Powered wheelchair guide
We understand it can sometimes appear daunting when looking for the ideal powered wheelchair for your needs. This basic guide will help you before contacting us for a personalised assessment.
Permobil M5 CorpusPermobil M3 Corpus
The Permobil M3 Corpus powered wheelchair is made for more. Its compact base offers manoeuvrability in tight spaces without sacrificing performance.
Recare provides one of the largest powerchair ranges in the UK. The choice is extensive, which means our Trusted Assessors can assess and recommend exactly the right product for your needs every time. Our clinical specialists and technical engineers can use the latest technology and components to configure powerchairs with unique functionality for any need. We have the products and know-how to provide the answer from basic mobility to advanced controls or postural support for complex needs. The journey to owning the right powerchair for you always starts with an assessment from us. However, before you call us, the following information will help you start to understand the many features available:
Powered Wheelchair functions
Drive Modes Available
The drive wheel is simply the larger wheel on the power wheelchair and can impact the way the power wheelchair manoeuvres in different environments. Keep in mind that not everyone will benefit from the same drive wheel configuration.
Mid-Wheel-Drive (MWD) Powerchairs
With MWD, the drive wheel is directly under the wheelchair user, and there are four caster wheels on the ground – two in front of the drive wheel and two behind the drive wheel. This drive configuration is often preferred for indoor use because of its tight turning radius. However, with advances in suspension, MWD wheelchairs have improved outdoor performance. Browse our range of affordable popular mid-wheel-drive powerchairs online. Such as the Karma MID Lectus, Permobil M3 Corpus or the Magic Mobility 360 powerchairs, plus many more.
Front-Wheel-Drive (FWD) Powerchairs
With FWD, the drive wheels are at the front of the wheelchair, and there are two caster wheels at the rear of the wheelchair. Front-wheel drive power wheelchairs can manoeuvre well over small obstacles. They have a respectable turning radius and are easier to manoeuvre within the home or in tight spaces. Although these chairs provide good stability, they can fishtail when turning at high speeds. Front-wheel drive power wheelchairs are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Browse our range of affordable front-wheel-drive powerchairs online. Such as the Karma EVO Lectus, Permobil F3 Corpus or the Quantum Rehab 4Front powerchairs, plus many more.
Rear-Wheel-Drive (RWD) Powerchairs
With RWD, the drive wheels are at the rear of the wheelchair, and the two casters are at the front of the wheelchair. This was the original PWC configuration in the world. With advancements in MWD and FWD, it is no longer the standard and not commonly used. However, some powerchair users have used RWD for years and prefer to stay with this base type. Browse our range of affordable Rear-Wheel-Drive powerchairs online. Such as the Invacare Aviva RX40, Quickie Q500 R Sedeo Pro or the Meyra Optimus 2 RS powerchairs, plus many more.
Powerchair Powered Functions Available
Being able to raise the seat of a powered wheelchair provides many practical and lifestyle benefits. These include improved reach, access to cupboards, better visibility and eye-to-eye contact, which is important for maintaining confidence and better mental health. Powered seat lift functionality is rare within NHS prescribed powerchairs but popular within the private purchasing market.
Possibly the most important function of a powered wheelchair. Tilt-in-space allows the seat, backrest and legrest to recline together without changing relative position. Achieve optimal positioning and posture support whilst sitting upright whilst reclining. This provides effective pressure relief without losing posture or support.
Negative (Anterior) Tilt-in-Space
This powered functionality allows the seat to tilt forwards. It assists with standing transfers and helps the user lean forward while performing daily tasks. Another advantage is the ability to stretch and exercise safely without standing.
This functionality allows the backrest to be tilted to suit users’ preferences. Recline can either be manual, powered recline or anti-sheer. Anti-sheer powered recline helps protect users from any possible friction or rubbing when the backrest is moved – so that skin integrity is maintained. Sheering can be reduced by up to 80% in many cases, which means a far lower risk of pressure sores or related issues. A powered recline is also used to move the user from sitting to lying down. This is often useful for wheelchair users that may need to reduce blood pressure, reduce swelling, sleep in their powerchair or receive personal care.
Elevating leg rests (ELRs)
Elevating legrests are used for a variety of reasons. Some powerchairs have manual legrest elevation; however, the majority are powered. They allow users to move their legs in the best possible position for day-to-day tasks. Elevation during the day can provide comfort and better circulation, whereas remaining adjustable to bring closer to the powerchair allows easier navigation in the home. Certain elevating leg rests are fitted with an articulation feature, including the Permobil M3 Corpus powered wheelchair. Allows automatic leg length adjustment as legrests are elevated, reducing pressure on the hips and the pelvis. Elevating and articulating legrests help reduce pressure build-up in the posterior to minimise discomfort and a need for continual adjustment. Sustained pressure in one area can also lead to pressure sores; therefore, the relief provided by legrest adjustment is essential.
Active reach (Posterior Tilt)
Permobil powerchairs, for example, are fitted with programmable elevating leg rests that perform an ‘Active reach’. This functionality allows the wheelchair to be positioned into forwarding (posterior) tilting positions to help with daily tasks such as cooking. See more on the Permobil M5 Corpus powerchair, enabling users to get closer to a task without fully standing and remaining stable.
This powered movement can support a user from seated or lying to standing. Permobil provides the optimal sit-to-stand function on the F5 VS powerchair, tailored to specific user ergonomics. The standing function on the Parmobil F5 VS offers the user two programmable standing functions – sit-to-stand and lay-to-stand.
This is the most commonly used standing function on a powered wheelchair and allows the user to move from sitting to standing. It means the wheelchair user does not need to be transferred to separate standing equipment such as a frame, which involves manual moving and handling or hoisting. The ability to stand is essential for many healthcare reasons, such as:
- Relieving pressure
- Improving bowel movement
- Reducing urinary tract infections
- Improving blood pressure
- Increasing bone density
- Enhancing the ability to socialise and interact.
Lay to stand
This function helps a powerchair user who cannot move from sitting to standing. It is beneficial for someone who has not stood for a long time, especially as the process can be closely controlled. Individuals with blood pressure issues can also benefit from changing position and once standing. All the other associated advantages are available.
Powerchairs, such as the Permobil F5 Corpus powerchair, offer several programmable positions ‘remembered’ by the product. This means they are configurable to move between pre-programmed seating positions such as seated, rest and pressure relief for personalised comfort, selectable by the user throughout the day. Standing functions, if applicable, such as on the Permobil F5 Corpus VS shown in the video above, are also programmable, so both provide a wider range of optimal seating positions unique to the user without having to micro-adjust every time.