel a manual wheelchair due to pain on your joints, or weakness on your arms and shoulders. Furthermore, an electric powered wheelchair would be of help if your manual wheelchair is no longer convenient for the distance and terrain you traverse each day, and you lack somebody to help you push it. This wheelchair is also beneficial for senior citizens who are becoming progressively weaker.

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Is There a Benefit to Foldable Electric Powered Wheelchairs?

Foldability is one of the decisive factors that you need to take into account when planning to buy an appropriate electric-powered wheelchair. Foldable models are designed to collapse or disassemble effortlessly whenever you need to store or transport them on a plane, cruise ship, or a car. Despite their advantages, foldable electric powered wheelchairs are more expensive than their non- foldable part. For that reason, if you are on a low budget, don’t travel a lot, and you have enough storage space to store your wheelchair, then a non- foldable wheelchair would still be an ideal option for you.

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Does Insurance Cover the Cost?

Yes, some insurance providers can offer insurance covering costs when purchasing an electric powered wheelchair. For instance, Medicare Part B covers both the manual and electric types of wheelchairs as durable medical equipment. However, you can only receive these insurance covering costs if your doctor prescribes it as medically necessary medical equipment before you purchase it. Medicare may cover up to 80% of the wheelchair’s cost. Also, Medicare part B can cover you against the costs of repair or replace broken parts of the wheelchair. You should note that Medicare provides these benefits if a Medicare-approved supplier services your wheelchair.

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How An Electric Powered Wheelchair Can Improve Your Mobility

Unlike a manual wheelchair that requires someone to help you push it in some terrains, an electric powered wheelchair’s motor provides sufficient propulsion to help you move around without the help of someone else. In fact, the wheelchair is powerful enough to let you travel long distances and over terrains that you could not manage using a manual wheelchair. In addition to the reliable propulsion, some electric wheelchairs are engineered to let you maneuver around corners, tight spaces, and other settings where the traditional wheelchair could not maneuver. This feature provides the independence you need to maneuver indoors and outdoors.

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Used Vs. New Electric Powered Wheelchairs

While a motor powered wheelchair looks like an excellent way to improve your mobility, the cost of buying a new model can discourage you. If you are in such a situation, then you ought to look around for a used electric wheelchair rather than a new one. Despite their low price and used nature, many of these electric powered wheelchairs work as new. However, some may show signs of cosmetic deterioration. Like the new ones, you can find a used wheelchair in reputable stores or other retail outlets. Always conduct a cost comparison research before buying.