3 Custom Seating Options for Wheelchair Vans - The Mobility Resource

Getting In and Out of a Vehicle Made Easier

April 5, 2024

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Custom Seating Solutions for Drivers and Passengers

For individuals facing difficulties entering and exiting vehicles, a little extra maneuverability can significantly improve accessibility for daily commutes. These challenges, whether or not a wheelchair is used, often stem from issues with balance, strength, and flexibility, making the transition into and out of a vehicle a daunting task.

Traditional vehicle seats, which typically only adjust forward, backward, upward, and downward, fall short of addressing these needs. However, imagine a seat engineered to rotate 90 degrees, extend outward past the driver or passenger door, and even lower to the ground as necessary, all at the touch of a button! This represents just one of the many accessibility solutions the mobility industry offers, designed to accommodate a range of vehicles and physical abilities, making travel more inclusive and accessible for everyone.

Adaptive technology offers invaluable support to individuals with muscle-deteriorating conditions, including those affected by neurological disorders or strokes. This technology plays a crucial role in easing the burden on caregivers by facilitating the transportation of their loved ones. It’s important to recognize that this technology provides essential assistance not just for those with specific medical conditions, but for anyone facing physical challenges during travel.

The following solutions are some of our more popular custom seating options that can help to make daily travel a more pleasurable experience.

Custom seating for help with getting in a vehicle

1. Turning & Lift-Up Seats

A combination of turning and lift-up seating eliminates the physical contortions that can make it difficult to enter a vehicle. Providing easy access, this type of solution replaces the existing Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) seat on the driver or passenger side of the vehicle.

These innovative seating solutions are designed for both front and rear seating areas and can be integrated into a wide range of vehicles, from standard-sized cars to larger models like minivans, SUVs, and pickup trucks. The options vary from basic models, which rotate the seat 90 degrees for easier access, to more sophisticated designs that not only rotate but also extend outside the vehicle and lower toward the ground for optimal accessibility.

Powered by the vehicle’s existing battery, these seats are operated via simple push-button controls, ensuring ease of use for everyone. Additionally, the seating material and colors can be customized to seamlessly blend with the vehicle’s interior, maintaining aesthetic consistency while enhancing functionality.

2. Retractable Transfer Boards, Seats, and Lifts

For assistance with entering a vehicle, several different types of hybrid combinations are available that include the use of a transfer board, custom seat, and unoccupied lift. There are motorized and non-motorized retractable options. Many of these “niche” solutions are relatively new to the market and keep evolving as technology and innovation keep up with demand.

Determining the most suitable solution, whether it’s a single adaptation or a combination of multiple modifications, depends on a variety of factors tailored to an individual’s specific requirements. These factors include the person’s physical capabilities, the type of vehicle in use, any other mobility aids being utilized, and the necessity for driving aids, among others.

A certified mobility consultant can help an individual research all of the available options and determine if a desired product will work for their needs.

3. 6-Way Transfer Seat Bases

Those who use a wheelchair (or scooter) for non-prosthetic mobility often transfer to the front driver or passenger seats when traveling in minivans or full-size vans.

Specially designed 6-way transfer seat bases are available in different makes and models to make transfers much easier. Using the existing OEM seat, a 6-way transfer seat base allows the person to electronically control the seat going up or down, forward or back, and to swivel in or out into the desired position. Seats can turn in by as much as 100 degrees and move front to back over 21 inches.

Discover Custom Mobility Solutions

At The Mobility Resource, we pride ourselves on offering a wide range of options from industry-leading manufacturers, ensuring each product is perfectly matched to your individual physical needs and mode of transportation. We know exactly where to find the right solution for you and will install it precisely to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Connect with one of our dealers across the country to find the ideal mobility solution tailored just for you.

Reproduced with permission. Originally published in the Amputee Coalition’s magazine, InMotion in 2014, Vol 24, Issue 3. Visit the Amputee Coalition to learn more about this great organization.

Amputee Coalition

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