Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Where to get a powered wheelchair

How you get your powered wheelchair supplied will depend on how you are paying for it.

NHS

Photo of a woman preparing to board a wheelchair accessible vehicle using a powerchairNHS Wheelchair Services will loan you a wheelchair from an agreed range that meets your assessed needs. These may be taken from stock or, if you need a more unusual size or special features, they will order the wheelchair from the manufacturer. They will make sure the wheelchair is properly adjusted and give you a chance to familiarise yourself with it when they hand it over.

These wheelchairs remain the property of the NHS, and they’re responsible for their maintenance. They’ll carry out maintenance checks and repairs themselves or they’ll use a contractor for this.

If you're using a voucher you will have to buy the wheelchair yourself.

Equipment supply companies

If you’re paying for the wheelchair yourself or with the help of a charity, you may use an equipment supply company. These companies operate across the country or locally supplying mobility equipment. Some manufacture or import their own equipment and some sell a range of other manufacturers’ equipment. If you’re interested in a particular brand, the manufacturer can tell you how to contact a distributor in your area.

Many of these companies have a mobile service. They’ll visit you at home, talk to you about what you want and demonstrate some suitable equipment. Talk to them about maintenance contracts.

On the next page we list some shops and suppliers we know.

Shops

You can also go to a local mobility shop to look at powered wheelchairs. Some have a good range of wheelchairs and some will be able to give you advice. They will also probably offer a maintenance service. You should take steps to make sure you are dealing with a reputable company.

The internet

As well as being able to research powered wheelchairs on the internet, you can also find supply companies there. Some will send a rep to visit you at home, but some will simply sell a powered wheelchair online.

You may be able to get a good price this way, but it has its pitfalls. You need to be sure you’re getting the right product for you, and that you’ll be able to set it up and start to use it without help. You may also need to set up a separate maintenance plan.

Look out for customer feedback or user reviews.

Rental

There are companies that provide powered wheelchair rental services. You can use this kind of service if you need a powered wheelchair temporarily or to try out wheelchairs before buying them. The rental company will take care of maintenance and repairs. Talk to them about their maintenance service before signing.

Shopmobility lends or rents manual wheelchairs, powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters. You can find these in town centres or shopping centres. All loan mobility equipment by the hour. Some do longer term rental.

 

Last updated: April 2015


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