MS Device, power wheelchairs, wheelchair access, wheelchair ramp

Outdoor Access! Part 3 – Ramp

This is the last in a series of blogs that deal with my home built temporary/unattached platform and ramp at my side patio access door. This project allowed me to enjoy my morning coffee on my patio this morning! It sounds simple, but I had not been able to enjoy a breeze in my hair and sun on my face while sipping coffee for about a year. It was wonderful! 

I have described why I needed this project, how I designed it, and how my gadgety son built the platform. Now we are ready to talk about the ramp and finishing touches.

Here are some links for ramp access information. The last two are ramp vendors with good explanations.

My side door has a 6 inch drop to the sidewalk surface. The platform surface is about 5 ⅓ inches from the sidewalk surface. I plan to use the ramp for motoring and with a 5 ½ inch rise, I can use a ramp that is 2 feet long. My EZ-Access suitcase ramp is 3 feet long. This is a fairly comfortable incline for motoring. I was able to use this same ramp with my sister’s 8 inches tall platform also.

A comfortable incline is key. I once used a ramp that was wood on top of 4 steps in a restaurant. The ramp was actually resting on the step edges, so about a 45 degree angle. I made it up using a starter push and then full speed. The people sitting near the top jumped in their seats when the wheelchair hopped to a stop. This was NOT a comfortable incline.

I bet you are wondering why my ramp is called a suitcase ramp, it is because it is portable.  The two sides fold up and together with hinges and can be carried using the handle. Mine can also be separated at the hinges if the wheel track pads need to be farther apart. I also use it to roll over the gutter to get into my driveway from the street.

A folded suitcase ramp.
A folded suitcase ramp.

My sister bought the suitcase ramp so I could get into her house. She then gave it to me to use at my home. I will fold it up and take it with me when I visit her house.

My older powerchair had a little trouble getting onto the ramp. We tried moving the welcome mat just under the bottom edge of the ramp transition plate. It works! It changed the angle just enough for the front caster wheels to roll onto the ramp without the rear anti-tip wheels preventing progress.

platform with railings and a suitcase ramp.
platform with railings and a suitcase ramp.

Before the platform and railing was painted I was onto the final step to independent access to the patio – being able to close the door on my way out. I tried Google searches and found a video of a woman using a long scarf and others using a t-hinge handle. Then I checked with an OT (Occupational Therapist). She suggested a dog leash and sent me diagrams. We had a dog slip leash from when we tried to walk our obese cat. My daughter quickly found it and rigged it for me. I bought a second leash to handle another door then swapped leash locations.

I hang the leash on the inside of my side door to help open the door. Then I put the leash handle over the outside door knob and wrap the clip end around the railing as I go out of the door. After I pivot to go down the ramp, I reach back and pull the door closed with the leash strap.

Completed, painted home built platform with suitcase ramp and aid to close door.
Completed, painted home built platform with suitcase ramp and aid to close door.

If you would like to see the platform, suitcase ramp, and door close aid in action, click here for my youtube video.

Mug of coffee on a patio table.
Mug of coffee on a patio table.

And that is how I am now able to enjoy a cup of coffee on my patio again!

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