Editor’s note: This text-based course is a transcript of the webinar, Power Wheelchair Advanced Features, presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS.
- After this course, participants will be able to apply knowledge about 3 non-driving features that can be controlled through the driving method.
- After this course, participants will be able to apply knowledge about 3 devices that can be controlled through power wheelchair Bluetooth using the driving method.
- After this course, participants will be able to apply knowledge about clinical indicators for interfacing external AT devices through the driving method.
- After this course, participants will be able to apply knowledge about SMART wheelchair technologies.
Thank you for joining us today for this webinar on Power Wheelchair Advanced Features. We have two hours of intense content. If you are not overly familiar with a power wheelchair, the electronics, and how that works right now, that is okay. I hope that this provides some new information that helps you help the clients you serve.
For my disclosures, I have received an honorarium for producing and presenting this course. I also provide education and consultation to two companies that produce power wheelchair-related technologies, Stealth Products and LUCI. Despite this, I attempt to provide all of this information as objectively as possible and use various equipment from different manufacturers' products myself. This learning event, as such, is not going to focus on a particular type of product or manufacturer.
What We Will Be Covering
- Non-driving power wheelchair functions
- SMART technologies
Today, we are going to be covering non-driving power wheelchair functions. You can do quite a bit with these power wheelchairs besides drive them from point A to point B. We will talk specifically about Bluetooth features of a power wheelchair, infrared, interfacing, and some of our newer smart technologies that are just becoming available to power wheelchair users. In addition to a PDF of the PowerPoint, I have included a chart that compares the features of the four main power wheelchair packages that are available on the market.
Non-driving Power Wheelchair Functions
We are going to start with non-driving power wheelchair functions.
Power Wheelchairs - The Main Goal
- Power wheelchairs are designed to provide an alternative means of moving throughout the environment for people who cannot ambulate or self-propel any manual wheelchair.
- The client may not be able to ambulate at all, is inefficient, or is unsafe (i.e., fall risk).
- The client may not be able to functionally self-propel.
The power wheelchair's main goal is to provide a means of moving through the environment for people who are either unable to ambulate or unable to self propel any type of manual wheelchair. Some people use a power chair with limited ambulation, but this ambulation may not be efficient or safe. Perhaps, they are a fall risk. Some clients might use a power chair who have some ability to self propel a manual chair, but it may not be functional, meaning it takes up too much time or effort. In these cases, we would want to explore a power wheelchair.
Power Wheelchairs – What Else Do They Do?
- In addition to Driving (varies by PWC electronics system):
- Power seating
- Bluetooth (BT) Mouse emulation or switch output
- Interfacing to external AT devices
- Infrared transmission
- Charging port for USB devices
- Some information provision
- Battery status, speed, miles traveled, clock, diagnostics
- Monitoring: i.e., daily drive time/distance, how many hours PWC on, power seating activity
- Notifications: reminders
Power wheelchairs can do lots of things. This varies by the specific power wheelchair electronics system. First, there is power seating. This includes power tilt, power recline, elevating leg rests, seat elevators, and stand features. All of this allows the client to change their position and shift their weight for pressure management within their power wheelchair.
We also have the ability to emulate a mouse or switch output using Bluetooth. This provides control of several devices outside of the wheelchair, such as smartphones, tablets, or other communication devices