Volume 5, 2020 Why We Need to Consider the Drive Wheel on a Power Wheelchair


Author, Rachel Fabiniak PT, DPT

Credit: .1 CEU

Seating and Positioning, Business Practice



Author, Rachel Fabiniak PT, DPT

Did you ever wonder why some power wheelchairs can easily drive over rough terrain while others become stuck? Or why for some individuals, the inside of every door frame is destroyed from the wheelchair running into it? There are many variables on a power wheelchair that can impact the maneuverability, driving technique, and even the comfort of the individual. For this article, we will discuss how the configuration of the drive wheel on a power wheelchair can impact more than just the look of the chair.

Learning Outcomes:

The participant will be able to describe 3 considerations for choosing a drive wheel configuration.

The participant will be able to describe 2 benefits of each drive wheel configuration for navigating in outdoor or indoor environments.

The participant will be able to explain one technique for teaching a person to drive with each drive wheel configuration.

Rachel Fabiniak began her studies at The Georgia Institute of Technology, where she graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2009. Rachel then went on to receive her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Emory University in 2013. After receiving her doctorate, Rachel went into clinical practice as a Physical Therapist in the Spinal Cord Injury Day Program at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA. During Rachel’s time at Shepherd Center, she developed a passion for seating and mobility which ultimately led to her career with Permobil. Rachel joined Permobil and relocated to Sydney, Australia in June 2018 as the Clinical Education Specialist for Australia and New Zealand. In February 2020, Rachel moved into the role of Director of Clinical Education for Permobil Asia-Pacific.