Rolling Without Limits

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The Wheel Pad-An Innovative, Wheelchair-Friendly House for People With Restricted Mobility
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The Wheel Pad-An Innovative, Wheelchair-Friendly House for People With Restricted Mobility

In a normal family home, it is not very easy for people with disabilities to move around. In light of this, Wheel Pad, a company based in Wilmington, Vermont has developed a tiny house that offers a wheelchair-friendly bathroom and bedroom on wheels that can be used as an accessory living unit or annex.

Whereas the eponymously named Wheel Pad resembles a standard tiny house, it is not made for disabled persons to live in unassisted. Rather, the idea is that you position it next to an existing house so it can provide a safe staying area – either temporarily or full time when the main house is undergoing renovations, possibly to be more accessible.

A ramp can be attached for easier access and the company also states that its contractors can connect the Wheel Pad to the main residence directly through a window or spare door. This would make it more convenient when moving between the two.

Resting on a 7.3 meter (24 feet) long trailer, the unit consists of a total floor space of 18.5 square meters (200 square feet) spread on a single floor. The unit’s interior comprises of a central living area with a foldable desk and bed and a spacious bathroom that is equipped with a double swing door, sink, shower and a composting toilet. The roll-in toilet room and shower is easy to clean and comes with a nonslip floor that gradually bends up the walls.This avoids corners that can trap dirt and it also offers maximum floor space to allow flexibility when medical furnishing is required. Huge windows impart a nice, airy feel to the interior. Smoothly curved wood paneling elegantly contrasts with the rustic-themed flexible plaster walls and gives the house a more human touch. The finishes are durable and lightweight, and because of its mobile chassis base, it can be parked without needing a permit in many places around the US. This gives the inhabitants unfettered freedom to travel.

The Wheel Pad was developed with input from professionals in health care such as physicians, nurses, occupational and physical therapists. It contains disable-friendly equipment and furniture such as handrails, easily accessible plugs and a ceiling-attached Hoyer Lift track.

The unit does not come with a kitchen because, according to Julie Lineberger (who also works for Line Sync Architecture Studio), the company envisaged that the meals would be cooked in the main residence. But Wheel Pad plans to provide a kitchen option in the future. The Wheel Pad gets water and electricity from the main house, but solar panels are offered as an optional extra. The waste water from the unit goes to a septic tank.

The developers opine that the design has a broad range of possible applications. They add that it changes how injured servicemen and civilians adjust to life at home after rehab. A lot of people can benefit from using the Wheel Pad, including those with spinal injuries, people newly using prosthetics or wheelchairs, elderly civilians and veterans, disabled children and those in hospice care.

You can rent the Wheel Pad at a monthly rate of US$1,500 or buy it outright for US$50,000. 

More about home, house, disability, 2017

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