Global Information Inc. presents a new market research report, "Power Assist Wheelchair Market Shares, Strategies, and Forecasts, Worldwide, 2011 to 2017" by WinterGreen Research, Inc..
Current research is focused on reducing the incidence of conditions secondary to the long term use of the wheelchair. Upper extremity pain, de-conditioning, vibration and shock exposure are all issues to some extent. Conditions associated with long-term wheelchair use need to be addressed.
The emergence of advanced mobility devices shows promise for addressing conditions that arise because of long term wheelchair use. Power Assist wheelchair technology, for example, provides an essential add-on to regular wheelchairs that function with manual pushing. The contribution of engineering is key. Increased sales of devices support research and development budgets, better engineering contributes to achieving economies of scale.
According to Susan Eustis, primary author of the study, "Using the assist wheels instead of pushing all the time improves the effort ratio, use of a motor some of the time, or one push with a geared wheel equals three pushes. The arms do not tire out as fast and people can go further distances."
Manual wheelchair propulsion assist devices use a battery powered motor to reduce the physical effort. A non-motorized manual assist device is a wheel that uses gear ratios to reduce the effort required to propel the wheelchair. Propulsion assist devices for manual wheelchairs are used by people who lack the strength to propel their wheelchairs and lack the stamina to propel their wheelchairs throughout the day. Many people may move to a conventional power wheelchair when faced with propulsion problems.
Pressure ulcers are also common among wheelchair users as is back pain and poor posture. For both of these conditions, it is thought that tilt in space and recline may be of benefit. Tilt in space can significantly reduce static seating pressure, a key ingredient in the development of pressure sores.
The power assist wheelchair market was worth $109.1 million in 2010 and is expected to reach $327.6 million by 2017. Economies of scale and more efficient manufacturing will drive the price down and increase the appeal of power assist devices. More favorable reimbursement and baby boomer purchasing will serve to drive these markets higher in the future.