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Wheelchairs Breaking Down More

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Having a reliable wheelchair is an extremely important part of daily life for the disabled, but unfortunately, the rate at which wheelchairs are breaking down is continuing to increase.

52.6% Experience a Wheelchair Breakdown

A study released earlier this month found that 52.6 percent of people who use wheelchairs on a full-time basis have experienced a breakdown, which can adversely impact their health, safety, and standard of living.

People who use wheelchairs full-time rely on them to get where they need to go, whether that’s to the car in the driveway, to the doctor’s office down the street, or to the bus station around the corner.

When a wheelchair breaks down, the person using the product can no longer get where they need to be, whether that’s to a friend or family member’s house, to an important doctor’s appointment, or even to a phone to let someone know they need help.

Life or Death Situation

Essentially, that means for some people, a wheelchair breakdown can be a life or death situation. This only reinforces the point that all disabled people should have access to safe and reliable wheelchairs that won’t breakdown on a regular basis.

The study, published in The American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, looked at 723 people who used wheelchairs full-time between 2006 and 2011. 

Some key findings of the study include:

  • Users of Power wheelchairs had more malfunctions
  • It a wheelchair was purchased using Medicare/Medicade – there was a higher likelihood of failure
  • 33% had their wheelchairs repaired two to three times over a six month period. 17.3 percent needed at least four repairs.
  • Wheelchair repairs have increased by 40% since the last wheelchair study

Wheelchair breakdowns are causing problems at an alarming rate.  The fact is, if it were any other mode of transportation that was experiencing these rates of failure, we’d be all over them. We would demand an explanation, yet those who rely on wheelchairs for the majority of their movement, are stuck with an industry performing at a sub-par level.

Researchers hope the findings of this study will result in better testing during wheelchair manufacturing and more reliable products overall. It’s normal for any product to breakdown occassionally, but the rate at which wheelchairs are breaking down is becoming unsafe and simply unacceptable. There are already some namebrands, such as Invacare wheelchairs, that take great pride in the quality of their products. Wheelchairs such as these should last a long time and provide a safe and comfortable mode of transportation for the disabled.

+Roxy Sonnich writes on women’s health and fitness/health for the disabled (including those in wheelchairs full-time).

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