The term mobility chair refers to a wheelchair which is only required as a means of transportation. It can otherwise be termed a transport wheelchair. A mobility chair can help someone who has limited or no mobility to get about. This umbrella term would not usually include wheelchairs appropriate for those that spend 24/7 in a wheelchair, who have other considerations such as posture, pressure care etc to name just two. Mobility chairs come in different shapes and forms, dependent on the needs of the person using the chair.
Mobility chairs can be split up into two major categories, chairs that are pushed by another person, often referred to as attendant propelled chairs, and self-propelled chairs which are mobility chairs that the user drives themselves. Self drive wheelchairs can be either manually propelled by pushing large wheels or a powered wheelchair which has a motor.
These mobility chairs are typically designed for elderly or frail individuals that do not have either the physical power or mental strength to control their own chair. Therefore they are intended to be pushed by an attendant, such as a relative or a carer.
Attendant mobility chairs should be lightweight and foldable so that they are transportable and can be lifted into the boot of a car. Making them ideal for activities such as; family day trips, shopping, or attending appointments.
Mobility chairs also come with a wider range of supportive accessories to improve the comfort and safety of the user such as headrests. There is also the option of adding a power pack to these chairs, making it easier for the attendant to push and break. These power assist packs such as those manufactured by Alber can be essential for elderly carers or for propelling heavier persons.
It is important to note that a mobility chair for a user with more complex needs often requires an assessment by a health professional such as your local Occupational or Physiotherapist, to ensure the chair is tailored just right to meet the user’s needs.
Self-propelled mobility chairs
These chairs vary dependent on the users activities and can be split in to two further categories; manual mobility chairs, which a user propels by means of pushing large wheels, like the Action 2NG or a powered wheelchair like the Dragon, which the user can drive independently via use of a joystick or other power control system.
Manual self-propelled wheelchairs in general vary a great deal in design dependent on the needs of the user but for purely mobility chairs what you need to look at is comfort, weight and a smooth effortless propulsion. The Action 4NG is a suitable example for those that need a reliable robust chair for everyday use. If you need a chair for mobility and want to self propel you will need a lightweight chair to reduce energy consumption but will also need to be easy to manoeuvre and durable enough for day to day usage. Best to stick to establish brands with proven quality.
Powered mobility chairs are for users that want to be independent however do not have the strength required to propel themselves. They can also be adapted to accommodate the support of an attendant. Basic powered mobility chairs such as the Pronto are a great option due to their excellent maneuverability and size with a battery life to support other everyday activities, like socializing and running errands..
As you can see there is a lot more to the term mobility chair than you may initially think. There are many options available dependent on your needs to maximise independence and engagement in activity.