Powerchairs and ALS patients

Man on a PowerchairAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly known as ALS, is a neuromuscular condition that affects motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. As the neurons deteriorate and die, the ability of a person’s brain to control muscles is gradually lost. As a result, ALS patients can go through different mobility stages, from using a walking stick to needing a powerchair, in a very short period of time.

People with ALS tend to find powerchairs, such as those provided by Karma Mobility, more comfortable than regular wheelchairs. More importantly, powerchairs provide stability and independence and both of these features are important for ALS patients.

Getting adjusted

During the initial stages of ALS, patients may require a powerchair with a higher back in order to adjust. If upper arm movements are restricted, then a joystick can be used to facilitate movement. ALS patients can also have a hand or mouth controller with switch jacks for added convenience.

ALS patients who are looking into buying a powerchair should also consider postural support components and other accessories such as headrests and armrests, which can take pressure away and help the body realign properly.

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These accessories are particularly important for transferring and sitting tolerance. Moreover, ALS patients who wish to travel longer distances outside the house should consider buying a powerchair with added features for effective navigation.

Last but not least, battery power is also important, since a durable battery base can provide hours of independence and even allow the attachment of oxygen devices or ventilators.

Why not get a mobility scooter instead?

Mobility scooters are very helpful for moving from one place to the other fast, but they lack proper support of the body. Moreover, since they are meant to be used on the road, it can be dangerous for ALS patients to use them, since they require good control and are not meant for a prolonged period of sitting.

Some final things to consider

Most powerchairs are covered by various medical insurances, especially for ALS patients. Some powerchairs come with tilting and reclining mechanisms for added comfort inside and outside the house. ALS patients who are overwhelmed by the plethora of choices available should seek the advice of their doctor.

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