There are a lot of different options when it comes to choosing a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Choosing between a side or rear entry vehicle is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make.
A side entry vehicle allows wheelchair users to enter in the mid-ship area and roll to the front or middle of the vehicle. In a rear entry vehicle, wheelchair users roll in from the back and stay in the back or middle of the vehicle.
Deciding which is best for you and your family is one of the things that a Certified Mobility Consultant will help you to completely understand. At MobilityWorks’ showroom locations throughout the country, visitors can try a variety of different types of van conversions and even take them for a test ride. Renting a van for a day or two is also a popular option.
Your home should be a place of comfort and accessibility.
Use Federal and Local Resources to Fund Modifications
Are you planning to purchase a new accessible home or modify your existing one? For obvious reasons, ranch style houses are most often the easiest to retrofit for accessibility. If you need to remodel, check out sites like Disability.gov that can provide services and financial assistance for home modifications. Various programs can help with everything from roll-in showers to entry ramps. Additional resources provided by your state or local county government may also be available.
Clean up the Clutter
An organization system can go a long way to make your home more accessible. Keeping your home clutter-free increases available space for you to roll around in. Putting in lowered shelves and cabinets maximizes accessibility.
Open Floor Plan
Whether remodeling or searching for a new abode, the popular open floor plan allows you more space to roll around in. This type of floor plan also forces you to keep your house clutter-free, further maximizing accessibility.
Electrical controls, from light switches, thermostats and more, should be lowered and require little dexterity to operate. Also consider the lighting angle. You don’t want lights to shine in your face, but you don’t want lighting to point too high for you. Motion sensing and voice activated technology are other options to keep in mind.
A sink with open space underneath and no intrusive cabinet base allows wheelchair users to roll right up. Even if the sink does have a cabinet base, you may be able to remodel the center part. If you are installing cabinets in the bathroom, you want to take up as little floor space as possible.
Grab bars installed near toilets in bathrooms can help people in wheelchairs use the restroom as independently as possible.
A shower that lets a wheelchair user roll right in provides privacy for people with disabilities. Consider various options from a vacuum-sealed door, an open shower with no curb or a specialized lift.
Emergency Exit Plan
It’s always best to be prepared in case of an emergency. Make sure your point of exit is easily accessible. Be sure that your alarms are ready, and consider audio and visual smoke detectors.
You’ll want to make sure that there is plenty of room on the passenger side of the vehicle, particularly if a wheelchair van with a ramp or lift is being utilized. Flatter driveways are obviously going to be safer and easier. Remove any obstacles like planters that can interfere with wheelchair or scooter use. If the driveway isn’t wide enough, consider adding a concrete pad where exit and entry is the most convenient. If that can’t be done, then you may want to consider a rear entry wheelchair van.
We are excited to share that Chrysler will soon be replacing the Town & Country minivan and Dodge Grand Caravan chassis with a more modern, updated 2017 Chrysler Pacifica vehicle. Customers will enjoy the fresh style and ample space.
Benefits of a Minivan
The minivan’s ease of use from the sliding doors to the lower ground clearance for entry are two of the reasons why many of our customers prefer these vehicles. Many have better gas mileage compared to large SUVs. The minivan can fit your entire family. One of the biggest drawbacks is the image of these vans. Chrysler took that into account when they interviewed 6 million minivan owners and designed the new Pacifica. Check out the amazing modern features that this Chrysler has to offer.
The Pacifica has a sleek exterior with a small grille on the front, LED taillights and a sporty silhouette. The clean layout inside should transition to an easy to maneuver space when converted. Customers will enjoy the extra cubic feet added to the passenger and cargo areas. A small center console allows for easy storage including phones and keys. The bucket seats have a sculpted look that welcomes passengers. More chrome has been added for a striking design. Click here for more features of the Pacifica.
Chrysler also unveiled a plug-in hybrid minivan that can drive 30 miles on power alone. While we cannot confirm that our manufacturers will be able to convert this vehicle, it could mean more options for our customers in the future.
MobilityWorks is excited to continue offering the best and newest choices for our customers. No matter what type of accessible vehicle you are looking for, we are excited to be part of your journey to mobility independence. Check out these pickup truck and sport utility vehicle options. We like to show our customers all the choices that can work for them.
As you look for a wheelchair accessible vehicle, one of the most important choices you will make is deciding between side entry and rear entry wheelchair vehicles. Read on to see how the conversions compare when it comes to flexibility, layout and price.
