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A power or motorized wheelchair offers speed and mobility to people who are confined to wheelchairs and those who suffer from permanent disabilities. A power wheelchair provides many more advanced features compared to a manual wheelchair and as a result cost much more.
Basic power wheelchairs cost around $5,000 but with more advanced features and technology they can go as high as $30,000. The good news is that there is a Medicare benefit that some people can use to get a wheelchair virtually for free.
To make use of the Medicare benefit that covers the cost of a power wheelchair, the chair has to go to someone who relies on it to carry out basic daily tasks such as grooming, getting dressed, bathing or using the toilet. The Medicare benefit will not apply to those who can use a walker, cane or a manual wheelchair for mobility purposes. If you have private health insurance, be sure to check your policy before buying a power wheelchair as it might cover a good portion of the wheelchair costs.
Apart from being very costly, most power wheelchairs do not collapse. Therefore, if the user is traveling by plane, they might need a backup manual wheelchair. When traveling, power wheelchairs can be dismantled, however, it is a long, tedious process and it will also have to be reassembled at the destination.
Always consult with the power wheelchair user's doctors about their physical condition before making the final purchase. The doctor will be able to suggest the most suitable power wheelchair to accommodate the user's needs.
For instance, if the user is unable to use their hands, the joystick will have to be modified so the user can control the power chair with another part of their body.
Power wheelchairs are highly customizable and can be made to accommodate virtually any physical disability. There are accessories for power wheelchairs that are made specifically to improve the support and comfort of users. Such accessories include arm rests, memory foam cushions, shower seats and ramps for power wheelchairs.
Seat belts are an important safety feature for power wheelchairs as some of them can move at high speeds and users need this extra precaution. Users have to be extra vigilant around young kids who might mistake the wheelchair's joystick with that of a video game and could cause the chair to move unexpectedly. Priority should be given to the user of the power wheelchair as well as those in the chair's immediate vicinity.
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