If you’ve read our page on manual wheelchairs and are considering one but are cringing at the thought of being pushed or struggling by yourself up slopes then a power drive upgrade may be the solution.
Pushing a wheelchair is never easy, requiring strength and energy, it can be extremely tiring for a user or carer. Power drives have been designed as a rechargeable battery powered addition to your manual wheelchair. There is a wide range available and it is possible to fit to virtually any model of wheelchair and convert a manual wheelchair into powered wheelchair making the operation much easier.
While the name makes it sound like a drag race contender for the traffic lights, it’s actually a rechargeable power pack that is easily fitted to your existing chair as an add-on to give you all the benefits and functionality of a powered wheelchair, but only up to 8mph (depending on the version you go for). So sorry, no opportunities for racing Ferraris.
With the power drives, it’s easier than ever to get out and about without having to miss areas due to slopes or inclines. Now for hills, ramps and uneven surfaces, the strain on you and your carer is greatly reduced, and this opens up the possibility for more adventures, greater distances and different types of journeys out, without the limitations of a manual model.
Different manufacturers have obviously focused on different ways to attach and deliver this extra power. Some integrate the power and batteries into the wheels, which is not so detachable, some are wheelchair power attachments that just clip on, then there are some that hook on to the crossbar underneath your wheelchair. However, all come with automatic breaking to ensure safe descents when heading down slopes and hills.
The concern of running out of power has also been addressed by some manufacturers by offering an adaptor for charging through the car.
As with all mobility equipment it’s best to purchase from a supplier affiliated with the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) to ensure you are getting advice and guidance from a business that has agreed to the BHTA Code of Practice and will not pressure sell.
If you have experience in using power drives, we would love to hear from you. Maybe you can share your story to help others. Get in touch here.