3.6 million Americans don’t leave their homes because they have a travel-limiting disability.
You and your loved ones shouldn’t be among that number. Fortunately, wheelchair transportation isn’t as difficult as you might think. If you’re facing the challenge of transporting wheelchairs, don’t think that it means that you’ll be staying at home for the rest of your life.
Instead, read this article. You’ll learn four ways to get you and your wheelchair where you need to go, from personal vehicle options to wheelchair transport services. There’s an option out there for you, no matter how you roll.
Non-Emergency Medical Transport
Also known as medical taxis, non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) is a type of wheelchair transportation service that uses ambulances or ambulance-like vans. You can schedule NEMTs to take you to any appointment, but they are most commonly used for medical appointments.
NEMTs usually have wheelchair ramps or lifts. Not only that, but they’re operated by trained medical personnel. They often have additional medical support equipment too.
Because NEMTs can provide comprehensive care, they’re a great option for transporting wheelchairs for individuals who need extra support. They might be the right option for you if:
- You need a wheelchair ramp because you can’t stand up to transfer to a car seat
- You may need medical help en route to your appointment
- You have a lot of medical appointments to attend
Keep in mind, though, you have to schedule NEMT in advance. This means it’s not best for spontaneous trips, but it works well for events and appointments scheduled ahead of time.
Transporting wheelchairs in your personal vehicle can seem intimidating. With a little know-how, though, it can be very doable.
Before you try moving wheelchairs in your car, get to know the chair itself. Figure out:
- Does it collapse partially or all the way?
- Does it break down into smaller pieces?
- Is it easy to disassemble and reassemble?
Once you understand how your chair works, try fitting it into your vehicle. The collapsed chair may fit into your trunk. If not, try fitting it into the back seat area of your vehicle.
This method of wheelchair transport comes with a lot of drawbacks. It’s difficult and time-consuming to squeeze the wheelchair into the vehicle, and lifting the chair in can be physically taxing. Plus, the chair takes up a lot of room, so you might not be able to take as many passengers with you.
However, it has many benefits as well, including:
- Adaptable to your schedule
- No need to schedule in advance or change your plans to fit pickup times
- No costs
Overall, this method is best for wheelchair riders who have some mobility and upper body strength because they have to transfer out of the chair and into the car seat.
If the chair is taking up too much space in your car, try investing in a wheelchair rack. Similar to a bike rack, it allows you to mount the wheelchair on your car’s bumper.
Wheelchair racks make transporting your wheelchair easier because you don’t have to lift it into your car. This cuts down on the physical effort involved, so it’s more doable to pack up your chair quickly and easily.
When you’re driving someone with a wheelchair, don’t forget to think before you park.
You’ll have to lift the wheelchair out of the vehicle and then help the wheelchair rider into it. This requires lots of space around your vehicle. You don’t want to whack a nearby car with your chair — or, worse, not be able to fit the chair between cars to reach the chair rider.
As well, try to avoid curbs or anything else on the ground that will get in the way of pushing the wheelchair up close to the vehicle. The best solution is to bring along your parking permit so you can park in an optimal spot.
For those living in a city, you’ll likely have access to public transportation options. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires public transportation to accommodate individuals with disabilities. This includes:
- Wheelchair ramps
- Wheelchair lifts
- Wheelchair-accommodating elevators
- Securement devices, like wheelchair straps, to hold chairs in place during the ride
- Sufficient time for individuals with wheelchairs to board
Unfortunately, not every public transportation system is perfectly equipped to transport you in a wheelchair. However, your local bus or subway system may be more accessible than you think, so don’t be afraid to give this option a try.
Emergency Medical Transportation
For emergencies, there’s only one way to transport your wheelchair. Emergency medical transport ambulances have wheelchair capabilities and trained medical personnel, so they’re safe and reliable.
If you’re in an emergency and it will take too long to pack your wheelchair into a car or wait for a bus, don’t hesitate. Book a ride to the hospital or call an ambulance right away.
Find the Wheelchair Transportation You Need
Figuring out wheelchair transportation can seem overwhelming at first. Cost, safety, and availability are just a few of the factors to balance when figuring out which option is right for you.
Fortunately, there are options to meet every need. Use this article to compare your wheelchair transportation options and choose the one that works for you.
Are you ready to try a safe, comprehensive transportation service? Affinity Transit offers experienced drivers and accommodating vehicles for all your needs. Contact us today to enjoy our services!