Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Part 1 Power Wheelchairs:
Where is my Drive Wheel and Why Does it Matter?
There are three main types of drive wheel configurations on power wheelchairs: front-wheel drive, mid-wheel drive, and rear-wheel drive. In this blog today, we will focus on front-wheel drive.
Another benefit of front-wheel drive is the smoothness of the ride. Look at how many wheels are on the ground. In the case of front-wheel drive there are four wheels versus the six wheels with a mid-wheel drive chair. This means that as the end-user goes over a bump in a front-wheel drive chair, they would feel the force of that bump two times versus three in a mid-wheel drive. This can also be important for individuals that may easily lose their positioning when going over any uneven terrain.
We could talk about front-wheel for hours, but the final benefit to mention is the front-wheel drive chair’s smallest front turning aspect. In all the configuration options, the chair will turn on its drive wheel.
1. Hug the corner. When going through a doorway the end-user will want to “hug” the corner or keep a tight turn.
2. Turn towards the problem. For example, when positioned adjacent to a wall/barrier, turn toward the wall/barrier, then slightly reverse to allow the rear casters clearance for turning in the desired direction. This might sound complicated, but if you remember to turn into the problem you will easily maneuver away from the problem.
Keep in mind that not everyone will benefit from the same drive wheel configuration and it is important to ask the questions and complete an evaluation to determine which drive wheel would be best for you or your client.