Navigating Mobility Choices

Navigating Mobility Choices

Power Assist vs. Power Wheelchairs

Choosing the right mobility solution is a significant decision that can greatly impact one’s daily life. When it comes to electric mobility options, individuals often find themselves at the crossroads of deciding between a Power Assist and a Power Wheelchair. In this blog post, we’ll explore the factors that can guide your decision-making process and help you determine when to choose Power Assist over a Power Wheelchair.

1. Level of Independence: 

  • Power Assist: Ideal for individuals who still have some upper body strength and prefer a level of manual control. Power assist devices are designed to enhance or supplement the effort exerted during manual wheelchair propulsion, providing an extra boost when needed.
  • Power Wheelchair: Suited for those who may have limited upper body strength or face challenges in self-propelling a manual wheelchair independently.

2. Usage Patterns:

  • Power Assist: Great for individuals with varying levels of activity. Ideal for those who want assistance during longer distances or more challenging terrains while maintaining the ability to self-propel.
  • Power Wheelchair: Well-suited for individuals who require constant powered assistance due to limited mobility or endurance.

3. Transportation and Storage:

  • Power Assist: Generally more lightweight and easier to transport, making it a convenient choice for those who may need to fold and store their mobility device frequently.
  • Power Wheelchair: While some models are portable, power wheelchairs can be bulkier and may require specific transportation accommodations.

4. Cost Considerations:

  • Power Assist: Often a more budget-friendly option compared to power wheelchairs, making it accessible to a broader range of individuals and plans.
  • Power Wheelchair: Typically involves a higher upfront cost due to the integrated electric systems and advanced features.

5. Customisation and Adjustability:

  • Power Assist: Offers the advantage of being adaptable to a variety of manual wheelchair models, providing users with more options for customisation.
  • Power Wheelchair: Provides a fully integrated, customisable solution with advanced features like tilt, recline, and specialised controls for tailored comfort.

Other considerations to note;

  • It is important to discuss your clients goals and desired outcomes and consult with an experienced equipment provider to be sure expectations are realised.
  • There are many different options available for power assist, however not all are transit tie down approved.
  • Power assist is NOT a power wheelchair.
  • Power assist units can be added to an existing wheelchair, as long as the existing wheelchair has a frame approved for power add on.
  • Power assist can also be set up for attendant drive, even on manual tilt in space wheelchairs.

Ultimately, the decision between Power Assist and a Power Wheelchair boils down to individual needs, lifestyle, and preferences. Understanding these key factors will empower you to make an informed choice that aligns with your unique requirements. Whether it’s the added control of Power Assist or the comprehensive support of a Power Wheelchair, both options are designed to enhance mobility and contribute to a more independent and fulfilling life.

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