Wheelchair Van and Wheelchair Lift Q & A on ParentGiving.com

A while back we told you that BraunAbility President Nick Gutwein was asked to serve as the Mobility Issues expert on Parentgiving.com, a comprehensive website dedicated to caregivers concerned about the well-being of their aging parents or relatives.

If you haven’t visited the site yet, take a look below at a couple recent questions from site visitors, along with Nick’s answers. If mobility-related issues haven’t affected someone in your family yet, there’s a strong chance they will in the future. Remember this site when you or someone else comes up against an age-related mobility concern!

 

When loading a wheelchair onto a wheelchair lift should the rear of the chair be facing the rear of the lift or the front of the lift?

The abbreviated answer to this good question is to follow the instructions included with the wheelchair lift in question. But for a more thorough response, consider the following: The passage of the ADA in 1990 mandated that public-use wheelchair lifts must permit both inboard and outboard-faced loading. While we make our customers aware of this mandate, we still recommend boarding with the customer facing outward (away from the vehicle) for several reasons. Keeping the occupant’s weight closer to the vehicle makes the occupant feel more secure and stable and allows the lift to operate more efficiently. Also, facing outward eliminates the chance that the occupant’s feet/foot rests accidentally come in contact with the vehicle while the platform is in motion. Additionally, most occupants would feel safest facing outward, especially when unloading, so they can safely steer the wheelchair onto the platform and anticipate the arrival at the outer-roll stop. And one final logistic point, those passengers with large wheelchairs or scooters sometimes cannot fit on the platform if their footrests are not allowed to overhang the platform by facing outward. The bottom line: We want our customers to feel as safe and secure as possible while using Braun lifts, whether for private or public use. If you are considering a wheelchair lift, Braun offers several options for a variety of different situations, like, for example, the size of your wheelchair or scooter, how often you have other passengers and what type of vehicle you use. Take a look at our selection guide of wheelchair lifts at:https://www.braunability.com/wheelchair-lifts/.

Is there a way you can place a swivel chair in the car to make things easier or widen the door for dad to enter into the car or a device like a handle bar for him to grab and rely as a place of strength to enter into the car?

Your father’s mobility challenge is one shared by thousands of people and, depending on a variety of factors (the vehicle, your dad’s size and strength, family and support structure, etc.), the solution may vary. A swivel chair, like Bruno’s Turny Seat, is certainly one option. These mobility chairs can be installed into your minivan and will articulate out of your vehicle, assisting your father as he enters and exits. Widening the door is another story. This generally is not recommended or practical given the structure of the original vehicle. Actually, any modification to the base vehicle should not be done unless performed by a qualified wheelchair accessible vehicle converter/manufacturer. As for installing a handle for added assistance, consider this only after consulting a NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) QAP-certified mobility equipment dealer. You can find the dealer closest to you by searching the ‘Locate a Dealer’ tab on http://www.nmeda.org. These dealers are experts in auto-mobility and can help you find a solution that meets your needs. Remember, make sure the dealer you select is QAP-certified to guarantee the highest quality standards.