How Power Chairs Evolved

There are many different types of disabilities. I think one of the most amazing things about Quantum® Power Wheelchairs and complex rehab is the fact that no matter what type of disability someone has, there is always an option to accommodate them.

There is no one-size-fits-all option. To be honest, instead of a one-size-fits all chair, I rather there were more options to keep me comfortable. I like that my power wheelchair is adaptable to my needs. There is a downside to having a lot of options available on your power wheelchair. When there is a major change in your life physically, so your wheelchair needs to be adjusted. Or, you had your Quantum Power Chair for 4-5 years and you need to replace parts or start the daunting process of qualifying for a new wheelchair.

In my life and career, I am very thankful to be a part and see both sides of the process. I have a disability and I happen to be at the stage in my life where I need a power wheelchair to live a normal life. It just so happens I work for the company that manufactures wheelchairs. I have been around mobility products since I was 16 years old. When I first began my journey into the world of mobility products, there weren’t many options available. There weren’t any cool power wheelchairs. 

I always remember being in a team meeting at Quantum and someone in the meeting took a marker and drew a picture of a square box with wheels. The person then asked, “do you know what this is a picture of?” Almost everyone said a “box with wheels.” At least they were honest. I remember me and Bryan Anderson brought up a point that wheelchairs were just that: a square box with wheels. You may have had a sticker or two on the base of the shroud with the name and model of the product. The wheels were either tan or grey. Wheelchairs looked old and outdated. No manufacturer or anyone had thought about modernizing the wheelchair. How do you bring a wheelchair into the 21st century?

We noticed that adding different and fun color options and adding curves to the design to the base really changed the way a power wheelchair looked. It was cooler to be in a motorized wheelchair because your chair had style and was not just a box with wheels.

Bryan said when he visited local VA hospitals to meet with returning soldiers, some of the veterans already had motorized wheelchairs and some were still in the early stage of rehab. They would be fitted for wheelchairs in the future once their rehab was further along. There were no camouflage color options available for power chairs. Down the road, camouflage shrouds became an option for our veterans who wanted it.

It’s amazing to see how something so little could have such a big impact on how a product looked. Different color options allowed individuals with disabilities to express themselves.

About Josh McDermott: Josh is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. He is a public speaker and has served as a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Josh lives in New York and loves to travel. Click here to learn more about Josh.