An important thing to consider when looking for a lift chair is how you intend to use it. There are several uses like assisted standing, reclining, sitting and sleeping in the chair. Physical requirements like width and positioning are very important. Below is a list of things to consider:
- Will you be using this chair for sitting and assisted standing only? There are less expensive two position recliners to serve this purpose.
- Will you be spending long periods of time in the recliner? Three position and infinite position lift chairs offer more comfort for extended use. The person's body can be placed in many different positions and adjustments are easy to achieve maximum comfort.
- Will you be sleeping in the lifting chair? A mattress pad may be needed to extend the life of the chair with repeated use. What about special chair fabrics to address incontinence and similar soiling issues.
- Are there any physical conditions to consider? Most lift chairs are custom made and cushions can be made to order with more or less batting.
- Are you overweight? Electric lift chairs are made to order and can handle additional weight. They have extra padding and support in the seat area and a wider stance.
- How much space is available for the lift chair in the room? About 18 to 24 inches away from the wall is usually needed for the recliner. Special compact models are available, if space is a concern.
Lift Chair Styles
There are several fabrics and design options for lift chairs. Pillow Back: has horizontal rows of pillows going down the back of the recliner. These are usually softer and conform more to a user's body. Button Back: have one or several rows of buttons in seat back to keep the batting and fabric in place. This style is not as cushy as pillow back models. Recliner style is entirely a user's preference, however the Pillow Back style is more comfortable for users who spend a lot of time in the chair in the reclined or sleeping position.
When choosing a reclining lift chair it is important to select a chair to fit your lifestyle and intended use. There are several different types of lift chairs to fit your needs.
- 2 Position Lift Chair. These models are the least expensive and have a smaller set of features. They will recline to maximum of 45 degrees, and back and leg-rest operate in unison. 2 position recliners are primarily for users who have a temporary injury and do not need to spend extended periods of time in the chair. These models will stop in any position between upright and 45 degree full recline, as well as tilting forward to assist in standing up out of the seat.
- 3 Position Lift Chair models recline all the way, similar to a standard recliner. These will not go flat for sleeping, but will allow your legs to be stretched out in comfort. The chair and foot-rest open and close at the same time using the remote control. 3 position lifting chairs will stop at any point along the line of travel.
- Infinite Position Lift Chair. These models will recline flat, which means they are most comfortable to sleep in. Chair back and leg-rest raise and lower independently which makes this the most adjustable type of recliner. Infinite Position models usually have the most options, fabric styles and accessories.
When buying a lift chair, you are presented with a variety of fabrics and colors. Choosing the material is more than just matching your home's decor. Some fabrics wear better than others, some are impervious to stains and others just feel "right" to sit on. Review a few considerations, while making your lift chair decision.
- Stains from Food and Drink. Years ago vinyl and leather furniture was the only way to keep stains off. In the past decade, new synthetic fabrics have been invented and used in furniture making. They feel great against the skin, and are impervious to most liquids.
- Incontinence. There are no easy solutions to incontinent users in a lift chair. The best way to prevent liquids and solid waste from running off the side or soiling the seat is to use an absorbent bed pad. There are several sizes and styles available to help absorb small amounts up to several quarts. Keep in mind that liquids will shed and run off the sides of the seat, and collect inside the chair, so do your best to keep it clean and functioning properly.
- Air flow and skin conditions. If you will be spending a lot of time in the chair, we recommend a fabric chair. In general, fabric breathes better than vinyl or leather, and can start to feel uncomfortable and "clammy" against the skin.
Chair Measurements and Width
Lift chairs are available in several sizes, and some are able to support up to 700 pounds. Because the recliners are custom made to your specs, call to ensure you get the right size for your body. If the chair is designed for a large patient and overstuffed, a small person may not be as comfortable in it. Most standard lift chairs are available in 36" - 39" seat width, and support up to 375 pounds. Heavy Duty lift chairs are able to support between 375 and 700 pounds, and come in 35" - 45" seat width. The heavy duty chairs are designed with more support, padding and a reinforced frame and lifting mechanism, so make sure to choose accordingly.
Most lift chairs can be ordered with useful optional features to give the user the most comfort.
- Heat. This can be applied in different areas of the chair. Some models have more and some have less heating areas, so make sure to ask about the differences.
- Massage. This option is also desirable for some users.
- Arm-rest and Head-rest covers. Most lift chairs come with these washable covers which cover the areas that come in contact with the skin and hair, and can extend the overall life of chair fabric.
- Removable arm rests. Some lift chairs, like the Golden Technologies PR-451, have swing-away arms for easy transfers from a wheelchair.
- Extra storage. You can order a lift chair with extra pockets to store books, magazines, a tablet computer and other items. Some recliners, like the Golden Regal, have flip-open arms with a cup-holder, a hide-away lap tray and storage areas.
- Tray Tables. For users who need a tray table, there are several lift chairs that include a built-in lap tray. For even more space, a specially designed external Lift Chair Table is available.
Delivery, Service, Installation and Warranty
Most lift chairs are shipped in a large rigid box, while some are shipped on a small pallet. When you order a lift chair, please keep in mind that you need at least two people to move, and unpack the chair. Also consider the door frame width, and whether there are stairs. Some lift chairs are very heavy and require the use of a dolly. Please notify us at the time of purchase regarding your home. Inside and White Glove delivery options are available, at extra cost. White Glove delivery is comprehensive, it includes delivery to any room in the home, unpacking and assembly, and making sure the mechanism works properly.
Most lift chairs come with a 1 year in-home service warranty. You can purchase an extended 2 year or a 3 year in-home warranty. Most models come with a lifetime warranty of the lift chair frame and recline mechanism. You can inquire about the details of a specific lift chair at the time of purchase.
Medicare and Lift Chairs
Medicare will only cover the seat lifting mechanism part, but not the entire chair itself. The reimbursement amount is around $300, depending on the state. The patient would be responsible for paying the rest of the cost. In some cases it may be cheaper to purchase the lift chair without using Medicare assistance.
In order for Medicare to pay for a seat lift mechanism, you must have one of the following:
- The patient must be suffering from severe arthritis of the hip or knee, or have severe neuromuscular disease.
- The patient must be completely incapable of standing up from any chair.
- Once up, the patient can walk either independently or with the aid of a walker or cane.
Lifts require a Certificate of Medical Necessity. Your doctor and the Medicare supplier will know when that documentation is required.