While there are by no means any truly unusable accessories installed in this kind of vehicle, some are less useful than others while some are vital for the comfort, mobility and accessibility of many users. This article takes the more important ones and focuses on them and their value to the user.
Grab Rails and Safety Rails
Of all the accessories you'll see on a handicap accessible RV, grab rails are arguably some of the most important, especially when they are fixed in the right places. There is nothing quite as embarrassing or potentially dangerous as the lack of solid, dependable hand rails in strategic places where a wheelchair user needs to be able to hold on or anchor themselves in place.
Probably the most obvious of these places is the bathroom area. When transferring from chair to facility, a person just needs to be able to grab hold of something solid and safe without having to worry they might slip and fall and hurt themselves.
The rail needs to be fixed at the right height for the user or it can be awkward or downright difficult to get a firm hold and move safely. Being able to lift themselves across from chair to facility and then back again without having to over-reach or stretch is a basic need than must be met.
Another obvious situation is at the top of the entry door where the user needs to feel safe when using the stairlift or motorized ramp. This is a major safety issue so rails need to be solidly anchored and feel robust and safe.
Back in the bathroom, aside from correctly placed and strongly anchored hand rails, the facilities themselves need to be usable and easily accessible by a wheelchair user. Enough space beside the toilet needs to be available so the wheelchair can be brought alongside of the user to transfer from chair to toilet and back again easily and without any hassle.
The wash basin needs to be at the correct height so the user can reach without over-reaching. The faucet should be easy to turn on and off without any undue stiffness or resistance.
A shower should cater for the needs of the individual user and these will need to have been communicated to the rental company in good time prior to delivery of the vehicle. That means if the user requires a shower seat, one of the correct height and dimensions is included. A user's needs vary in this instance, so the individual requirements should be made clear at the outset.
Getting in and out of the RV is an issue that should always be fully covered prior to receipt of the vehicle. Different makes and models as well as individual customized vehicles will invariably have different specification handicap access ramps or lifts installed.
While some users are able to use a transfer stair lift assembly, others require a full motorized wheelchair lift. It is important to insure the vehicle you are renting has the right access installation for your needs. These needs should be communicated when renting a handicap accessible RV.
Sleeping at night and relaxing during the day should be catered for with the correct type of bed, mattress, chairs and sofa that are all easily accessible by a wheelchair user and at the correct heights so that they don't have any problems transferring from and to the wheelchair.
We often fail to notice when an RV bed is at the wrong height until it's too late, so making sure that aspect is catered for before the vehicle leaves the rental company's premises is important. The same goes for chairs and sofa, because comfort is an important feature of enjoying and vacationing in an RV for what it is and its ability to provide an exciting and memorable vacation.