Tag Archives: wheelchair user

Wheelchair Accessibility

Wheelchair accessibility helps people who can no longer get around without support. You can optimize your home and your daily life to make things easier for your loved one if they are not as mobile as they use to be.

Wheelchair Ramps
Ramps make it much easier for people in wheelchairs to exit and enter their homes. The material for the ramps should be standard wood, but you can use protective coatings on the ramp to make sure that the weather doesn’t weaken it. You must check to see if the person using the wheelchair can easily push themselves up the ramp and down the ramp without the wheels getting snagged on anything.

Don’t space the wooden planks too far apart. The gaps in the wood can cause a bumpy ride at the least and a health hazard if you’re not careful. You can even buy portable ramps that you can take with you on road trips. The person in the wheelchair may also need help getting into vehicles and other establishments. Portable ramps can certainly come in handy at the most inconvenient times.

Wider Doors Inside
You must ensure that doors have easy paths of travel. Don’t place boxes or other items close to doors when a person using a wheelchair will have to navigate through the opening. The doors in the home may need to be wider if they are less than 32 inches wide. The wheelchair user must have plenty of space to get through.

Wider doors can also make a people feel more comfortable inside the home. The bare minimum amount of space can make them feel cramped and closed in. They should at least be given some freedom of movement even though they are using a wheelchair.

Wider Hallways
Wider hallways are also essential to the comfort and well-being of someone who gets around in a wheelchair. The wheelchair must be able to move freely through the halls with plenty of space to spare. Make sure there is at least 36 inches of space between the walls in the hallways.

You might also need wider hallways if the wheelchair will need to turn corners to get to different rooms. It can be difficult for a wheelchair to navigate through tight corridors without rounded corners. Leaving plenty of space will ensure a happier and healthier experience.

Bathroom Changes
It’s time to get rid of that bathtub in your bathroom. Showers are much more accessible for wheelchairs than bathtubs. You can also install hand-held shower heads and seats so that people using wheelchairs can have a better chance at bathing themselves. The person will be much more comfortable in the shower since they can just open the door and wheel their way in.

Where To Begin: Accessibility Options

Vehicles can be adapted in many different ways, but the options are almost always dependent on how the wheelchair user plans to use it on a day-to-day basis. A few questions to consider when initially thinking about what you need are:

  • What’s the ideal location for the wheelchair user to sit in the vehicle?
  • Will the wheelchair user be driving?
  • Does the wheelchair user want to transfer out of their seat?
  • Is the wheelchair positioned at an extended height or width?

After those questions are answered, you can begin to look into the various accessibility conversions available to fit your vehicle needs. A few of the most common features include hand controls, transfer seats and ramp or lift style.

How To Choose An Accessible Vehicle For A Child

Wheelchair vans are often needed by families who have children with disAbilities. Vehicles with special features are available and/or can be converted to accommodate them. The most important step is to start with an appointment with a mobility specialist.

Here are a few facts needed to help determine which accessible option best fits the needs of your child and your family.

The Child’s Size
A mobility consultant should be incredibly thorough in compiling the details such as wheelchair width and height, your child’s height while seated in the wheelchair, and other essential information, which should help identify the perfect van for your family.

Your child’s age and size are factors, too. If your child is young/small the vehicle that they easily fit into now could possibly be out grown. It is important to not only think of their needs now, but also to keep in mind that their needs may change in the future.

The Family’s Size
Consider the size of your family. A big family (5-7 children) might need the extra room provided by a full-size van. For smaller families, an adapted minivan should work nicely, and both vehicle styles can be equipped for wheelchair accessibility. Keep in mind that even an only child will have friends who will join you for an occasional outing.

The Child’s Condition
Along with wheelchair size, your child’s condition has tremendous bearing on vehicle selection. When a child with limited mobility travels with a ventilator or feeding tube, the vehicle must accommodate it. In such situations, rear entry access is often the better option.

Side entry vans require the wheelchair user to maneuver into position; an operating ventilator or feeding tube on an independent portable stand can easily make positioning awkward. Rear entry access eliminates the need to maneuver–the wheelchair and ancillary equipment roll directly into position from the back of the van.

If you or a caretaker needs to assist your child, it would be helpful to have a seat right next to the wheelchair, as the front passenger seat can make interaction awkward.

Now is a good time to talk about the front-passenger seat, which can be adapted for portability, so you can remove it completely. With a wheelchair docking system installed, the coveted front-passenger position is wheelchair-ready.

That said, size definitely matters here. The laws in some states restrict the size of a child riding in that position, with a typical recommendation of 50 lbs.+ and the ability to tolerate the force of a deployed airbag. A child with a frail or sensitive physical condition should be seated in the middle of the vehicle for safety. Make sure to familiarize yourself with your state’s seat-belt laws for wheelchair passengers.

When there are several passengers in the van, middle seating in the vehicle would put your child at the center of attention and always part of the fun. The side entry accessible van has an array of configuration possibilities, including jump seats and the potential for passenger seating in front, alongside, and behind the wheelchair user in any accessible van.

Focus on the Future
When you find the accessible vehicle that fits the needs of you, your child and family now but are concerned about the changes that may come over time, discuss them with your mobility consultant. Future you has a few options. Keep in mind that additional modifications can be made to your vehicle to better fit you and your family. Another option future you will have is to trade in your vehicle for a newer one that will fit your needs better.