Chair4Life (C4L) is a unique wheelchair that is easily adaptable for a growing child at each stage of their growth and development, which not only promotes independence but also improves the quality and provision of equipment for those in need, enhancing the quality of life for immobilised children.

Created by the Renfrew Group, in conjunction with NHS National Innovation Centre (NIC), C4L was designed in response to the clinical needs of users, carers and health experts identified in the Department of Health’s ‘Innovation Health & Wealth’ report.

Renfrew worked in collaboration with key stakeholders as well as users to identify traditional problems with wheelchair usability and target ways to address these issues. The result is a chair that radically redefines wheelchair design, putting users and carers first.

A compact, modular wheelchair system, C4L is designed for users aged 4 to 18 and adapts to individuals growing needs. The innovative mount and fasten component fixing systems allow the seat to grow as the child does, while the unit itself remains compact and lightweight.

The intelligence of the design comes in the creation of a universal modular ISO system. This enables third-party vendors to provide accessories and equipment that can be easily attached to the motorised lifting platform, preventing the need to renew the entire wheelchair at each refit as the child gets older, which also reduces clinic time and expenses and improves patient outcomes.

In the design stage, young users identified for the need for vertical lift, which was implemented as standard in all chairs. Eye-to-eye interaction with peers is proven to be an important element in social and educational development, which also enhances feelings of dignity and independence, particularly in adolescents.

The ‘Varitrak’ is unique to the C4L – it’s an adjustable wheelbase that allows the user to automatically alter the wheels when indoors for compactness and manoeuvrability in smaller spaces, and in outdoor conditions for greater stability on irregular terrain, providing overall improved freedom.

Chair4Life was launched at the Healthcare Innovation Expo 2013 in March.

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