How to Get Properly Fitted for a Power Chair

When you need a power chair, you can’t just choose any model and assume it will work for you. There is a process of measuring fit for a power chair and consulting with an assistive technology practitioner (ATP). Taking these steps ensures you will acquire the right power chair for your comfort and lifestyle. Here is a general overview of power chair fitting and how ATP professionals in Binghamton, NY can help you find the right electric power chair.

General measurements

Power chair fitting starts with anatomical considerations. Generally, no matter your lifestyle, you likely can’t use the same chair as your six-foot friend if you are only five feet tall. So, your ATP first measures you to see the models of chairs that will work for you. This effort includes the following measurements:

  • Seat width: The ATP takes your seat measurement and adds one or two inches to determine your power chair’s size.
  • Seat depth: The measurement from your lower back to the back of your knees is the seat depth measurement. ATPs take that measurement and subtract one to two inches to determine chair fit.
  • Seat height: This measurement is based on user preferences. The ATP determines the chair height you need to access tables and transfer from the chair without difficulty. Your standing height often determines this adjustment.
  • Footrest length: The footrest length is the distance from the back of the knee to the heel.  Wear your most frequently worn shoes for this measurement.
  • Back height: Generally, this is the measurement from the middle of the back to the bottom of the shoulder blades. If you want a wheelchair cushion, that is measured into back height as well.

Once the ATP confirms the necessary chair size, they consider other aspects of your life and environment.

Other considerations

Besides fitting you physically, your chair must fit in your home and vehicle with the turning radiuses tuned to navigate your environment. The chair also needs to allow access to tables, grocery shelves and any other barriers you may counter during everyday errands.

This analysis includes other adjustments like elevating seats or unique headrests. As indicated, your chair is customized to you and your requirements, so this part is vital to your function level.

Your travel conditions fall under this category, too. If you plan on using your chair for long distances, you need additional battery packs. Chairs used on steep hills, driveways and roads require more power. The same is true if your chair frequently encounters rough roads. You can likely get by with less power if you primarily stay indoors and use the chair at places like shopping malls.

When you start measuring fit for a power chair, there is no detail too small. Communicate clearly with your ATP in Binghamton, NY, so your chair supports your life and mobility without becoming another uncomfortable bother.

Once you complete your power chair fitting, you know which power chairs work best for you. Penn York Medical installs supportive technology like vehicle lifts and stair elevators. We also sell power chairs and other mobility devices. See our products to learn more, and contact us if you have questions.