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Tips for Using a Wheelchair Ramp Safely

Tips for Using a Wheelchair Ramp Safely

Wheelchair ramps expand accessibility to more places, adding greater independence and freedom to your renewed mobility. After some training and practice, you may find that in almost no time at all, you'll be using your power chair or motorized scooter up and down moderately sloped ramps with confidence.

One of the most important considerations in wheelchair ramp use is safety. For maximum user safety, no one should ever attempt to navigate a ramp that is steeper than the level of incline with which they are comfortable. Even with a helper providing assistance, safety must always be a top priority. 1

You can learn more about safe ramp inclines in the article, How to Select a Portable Ramp.

Learning to Go Up a Wheelchair Ramp

Follow these tips to use your power chair or scooter safely over a ramp.

Step 1:Remove anything that might cause your device to tip backwards, such as a large backpack or rear-mounted walker.
Step 2: Fasten the seat belt and confirm your anti-tip wheels are functional.
Step 3:Center the power chair or motorized scooter a the base of the ramp.
Step 4: Power up your mobility vehicle and proceed at the lowest speed.
Step 5:As you start up the ramp, focus on going forward. This step may require repeated experimentation to develop a technique that is both comfortable and effective for you.

Wheelchair Ramp Descent Techniques

Gravity will have a strong effect on your chair, so proceed with caution while learning this technique.

Step 1: With seat belt fastened and chair centered, power up and go slowly.
Step 2: A chest strap or other torso support device, used with your seat belt, may help stabilize your upper body and keep you from leaning forward.
Step 3: As you approach the landing, ease up on the chair speed and come to a slow stop.

Additional Tips for Using a Ramp Safely

  • Practice over ramps with different inclines to find your comfort level.
  • Use a helper, or caregiver, until you are competent on your own.
  • Have a professional demonstrate power chair driving and navigation techniques.

Hoveround has an assortment of portable wheelchair ramps to extend safe access to the places you wish to go. Lightweight, yet sturdy, and available in different sizes and lengths, a portable ramp can be laid down, picked up and used repeatedly in a variety of settings for convenient wheelchair access when and where you need it. Call 1-800-308-9295 for more information, or purchase online anytime.

This article is for general information purposes only.

1Purchasing a ramp with the longest suitable length is recommended for lower risk inclines and declines.

June 3, 2013