When talking about hoists for the car and wheelchairs there are two sorts: ones for assisting you from the car in to your wheelchair (and vice versa) using a light weight hoist that potentially require support from another person, and ones that are more like slings that can be used independently. Which is right for you depends on a number of factors.
Getting in and out of the car is a task that most don’t even give a second thought about, but when it comes to the less abled, it can be one of the trickiest and most awkward tasks, especially if you are transferring from a wheelchair to the car or vice versa.
Whether your mobility is the result of a life-changing injury, an unfortunate condition or age related, extra care in such manoeuvres is needed to avoid nasty falls or broken bones. Thankfully, there are car hoists available that allow wheelchair users to go where and when they want and provide the comfort of relieving the feeling of helplessness that sometimes comes with a lack of mobility. Even for the carers these hoists make the transfer process a quick and easy one.
Obviously the less intrusive these hoists are, the better. A portable hoist will enable you to be seated comfortably and securely into the car. Once in the car, the hoist can be collapsed and placed into the boot, taking up minimal space, or stowed away (depending on the type you go for) and getting you on the move more quickly.
This all sounds great but chances are you might need assistance from a carer, family member or a friend. Unless you have the strength, dexterity, good upper body control and balance you will not be able to operate a hoist solo. Stowing away the hoist and dragging in the wheelchair after you is likely to be the biggest challenge.
It would always be best to visit a supplier and try before you buy. This not only gives you the opportunity to learn about how they fit in your car (if it is a sling hoist) or fit in the boot, how easy they are to use and how comfortable they are.
The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers website offers some great tips on actually getting in and out of the wheelchair and in to the car.
Easily collapsible and storable, a portable car hoist is a small, capable and versatile solution for both the disabled and elderly. However, if this is not for you and the idea of a bigger vehicle does not dissuade you then a wheelchair accessible vehicle may be the one for you.
As with all mobility equipment it is 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.