Health & Medical Disability

What do Wheelchair Conversions Involve?

If you've always driven a completely standard vehicle and never been required to give any thought to how those in wheelchairs safely travel, then you'd be forgiven for not knowing the first thing about what wheelchair conversions involve. If you're reading this article though, it's probably because you've encountered a situation in your life where you do need to know more about conversions of wheelchair for cars and other vehicles and are trying to gain some understanding of what is involved in the safe installation of such vehicle modifications. While it's always best to seek the services of a qualified conversions expert of wheelchair to make sure that the vehicle still meets official crash test and safety standards, it's first good to have some idea of what kind of wheelchair conversions will be the most appropriate for your vehicle and your particular situation.

When a standard vehicle undergoes wheelchair conversions, there are several main processes that must be carried out. These are rear entry conversions, the installation of secure straps and the addition of a power transfer seat.

Rear entry conversions are one of the best ways to enable the wheelchair confined passenger to access a vehicle via an extendible foldaway ramp. The ramps used in rear entry wheelchair conversions can vary from heavy-duty motorised and remote controlled ramps to light-weight spring-loaded ramps, depending on how heavy the passenger and chair are. Rear entry wheelchair conversions are one of the most convenient methods of vehicle modification because they facilitate the use of parking spots that have limited space for side entry.

Once a vehicle has been converted to provide either rear or side wheelchair entry, one of the other most essential aspects of wheelchair conversions is the addition of system to hold the wheelchair in place once it is inside the vehicle. This is important both for the safety of the passenger in the wheelchair and all other passengers in the vehicle. Adjustable wheelchair straps and an electronically monitored wheelchair docking system are some of the techniques used to achieve this. A docking system consists of a base panel that locks the wheels of the wheelchair into a secure position, while straps attached to the roof and sides of the vehicle interior can achieve a similar, yet slightly less effective, function.

Finally, although there are numerous advanced methods used in wheelchair conversions, one of the other key additions required for wheelchair accessibility is the installation of a power transfer seat. Rather than travelling in a strapped or docked wheelchair, these crash tested seats provide a superior level of safety by allowing the passenger to travel in a specially designed seat for their journey. Power transfer seats also enhance the ease with which the passenger can be transferred from the vehicle to their wheelchair, while maintaining enough space around the vehicle for entry and exit.

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