Types of Wheelchair Lifts

Published by Stephen on March 29, 2009 Under wheelchair lifts

People who use wheelchairs, mobility scooters, or other kinds of mobility vehicles do so to improve their ability to get around and their overall accessibility. These kinds of devices greatly improve the lives of millions of people every year and allow them to go places they might not otherwise be able to travel too. While these devices are very beneficial, there are still some areas that are inaccessible or difficult to access. One area that can present a rather large obstacle is the stairs. To help get around this obstacle, wheelchair lifts are often used.

The term wheelchair lift is in some regards a little broad, with the term being used to describe devices used to transport wheelchairs and also devices used to allow full access to a home with stairs. One type of wheelchair lift that is used in the home is the vertical platform lift.

Vertical Platform Lifts

wheelchairlift1Vertical platform lifts are typically installed outside on the front of a home, but are also used inside. They are sort of like a mini elevator, but they are completely self contained, so there is usually no major construction required. These kinds of lifting aids are mounted next to a staircase and raise a small platform vertically to ensure full access to a staircase or other area of differing elevation, like a stage.

Portable Wheelchair Lifts

portablewheelchairliftPortable vertical platform lifts are also available. These do not require permanent installation and can usually be rolled into place, making it possible for a single person to set up or put away the wheelchair lift. These models should not be used in homes though, at least not where they will be used every day. Their use should usually be reserved to use in places like schools or churches, which might need to add wheelchair accessibility sometimes, but do not always require it.

Incline Platform Lifts

inclineplatformliftWhile vertical platform lifts are very useful for outdoor staircases, there are many interior staircases that a vertical platform lift will not work with. For these cases, an incline platform lift is usually used. An incline platform lift is similar to a vertical platform lift, in that they can be used to allow full access to a home. However, unlike a vertical platform lift, incline platform lifts move along the length of the staircase.

The platform moves along a track that is mounted to the wall in a manner similar to stair lifts. This allows them to be installed in many situations where a vertical platform lift couldn’t be used. They can also be used on much larger staircases than a traditional vertical platform lift could be used, with some being used on stairways that are over 50 feet in length.

Choosing the Right Wheelchair Lift

Whether you opt for a traditional wheelchair lift or an incline platform lift, will likely depend a good deal on where you need to install it. Both devices, however, are great for increasing stair safety and accessibility for people using wheelchairs or other kinds of mobility vehicles.

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