Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wheelchair Lifts For Vans - Types, Benefits and Cost

Wheelchairs have become a very significant mechanism to all disabled persons. Although these devices are beneficial, precautions should still be observed in order to ensure the safety of the persons sitting on them. Even when the user is simply sitting on the chair, we have to ascertain his security. How much more if the disabled is being transported to another place? Definitely, the level of precautionary measures should increase as well. And in the case of transporting people sitting on a wheelchair, the best option is through a van which is large enough to accommodate the wheelchair inside.

However, transportation could sometimes be a bit difficult. For instance, getting the wheelchair inside the vehicle is very effortful and time-consuming, most especially if no capable device is used, like a wheelchair lift.
Basically, there are two kinds of wheelchair lifts: the electric and the hydraulic lift. The electric wheelchair lift, as the name implies, is powered by electricity, while the other one is powered by hydraulics. Either of these types makes the process of lifting the wheelchair into the van much easier. Traditionally, before the chair was boarded into the vehicle, someone had to fold the wheelchair, carry it inside the van, and then lift the patient into the automobile. But nowadays, patients need not to leave their wheelchair because the lift will do all the work for them.

Both types of wheelchair lifts may be used not just in automobiles, but also for residential areas and public buildings. Electrical lifts, however, are mostly preferred by customers because of their lower price. But unfortunately, these lifts are completely unusable in cases of power failure, unless there is a reserved battery for back-up. Hydraulic lifts, albeit not so very popular among wheelchair lift consumers because of their high-maintenance requirement, do not depend on electricity - a reason for them to be fully functional despite a black-out.

A platform wheelchair lift, a more specific type of lifts, includes a small dais that can accommodate the wheelchair and its user. One has to simply roll the chair onto the platform and then push a button that will raise or lower the platform into or out of the van. To maximize the space, the dais folds into the van when not in use. There are two types of platform wheelchair lifts: the automatic and the semi-automatic lift. Their difference is quite simple: the former automatically folds the lift when a button is pushed, while the latter still needs manual folding (and unfolding).

A rotary wheelchair lift, also called a swing lift, is another specific model. It carries the wheelchair in and out the vehicle through an electric or hydraulic boom arm. However, this lift is less popular in the market than the first type. Aside from its demanding maintenance, it is also less capable of lifting heavy weight. On the other hand, rotary wheelchair lifts cost less than a platform one.

Installing a wheelchair lift on a van could be very expensive since it needs modification in the interior of the vehicle; the height of the floor needs to be lowered, and the seats have to be remodeled to accommodate the lift. But the benefits that it gives us and our disabled loved ones are quite priceless.

Victoria Brightman is a former patient who successfully overcame a severe physical disability. Being bound to a wheelchair for more than a year, she has also helped many people suffering from similar conditions to gain a new hope for recovery. As main author at, she writes about wheelchair lifts, their types, functions and benefits. Visit her blog if you want to learn more about the wheelchair lifts for vans and the way they can simplify a disabled person's life.

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