I have been doing a review of wheelchair platform lifts and stair lifts, obviously there are many hundreds of designs and we can’t go looking at them all but the principle remains the same throughout so really we are looking at the practicality and benefits of these type of lifts for wheelchair users and others unable to manage stairs safely.
Firstly, wheelchair platform lifts, they basically come in two different styles, a fold up platform that is designed to take a wheelchair user up a single or multiple flight of stairs by following the same stair route in the same way that a stairlift would but with the wheelchair user located on a platform, the second type is a smaller version of a standard passenger lift and goes straight up through the floor.
Both have benefits because they both overcome a major obstacle for wheelchair users and that is getting safely to and from an upper floor. Many of these platform lifts have pressure release buttons, this means that you need to hold your finger constantly on the button until you have reached your destination. This is the only real fault I have found, many users just simply can’t maintain the pressure needed because it can be some time for these slow lifts to reach their destination. Of course these can be adapted for personal use but when installing in public buildings it would always be advisable to include signage to inform the wheelchair user that “assistance is available if required”
Stair lifts on the other hand come in all shapes and sizes to solve a multitude of problems and are not designed for wheelchair users use, reason I say that is because a stairlift is designed for people with mobility problems and people that can independently weight-bear and walk small distances and do not rely on a wheelchair.
The types available depend on if your stairs are straight, curved or even if you have a doorway near to the bottom of your stairs that would be blocked by the track that the stairlift runs on, each of these problems have individual solutions.
Because of the complexity of both these types of solutions for gaining access up and down stairs I would suggest that you contact what is undoubtedly the best known and probably most reliable resource for the elderly and that is Age UK (previously known as Age Concern) they provide a whole range of professional, reliable and sensibly priced stair lift solutions and will ensure that your individual needs are thoroughly investigated to make sure that you have the right product to meet your individual needs. Check out their website by following the link highlighted above or call them seven days a week on their dedicated and free UK telephone number 0800 566 8742.
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