8 Basic Tips For Using A Power Wheelchair
Author: Nicholas Sutedja Date Posted:7 April 2022
Electric or “power” wheelchairs are an excellent alternative to manual wheelchairs if the mobility and disability of the patient allow. You can control a power wheelchair using an in-built control panel or joystick, giving you more confidence and independence.
While power wheelchairs offer independence and convenience, there are a few things that you will need to keep in mind to get the most out of your chair. Below, we’ve shared eight tips on how to use and care for your power wheelchair — plus, we’ve added a downloadable checklist that you can display wherever you store your wheelchair when not in use!
#1. cHARGE yOUR bATTERY nIGHTLY
Regardless of how much you’ve used your wheelchair throughout the day, we recommend charging your battery every night to ensure you will have a full day of normal use the following day.
This is assuming that the batteries are new and/or in good condition — older batteries can struggle to maintain power, so if you’re noticing any problems with your battery, get in touch with the team from Active Mobility. We can perform a test and install a replacement battery if required.
#2. Charge Lesser-Used Wheelchairs Monthly
Power wheelchairs that are used often tend to have longer lifespans than power wheelchairs that are rarely used or sit idle most of the day. For power wheelchairs that aren’t being used for a long period of time, we recommend charging them once a month to keep them active.
If you aren’t going to use your power wheelchair at all for 15 days or more, consider disconnecting the cable that connects the battery to the chair and charging the batteries weekly.
#3. dRAIN NEW bATTERIES bY 30% fOR tHE fIRST 10 dAYS
If you’ve got a brand new power wheelchair or battery, allow the battery to drain 30% every day for the first 10 days. This will allow your batteries to achieve a fully-charged status.
#4. Avoid Depleting Batteries By Over 80%
Depleting batteries by more than 80% can quickly damage them. If you notice your batteries running low, be sure to charge them as soon as possible to keep them in good working condition.
#5. Ensure Your Tyres Are Fully Inflated
It’s important to ensure that your tyres are fully inflated — this will ease the rolling of the wheelchair, lengthen the time needed between battery charges, maximise your mileage and increase the lifespan of the tyres and tubes.
#6. Take Extra Care On Slippery Surfaces
You should take extra care when the ground is slippery as the brakes may not slow or have difficulty stopping the wheelchair. When the surface is slippery, your tyres will not have proper traction, so be sure to gently brake ahead of time.
#7. Use Caution On Sand and Snow
Like a car or truck, a wheelchair can get stuck on soft terrains. Be careful when travelling on sand or snow — you might get “bogged” in a power wheelchair! As a general rule, we do not recommend operating any wheelchair on sand or snow.
If you’re planning a trip to the beach, we recommend doing some research around accessible beaches and their individual service offerings. Some beaches offer accessible beach matting, accessible bathrooms, accessible parking and more — find a wheelchair-friendly beach near you.
#8. Carry A brightly Coloured Flag For More Visibility
Visibility is important when travelling from point A to B. Adding a brightly coloured flag to your power wheelchair will make you more visible in traffic and parking lots, as well as when you’re travelling at night.
Finally, Download Our Checklist!
Contact Us For More Tips and Information About Power Wheelchairs
These are by no means the only tips for using and caring for a power wheelchair — these are just some basic tips that will ensure your power wheelchair will stay with you for years to come!
If you’re in the market for a new wheelchair, browse through our collection online or book a showroom appointment to see our range of power wheelchairs in Silverwater or Thornton NSW. We have an experienced team of sales professionals and occupational therapists on hand who can help you find the right wheelchair for your needs!