The primary difference between side and rear entry wheelchair vans is where you enter the vehicle. Side entry vans make use of the sliding side door and a ramp or a lift. Rear entry vans use the back of the vehicle for wheelchair access. A ramp is the most common point of entry for both conversions.
Your choice of entry location determines the floor plan available for your vehicle. Rear entry vans offer two floor plans for up to four or six passengers.
“The rear entry van’s biggest advantages are ground clearance and being able to park in any parking spot,” Certified Mobility Consultant Roger Lajeunesse of our Londonderry location said. “However, you are limited to four seats with a wheelchair. You do have the option to add a two person flip seat in the back to make your van a six passenger vehicle with no wheelchairs inside.”
A side entry van has more options when it comes to the floor plan. One plan allows for up to three wheelchair users to ride in. Side entry vans will lower the available space inside, as the maximum number of ambulatory passengers in this option is five including three in the rear bench seat.
“The side entry van allows the client to drive from their wheelchair or sit in the front passenger seat area,” Roger said. “The side entry allows up to five passengers and one wheelchair. The disadvantage would be the ground clearance and not being able to park in any parking spot.”
Note that not all side entry vans can accommodate a driver, so ask your local Certified Mobility Consultant which choices will work for you if you hope to drive from a wheelchair.
A new side entry option is the BraunAbility MXV, a wheelchair accessible SUV built on the Ford Explorer chassis. The vehicle allows for four passengers with a wheelchair user. The wheelchair user can drive the vehicle or sit in the front passenger seat.
Both the side entry and rear entry conversions can be affordable solutions for you and your family. A rear entry can be more cost efficient in some cases because not as much of the vehicle has to be converted. However, if you are looking into a side entry, the CompanionVan and CompanionVan Plus are two of the most economical options on the market.
The BraunAbility CompanionVan is built in a streamlined package with a manual door and ramp. If the wheelchair user is travelling with an attendant, this would be an excellent choice. The CompanionVan Plus adds a power ramp system that deploys at the touch of a button. These vans cannot accommodate a wheelchair user as a driver, but they do have a superior lifting capacity up to 800 pounds. While rear entry vans can sometimes be a more affordable option, consider the CompanionVan as a great, budget-friendly choice.
Making Your Choice
This is not a decision you may be able to make immediately. The best option for deciding which configuration works for you is to speak to your local Certified Mobility Consultant at our 56 MobilityWorks stores. Whether you choose a side entry or a rear entry accessible vehicle, we will be there for you every step of the way and make sure your vehicle fits your needs for the miles ahead.
Are you looking for a side entry vehicle? You may also be interested in our current promotion.
MobilityWorks of Marietta GA Helps Air Force Veteran Shannon Daniels Regain His Freedom with a Wheelchair Accessible Van
Recently, Fox 5 News Atlanta aired an I-Team investigative report on Air Force Veteran Shannon Daniels’ struggles with his local Veteran’s Affairs (VA) office.
Shannon is a combat veteran who was injured during the Gulf War. Though classified by the military as “permanently and totally disabled”, Shannon still had the ability to walk. However; last Fall, when he was involved in a motor vehicle collision, he was left with disc herniation, spine pathology and rotator cuff tears. As a result, Shannon is now completely paralyzed from the waist down.
Shannon’s VA doctor approved him for a motorized wheelchair to help him get around. However, the VA rejected his request for access to special transportation to pick up that chair to bring to his house. After nine months of effort with no resolution, Shannon reached out to Fox 5 for help.
Fox 5 was able to connect with the VA who apologized to Shannon and ensured him that would work to rectify the situation.
Meanwhile, Tasha Chitolie and other staff members from our Marietta, GA MobilityWorks location saw the Fox 5 news segment on Shannon and wanted to help.
The team knew of a woman who was looking to sell a used wheelchair accessible vehicle. After hearing about Shannon’s situation, she generously decided to donate her vehicle to the veteran.
Shannon’s caregiver can transport him in the vehicle. In the future, he will also look into the possibility of being able to drive the vehicle himself.
In addition, MobilityWorks also presented Shannon with a motorized wheelchair to use to get around more easily until he gets his own custom electric wheelchair from the VA.
MobilityWorks was proud to be able to be a part of giving back to one of our Veterans. Thanks to Shannon Daniels and all of our military service men and women who have dedicated, and are dedicating, so much to our country.