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Best Powerchairs for Adults with Cerebral Palsy

Navigating the world with cerebral palsy can be a unique journey, and one that requires the right set of wheels. Whether you’re zipping through the city, tackling rough terrain, or simply moving around your home, the right powerchair can make all the difference. Let’s have a look at some of the best electric wheelchairs available for adults with cerebral palsy.

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Cerebral Palsy: Condition and Symptoms

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a complex condition with a range of physical and neurological symptoms. It can be caused by circumstances during pregnancy, or complications at birth such as lack of oxygen. Depending on the factors involved, people with CP are often entitled to legal compensation which can be used to fund a wheelchair with the required specification. Case managers will be able to guide you through the process of using the funds you have been awarded in a payout.

There are four different types of CP: spastic, ataxic, athetoid or dyskinetic. Physical symptoms of the disease include spasticity (floppy limbs or muscle spasms), weak arms and legs, and uncontrolled and irregular movements.

 

Features to Look for in a Powerchair for Cerebral Palsy

Powerchairs are the obvious choice for adults with CP over against a manual wheelchair, due to their ease of use for adults who have difficulty coordinating their movements.

When starting out on the road to getting the ideal powerchair, it helps to become familiar with some of the necessary features to look out for:

Smooth suspension

Having a smoother ride is ideal for CP patients who are more sensitive to vibration, as it minimises the bumps and jolts that can trigger muscle spasms.

Seat elevation

Powered seat elevation and vertical rise give CP clients the standing function they need to strengthen their muscle tone and improve bone health. A powered stand can also be beneficial for bowel health and increases social interaction being able to communicate with other people at eye level.

Active Reach

Active Reach

Power positioning components

Attachments to the chair help the patient maintain a good posture while sitting or standing. There are many different add-ons available, powered and manual, such as head and chin controls, elevating legrests, knee supports, and powered footplates.

Postural controls

Postural supports can be added to the seat system to help maintain a healthy posture in the chair for CP patients who have a weak muscle tone.

Choosing the right size wheelchair with a suitable cushion and back support provides the postural base for the client, which is fundamental to overall comfort and positioning. Postural support aids should be added as a finishing touches to correct individual postural abnormalities.

Harnesses

Harnesses and belts can be useful accessories to help maintain posture, but should only be used in the client’s best interest and the proper protocol should be followed at all times.

Leg harnesses are useful tools to stop the pelvis slipping into a posterior tilt, which curve around the thighs at an angle.

leg harness

Pommels

A pommel, otherwise known as a medial knee support, is a padded protrusion attached to the seat between the legs, to help keep a midline position in the chair and prevent the legs sweeping to one side.

Tilt in space

Tilt in space can be an integrated function in powerchairs to improve feeding and respiratory function, reduce pressure below the pelvis and improve visual alignment.

Permobil F3 Corpus Electric Wheelchair

Permobil F3 Corpus Electric Wheelchair

Lateral supports

Permobil lateral supports are mounted on a track that allows them to be repositioned while the patient is in the chair, and can be easily adjusted without tools.

Lateral trunk supports can be fitted at each side of the chair, with different pad options including a moulded fit, to ensure each patient gets the exact support they need.

lateral trunk support

Good pressure care

For adults with CP who use the powerchair for most of the day, having a good pressure cushion is essential. Gel, memory foam or a combination of these materials can be used to create the most comfortable seating solution that moulds to the patient’s body shape.

An alternative for higher risk pressure relief is alternating air cells, that inflate to different pressures and can be contoured in line with the patient’s body profile.

 

Best Powerchairs for Cerebral Palsy

Permobil F5 Corpus

If powerchairs were luxury cars, the Permobil F5 Corpus VS would be the Rolls Royce. This chair is designed for those who want nothing but the best. The F5 Corpus boasts a full suspension system that offers a smooth ride over any terrain. It also has a high-speed option, allowing you to travel up to 7.5 mph – perfect for those who want to get from point A to point B with a bit of flair.

What makes it stand out is its seating system, which can tilt, recline, and elevate, providing maximum comfort and flexibility. Plus, it has Bluetooth connectivity, so you can control your devices with ease. Fancy a little adventure? The F5 Corpus VS is ready to take you there in style.

F5 Corpus VS

F5 Corpus VS

Quantum Edge 3

The Edge 3 has upgraded suspension (Smooth Ride Suspension) to soak up those lumps and bumps and provide advanced stability for CP clients with muscle spasticity that is easily triggered. It can be equipped with a range of power seating, positioning and drive controls to enhance the ride quality for all types of CP presentation.

The iLevel® Power Adjustable Seat Height allows you to elevate up to 12 inches while driving at walking speed, enhancing accessibility for reaching, cooking and other activities of daily living, and promoting social interaction by allowing eye-level conversation. It’s rugged, reliable, and ready to roll.

Quantum Edge 3

Quantum Edge 3

Invacare TDX SP2

Sometimes, less is more, and the Invacare TDX SP2 proves that good things come in small packages. This electric wheelchair is compact and manoeuvrable, making it ideal for tight indoor spaces. Its SureStep® Suspension and Stability Lock technology ensure a smooth and stable ride, even over thresholds and uneven surfaces.

The TDX SP2 is all about customization. It offers a variety of seating options and positioning features, allowing users to tailor the chair to their specific needs. Whether you’re at home, at work, or out and about, this chair offers the perfect blend of performance and portability.

Invacare TDX SP2 ULM UK

Invacare TDX SP2

Permobil M Corpus VS

As a mid-wheel drive version in the Permobil range, the M Corpus VS brings a new dimension to power standing, offering maximum stability and traction with a mid-wheel drivetrain.

A range of body positioning tools are built into the chair – multiple knee supports, adjustable chest support and a powered articulating footplate. The dual link suspension helps to dampen the drive impact as much as possible.

Permobil M Corpus VS

Permobil M Corpus VS

 

Conclusion

Choosing the right electric wheelchair is about more than just mobility – it’s about enhancing your lifestyle and empowering you to live life to the fullest. Whether you’re seeking luxury, durability, portability, or cutting-edge technology, there’s a powerchair out there that’s perfect for you.

From the high-speed thrills of the Permobil F5 Corpus to the tech-savvy features of the Quantum Edge 3, the world of powerchairs is full of exciting options. So go ahead, pick the one that suits your style and needs, and roll through life with confidence and ease. After all, the right powerchair doesn’t just move you – it moves you forward.

Date Published

23 May 2024

Reading Time

6 minutes

Author avatar

Author

Ralph Hulbert

Ralph has many years' experience in the healthcare sector. In a previous life he worked in finance, and his spreadsheet skills come in handy for all the analysis and research he does as he investigates topics and solutions for some of the world's most complex healthcare conditions and challenges. Aside from writing in-depth articles and organising webinars and interviews with top healthcare professionals, Ralph also administrates Vivid's "Healthcare Pioneers Board", a large group of healthcare specialists with multiple disciplines, who are working together to improve care for years to come.

man in F5 Corpus with friends on porch

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