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The Difference Between Electric Wheelchairs And Mobility Scooters

Jan 23, 2008
Wheelchairs are widely used by people of restricting mobility and have been in use in England since the 1670's. The importance of wheelchair usage is the back support and easy manoeuvring of the two large wheels. Generally these wheelchairs can sometimes require a bit of upper body strength, which why it is essential for the front two wheels to be large and easy to handle. The first electric wheelchair was not designed until the early 1980s, which were fitted with Mecanum wheels. However, it is important that electric wheelchairs are not to be mistaken with mobility scooters.

Electric wheelchairs come in three styles: rear, centre and front or four wheels driven. They are also categorised and separated by seating type, for example certain models resemble manual wheelchairs that have sling style seats, but other styles can be designed with a captain's style seating like that of a car. Users of an electrical powered wheelchair can control the speed and stay mobile using a joystick on a controller. Other input devices are available for those with limited hand movements such as, chin controls and puff/sip scanners.

Mobility scooters are similar to an electric powered wheelchair with the main differences being on the manoeuvrability of the scooter. These types of scooters come with a steering tiller or bar instead of a joystick to control the speed and move around more easily. Electric wheelchairs are more difficult to purchase from insurers, depending on the individuals finances some may only be able to afford heavy, tubular steel wheeled and sling back seating at a low cost - however this restricts adaptability. Lightweight wheelchairs tend to be more expensive to purchase.

However, an electric wheelchair requires medical prescription whereas mobility scooters do not need a prescription and can be purchased more easily from insurers or health agencies. These scooters are used by people of lower flexibility or stamina in the arm/shoulders, or those suffering from whole body mobility difficulties such as lung issues, different forms of arthritis, coronary illness etc. Electric scooters are also easier to swivel the seats than moving the foot support on wheelchairs.

The main selling point of an electric scooter is that it does not look like a wheelchair, and is designed to function more like a motor scooter than an electric wheelchair. However, electric wheelchairs are available specifically for indoor use as well as outdoor use, something a scooter is not designed to do. Those with good upper body strength will find that they will be recommended to use manual wheelchairs, or find it difficult to gain insurance to cover for an electric wheelchair. In addition, electric powered wheelchairs offer tilt, recline, leg elevation, seat elevation and other necessary health benefiting functions.
About the Author
Anna Stenning is an expert on the differences between a mobility scooter and electric wheelchair, which can often be mixed up. For more information on electric power assisted mobility devices click on http://www.euromedical.co.uk/
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