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Can I use a stairlift if I use a wheelchair?

Advances in treatment mean it’s now less common that people with arthritis will have to use a wheelchair in the home, but if you use a wheelchair you’ll need to look at the lift options slightly differently. You might want to look at a conventional stairlift, a wheelchair platform stairlift or perhaps a through-floor lift.

Conventional stairlift

Things to think about:

  • How will you get out of your wheelchair and onto the stairlift?
  • Is there enough room at the top and bottom of the stairs to get the wheelchair close enough to the stairlift? (This will depend on how you get on and off – whether you’re able to stand and maybe take a step before getting on.)
  • Will you need one wheelchair upstairs and another downstairs?
  • If you need help transferring from wheelchair to lift, is there enough space for a helper, wheelchair and you?

Discuss these issues with your family and the stairlift company representative.

Wheelchair platform stairlift

There are models of stairlift specifically designed to take a wheelchair. A sunken area may need to be built at the bottom of the stairs to take the platform and provide level access. This has many advantages if you find it difficult to move from a wheelchair onto a stairlift seat. You’ll need to make sure there’s enough space top and bottom, not just for the platform but also turning room so that you can easily get the chair on and off. You should also think about whether others in the house will be inconvenienced by the platform.

Through-floor lift

If there isn’t enough room at the top or bottom of the stairs for either a stairlift or wheelchair platform, a through-floor lift is the best solution. This can be placed in a living room or hall and go through the ceiling to a landing or bedroom. Get professional advice and try before you decide to buy.

A through-floor lift


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