Residential Vertical Platform lifts are home elevators that provide independence to those using wheelchairs, power chairs, scooters, and other similar mobility devices. They help to transport users from one level to the other and come in handy when alternatives, such as ramps or stairlifts, cannot be used.
Compared to ramps, they take up less space and are less cumbersome for the patient and the caregiver. They come in different lengths, which may range from a few inches to about 14 feet. They can be used indoors or outdoors, and features vary from lift to lift.
Different Types of Vertical Platform Lifts
Indoor vertical platform lifts are usually installed inside the house in areas, such as the garage, that provide access to different levels of the home.
Outdoor vertical platform lifts are installed outdoors to provide access to an outdoor porch or deck. For this reason, they are usually referred to as porch lifts. Compared to stairlifts, porch lifts offer a more affordable mobility solution.
Common Features of Vertical Platform Lifts
- Automatic controls
- Built with strong and durable material
- Platform where the passenger rides
- Tower that houses the platform and rails
- Backup battery in place
- Weather-resistant finish
- Emergency stop switch
- Safety Sensors
Features of a Vertical Platform Lift
A cement pad helps to secure and stabilize the VPL. Asphalt should not be used, as it may not be able to stand up against the pressure from the lift when temperatures fluctuate.
A VPL needs to be located close to a power source.
A vertical platform lift must be easily accessible and allow a wheelchair to seamlessly roll on. Obstacles in the way may trigger an accident, so make sure the path onto the lift is smooth. This could mean pouring gravel, cement, or using wood.
If the lift is not directly accessible, consider using a small ramp.
Benefits of Using Vertical Platform Lifts
They Take Up Less Space than a Ramp
A ramp is commonly installed to facilitate the mobility of people in wheelchairs, but they take up a lot of space and are not as aesthetically pleasing. A VPL will require a space of about 5′ by 5′ regardless of whether or not it rises. On the other hand, the space required by a ramp will increase dramatically with every step.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommends a 1:12 slope ratio for a ramp. This means that for every inch of rise, a foot of ramp is required. It also recommends a width of 3 inches on the lower side.
Apart from the size, a ramp also requires more maintenance when it snows, for example.
They Do not Require Home Modifications
A porch lift will not change your home structurally, and you will not need to renovate your home before or after installing the lift. Instead, simply figure out the ideal location for the VPL. Determine this with factors such as power outlet location and accessibility
They are Easy to Operate
With a VPL, the patient will not need the help of a caregiver to regain their independence. They are powered and operated using remote and power buttons. This makes it easy for the wheelchair user to navigate their way in and out of the lift.
They Require Little Maintenance
Vertical platform lifts need regular maintenance like other mobility devices, but this can be done at home easily without the help of an expert. For instance, movable parts need to be greased regularly and the porch lift always needs to be kept clean.