Wheelchair Lifts For Vans
If you use a motorized wheelchair, you may be interested in wheelchair lifts for vans. A motorized chair is usually too heavy to lift in and out of a car trunk, so wheel chair lifts are needed in order to travel.There are two types of wheel chair lifts for vans, platform lifts and rotary lifts. When selecting the right lift for you, consider your lifestyle and your specific needs. You’ll also need to consider the type of van you have and make sure the chair lift you purchase is compatible with your vehicle. Certain vans are more compatible with chair lifts than others.
Platform Wheelchair Lifts for Vans
A platform lift is just what it sounds like. You roll the chair onto a platform and push a button that raises or lowers the platform so you can get into or out of the van. The platform folds into the van when not in use.
There are two types of platform lifts, automatic and semi-automatic lifts. An automatic lift folds and unfolds automatically. All you have to do is push a button. A semi-automatic lift must be folded and unfolded manually. The wheelchair user will not be able to fold or unfold the lift by him or herself, so an attendant will be needed. Automatic wheel chair lifts allow the wheelchair user to be more independent. They are the lift of choice for wheelchair users who are able to drive the van themselves (this is done with hand controls).
Platform wheel chair lifts can usually lift up to 600 pounds. That makes them the lift of choice for heavy motorized chairs, although of course they can be used with manual chairs, too.
Rotary Wheelchair Lifts for Vans
A rotary lift, sometimes called a swing lift, lifts the wheelchair in and out of the van through the use of an electric or hydraulic boom arm. Rotary lifts are less commonly used than platform lifts. They cannot lift as much weight and are more cumbersome to hook up.
Rotary wheelchair lifts for vans can often only lift 200 or 250 pounds. Motorized wheelchairs often weigh more than this, so a rotary lift may work better for manual chairs than for power chairs.
Alternatives to Wheelchair Lifts
An alternative to wheel chair lifts is a ramp. The ramp folds in and out of the van. It must be manually folded and unfolded. The wheelchair user will not be able to unfold or fold the ramp, so an attendant will be necessary.
A wheelchair ramp for a van is usually fairly steep, so someone using a manual wheelchair will probably not be able to push himself or herself up the ramp. Again, an attendant will be needed. Even a power chair may have difficulty making it up the ramp and may need to be pushed by an attendant.
Wheelchair ramps are less costly than lifts, but may be less convenient and do not allow the wheelchair user to be independent.
Wheelchair lifts for vans can cost as little as $600 or as much as $3000. Your health insurance may help pay for a lift, but often they don’t. If you are a veteran, the VA may help cover the cost. You can also contact your local Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to see if they can help with the cost.
Rotary wheel chair lifts typically cost less than platform lifts. Automatic platform wheel chair lifts will cost more than semi-automatic ones.
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