While care homes have traditionally opted for larger sized wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs), that could accommodate two or three wheelchair users as well as other passengers, that’s now starting to change. There are many benefits to operating smaller, more compact vehicles, for both the care home’s residents and the staff. Here are four fundamental reasons why care homes should choose smaller sized WAVs.
Smaller WAVs are Adequate for a Care Home’s Needs
The main purpose of a WAV is to transport care home residents who use wheelchairs to different destinations. Most care homes will on transport one or at most two wheelchair passengers at any one time, which means a smaller WAV meets are of their needs and can provide a more comfortable ride. In general, care homes require a WAV for short, local trips such as medical check-ups and family visits. For trips that involve only one or two wheelchair passengers, a small WAV is suitable.
Smaller WAVs are More Practical
Where will the WAV be parked, both at the care home and the destination? Is there enough space for residents to easily maneuver? Space is a very important consideration when it comes to choosing a WAV. Most vehicles are accessed via a ramp which extends from the rear of the vehicle. Ramps are lightweight and easy to use, though they do require a member of staff to lift them. Smaller WAVs require less space, which can make entering and exiting the vehicle a simpler, more efficient process.
It is worth nothing that larger WAVs, such as the Peugeot Boxer and the larger Renault Master, for example, may be fitted with a lift. WAVs which are equipped with a lift can make the wheelchair entrance and exit safer for the staff because they are not required to push a heavy wheelchair users up the slope. However, using a lift can make the process of entering and exiting the vehicle much longer overall. The lift will also take up more space inside the WAV, and would also require maintenance and weight testing every 6 to 12 months, adding to the running costs.
Smaller WAVs are Easier for Staff to Drive
Another overlooked benefit of smaller WAVs is that they are much easier for the care home’s staff to operate. There is a trend away from larger WAVs because many staff find them cumbersome and difficult to drive. Smaller WAVs are easier to drive on local roads and around town with the added benefit of them being easier to park too. The Citroen Berlingo or Renault Kangoo are smaller WAVs which are easy to drive and very practical for transporting one wheelchair passenger locally. Automatics are available in some of the models.
The Smaller the WAV, the Lower the Costs
The main costs to consider are the initial purchase and the long-term running costs and maintenance. Opting for a good quality second hand WAV can be a good way to lower initial costs. Make sure to check that any second hand WAV has been checked by a specialist. In terms of costs over time, smaller WAVs have lower running costs. Some of the most common types of smaller WAVs to consider are the Renault Kangoo, Fiat Doblo, Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner and smallest of all, the Fiat Quobo. All WAVs are available in petrol or diesel, though petrol is more suitable for the lower mileage user.
The Final Decision
Purchasing a WAV for a care home is a big investment, so it’s essential to make an informed decision and decide which WAV is most suited to the needs of your care home. Be sure to speak to a WAV specialist, and let them know the purpose and exact criteria for the vehicle so that they can assist you in meeting those needs. Choosing the right WAV can provide your care home with comfortable and efficient transport for years to come.
Considering investing in a quality second hand WAV for your care home? Call our dedicated team of WAV specialists on 01842 707773 to discuss your options and find the vehicle that best suits the needs of your care home.