All Posts By

Lisa Rohlfing

June 1, 2016

How to Size a Ramp? Here’s a helpful guide.

size a ramp suitcase style

If you or a loved one uses a mobility aid every day, access over even a small threshold or step can present a challenge.

I’d like to offer some suggestions on how to correctly size a ramp, and discuss different options that are easy, affordable and available.

If you look at ADA guidelines on how to size a ramp, the regulations are based on what would be a comfortable slope for a person in a manual wheelchair to propel themselves up the ramp without assistance.  Under those assumptions the recommendation is 1 inch of rise for every foot of ramp length. That make for very long ramps, indeed! That is the slope that is acceptable for permanent ramps on commercial buildings.

For today’s discussion we’re going to concentrate on Pre-fabricated portable ramps. This is the type you would use to allow access for an individual using a chair or walker going up a curb or a couple of steps. If you are using a scooter, power wheelchair or if you will have the assistance of a caregiver to help you the rules on how to size a ramp are much more flexible.

If someone is pushing from behind, you can easily size a ramp at 2 inches of rise to one foot of ramp length. The calculation looks like this: to get up a 6 inch curb, your ramp would need to be 3 feet long. (measure the height of the step and multiply by .5 to get that slope)  That is an easy size for a portable ramp, and perfect to carry along with you in your car for access when there is no curb cut available. That style is called a suitcase ramp.

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May 24, 2016

Gel Wheelchair Cushions and their benefits

Gel Wheelchair Cushions are a great option to improve your comfort and more!

As you probably know, if you spend longer than an hour or two in a wheelchair you should definitely be seated on a cushion of some sort to relieve pressure, and make you more comfortable. A cushion is a necessity, not a luxury!

JAY Union Gel Wheelchair Cushions

Jay Union Gel Wheelchair Cushion

Gel Wheelchair Cushions are intended to help relieve pressure on your ischia’s (sit- bones) coccyx (tail bone) and the back of the thighs. Relieving pressure in those areas is so important for two reasons:

Gel Wheelchair Cushions

Comfort Company M2

First, because pressure related skin break-down occurs from the inside out. The ischia’s and the coccyx are pressing against your muscles and tissue as you sit for prolonged periods. That pressure results in soreness and redness to begin with, and will progress to actual pressure sores if it’s not taken care of. Nobody wants that to happen, so take measures to relive the pressure using a Gel Wheelchair Cushion as prevention of pressure sores.

Next, Gel Wheelchair Cushions can help you with your posture. A common complaint among wheelchair users relates to back pain, leg pain and muscle strain after sitting up in a wheelchair for too long. A Gel Wheelchair Cushion can offer positioning benefits if you choose one with contoured construction, intended to help you sit straight and square in your chair. Some gel wheelchair cushions also offer advanced positioning options such as foam wedges or build-ups to allow you to tailor the contours to your own body shape. Continue Reading

May 16, 2016

Product Spotlight: Liko power patient lifts by Hill-Rom

Power Patient Lifts can quite literally ease the strain of patient care in the home, yet you’d be surprised at how many caregivers don’t even know this product is readily available for homecare.

My experience in homecare began abruptly in 1987 when my completely healthy Father suffered a massive stroke from which he never recovered. To make matters worse, it affected his right side, and speech center. Both were completely gone, so while he survived the stroke itself, the long term effects were devastating. He was 70 years old and would never walk or speak again. My Mother, ever the devoted wife, was adamant that we would keep him home and care for him ourselves.

Power Patient Lift

Viking Patient Lift

Mom sold their house and had one built close to mine that would accommodate his needs and make it easier for me to help them. It was a ranch, had ramps, a roll in shower, hard surface flooring throughout to make it easier to get all the rolling stock around. I struggle to think of mobility equipment we did not have for Dad. Wheelchairs, lift chairs, commodes, rehab shower chairs, hospital beds, an hydraulic patient lift, you name it. Everything worked together pretty well, except that clunky hydraulic patient lift. I suspect that back in the day it was the only kind you could get.

It had a sling with loud clanking chains attached, and getting it under my 225 lb Dad was a challenge. If you did finally accomplish that, you had to go back around the other side of the lift and crank a handle back and forth to ratchet poor Dad up in the air one crank at a time. It was scary for him and scary for us. Even today Hydraulic lifts are the only type that Medicare pays for, and even then they rent them by the month. Unless you have two caregivers at all times, I don’t recommend them. Continue Reading

April 25, 2016

Product Spotlight: The New LiteRider Mini Scooter

Compact travel scooter

Meet the new LiteRider Mini super-easy transportable travel scooter by Golden Technologies.

Spring is in full swing, leaving us ready to burst out of winter’s doldrums and celebrate the great outdoors again. That being said, if you are one of us who may need a little help when it comes to walking, Golden has come up with a great new option: the LiteRider Mini.

Like its big brother the LiteRider, the Mini sports tubular aluminum construction for lightweight strength that’s easy to handle and grip. Rubber grid floor mats replace the carpeting seen on many models, and makes cleaning a breeze. We love the fact that they have two storage baskets- one on the tiller, and a second basket under the seat, which is nice and secure. Speaking of the seat, they’ve upgraded the seat with an extra cushy seat overlay for your riding comfort.

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April 11, 2016

Product Spotlight: Meet the new NC-201 Lift Chair with wireless remote control

The newest innovation in lift chairs adds a wireless remote control.

The NC-201 Lift chair with wireless remote control comes equipped with both the easy to use wired hand control like the other Pride 3 position Lift Chairs, but adds a second convenience feature- a wireless remote control!

What would the benefits be to the user?

NC-201 Lift Chair with wireless remote controlWell, first of all, greater convenience. The small hand control is about the size of the remote on your car key, and is powered with a watch-type battery. It can be worn around your neck on the lanyard which is included, so it is not misplaced. When you are seated and want to change positions, there is that little remote right in your hand to do so. If you are reclined and the doorbell rings, just grab that remote to stand you up! No fishing around to find your hand control, your remote is right there with you.

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