Wheelchair Lifts – 3 Key Factors to Consider in Wheelchair Lift Selection
1. First and foremost, the platform length of the wheelchair lift must be sufficient to accommodate the mobility device being lifted from one level to another.
a. If the mobility device is a scooter, tilt wheelchair, wheelchair with leg rests then straight on the platform and straight off the platform is necessary.
b. If the mobility device is a manual wheelchair, then it is a possibility to consider a 90 degree exit from the platform. But, the ideal flow of the wheelchair is also straight on and straight off the platform.
c. If the mobility device is a power wheelchair, then the weight of the user and the chair is important since some wheelchair lifts have a capacity of 500 lbs. Another factor is that you may require a dedicated 20 amp fuse if you are considering a plug in style wheelchair lift model.
2. Ground slope in the approach to the platform must be relatively a gentle slope.
a. If the person using the lift propels the wheelchair themselves then the slope approaching the platform needs to be less than a 1 to 12 slope on enable them to be able to manage moving the wheelchair onto the platform. This is also the case for the situation where a person pushing the wheelchair is elderly or does not have the strength to push a wheelchair up a steel slope.
b. If the user is moving a scooter or power chair onto the platform then the slope is not as important a factor.
3. Safety issues are important.
a. A gate at the top of the lift is common to be a legal requirement in many states for residential application. In Canada, this requirement is not mandatory except in commercial applications. However, a gate of some description is a good idea in all wheelchair lift installations. This is so that when the platform is at the lower station, that a person standing at the top landing can not fall down onto the platform.
b. Underneath the platform, almost all wheelchair lift manufacturers have a safety pan that will stop the lift if the pan is engaged with any type of obstruction. This is extremely important to prevent injury if somehow an animal or small child ended up under the platform.
Learn more about wheelchair lift models available.