Personal mobility aids (PMAs), such as electric wheelchairs and mobility scooters, are an excellent way for those with mobility challenges to get around independently. However, PMAs have limitations: it can be tricky to move from one elevated surface to another.
Portable wheelchair ramps are a nifty solution to this; it enhances the use of a PMA and is an essential accessory to have. It allows people with mobility challenges to easily access elevated places or vehicles, like the stairs or when boarding the bus. Whether indoors or outdoors, portable ramps serve to alleviate the mobility challenges of a person.
They also improve ones' independence and overall significantly improve their quality of life. However, to safely use these portable ramps, one should take specific measures and precautions. Below are some essential tips to ensure your loved one's safety when using a portable ramp.
Find the most suitable type of portable ramp
Portable wheelchair ramps come in a variety, each having different features designed to address varying needs. One of the most common types of portable ramps is the threshold ramp. It enables easy navigation through curbs, doorways, and raised landings, and its inclined platform allows an electric wheelchair or a scooter to move quickly over the small obstacles.
The tri-fold ramp is another common type of portable ramp designed ergonomically for easy carry-on. Its style features a distinct three-platform design that is collapsible for easy transportation and storage. It can be used to move up and down the stairs, vehicles, and raised landings. Like the tri-fold ramp, the suitcase ramp is also easy to store and carry due to its suitcase-like handles and removable hinge pins, enabling folding it in half.
Determine the size needed for the portable ramp
Aside from their types, portable wheelchair ramps also differ in length, size, and weight. The length of these ramps usually ranges from two to twelve feet to accommodate different heights. Most of them can carry up to 800 pounds or over 362 kilograms in weight. Its lightweight and compact design makes for easy assembly and dismantling while on the go.
When it comes to determining the length of the portable ramp that your loved one needs, international standards recommend a slop ratio of 1:12; there should be 12 inches or one foot of ramp for every inch of rise. In other words, a 12-inch rise requires a 12-foot ramp to achieve the recommended ratio. It is not recommended for a portable ramp to accommodate a vertical rise beyond 30 inches.
Learn how to go up the portable ramp correctly
Learning how to go up the portable ramp correctly is one of the most critical steps to ensure that your loved one safely uses their electric wheelchair or mobility scooter. Remove anything that may cause the wheelchair to tip backwards as they are travelling up - this ensures that your loved one's wheelchair is grounded to the ramp while moving. Before moving, fasten their seatbelt as well and confirm that their anti-tip wheels work.
The PMA should be centred at the base of the ramp and should proceed at the lowest speed. Going up the portable ramp usually requires repeated practice to develop a comfortable and practical momentum.
Practice descending the portable ramp
On top of going up the portable ramp, the descent is also an important step that your loved one needs to practice. Gravity will strongly weigh the wheelchair or scooter forward despite the joystick controls, so it is necessary always to practice the descent with caution. Ensure that your loved one's seatbelt is still in place and that their chair is centrally aligned.
You can also consider using a chest strap or other upper torso support to stabilise their upper body and prevent them from leaning forward. As your loved one approaches the landing, ensure that they decrease the wheelchair speed and come to a slow stop.
Portable wheelchair ramps, like PMAs, help the mobility challenged to improve their quality of life by allowing them to access various places, including vehicles and elevated establishments. However, one must know the steps and precautions to take to use the ramp safely. Most importantly, while your loved one slowly figures out how to best travel up and over the ramp, support them by being alongside them and rendering assistance when needed.
At Falcon Mobility, our variety of ready-made, durable, lightweight and portable wheelchair ramps guarantee the efficiency of use and storage. Primarily designed for motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters, pair it with our vast selection of PMAs that your loved one can test drive for free. Do not hesitate to contact our friendly sales assistants today for more details.