Wheelchair Accessible Vans, Handicap Accessible Vans, Mobility Impairment

  • Improving Injury Outcomes with Physical Therapy

    Mobility issues arise for a variety of reasons. For instance, some people are born with physical disabilities that impair their mobility, while others who have fought and served for our country sustain injuries that leave them with physical challenges. One of the most common ways to experience mobility issues comes at the hand of motor vehicle accidents.

    According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),

    The estimated number of people injured on the Nation’s roads increased in 2014, rising from 2.31 to 2.34 million injured people. 

    Below, we look at some of the ways in which physical therapy can help in the recovery process for improved mobility and faster recovery.


    Benefits of Physical Therapy for Mobility

    #1 - Physical therapy helps with pain management.

    One of the biggest reasons to use physical therapy after an auto accident is because of the pain relief it can provide. Even if you are involved in a minor accident where you don't sustain major injuries, the tension or force of impact can still have an impact on your musculoskeletal system. Some of the most common automobile injuries include:

    • Whiplash
    • Scrapes/cuts
    • Head injuries
    • Chest injuries (ex: broken ribs)

    #2 - Physical therapy may prevent chronic symptoms.

    Someone who doesn't seek physical rehabilitation after a minor accident may wind up experiencing chronic symptoms later. For instance, you may have had a slight case of whiplash in a minor accident that can cause stiffness or recurring pain in your neck days, weeks, or even months after the accident.

    In some cases, failing to seek proper physical rehabilitation treatment may cause vision problems, numbness, or even degenerative disc issues later in life.

    #3 - Physical therapy may prevent surgery.

    Receiving physical therapy may ultimately help you avoid surgery to fix problems that weren't initially addressed after an accident. If it winds up that you do need surgery to correct a mobility problem, physical therapy can aid in the recovery process - ultimately leading to a faster healing time.

    How Physical Therapy Helps with Certain Injuries

    The following are some common injuries seen after someone is involved in a car accident with examples for how physical therapy can help.

    Brain Injuries

    • Physical therapy can help with things such as: brushing your teeth, bathing, and dressing.

    Spinal Cord Injuries

    • Physical therapy can help by preventing muscle deterioration or atrophy (due to lack of use).

    Ligament, Bone Injuries

    For additional information on what to expect from physical therapy after an accident, read our article here.

    Books That Deal with Physical Therapy & Disability

  • Benefits of Stair Lifts

    byYuichiro Haga on flickr ccStair lifts are beneficial for a number of reasons, but the most important ones are: 1) Safety and 2) Mobility.

    Sometimes referred to as mobility scooters, or chair lifts, we explore the reasons why it is beneficial to add a stair lift to your home if you or someone you know is facing mobility difficulties.

    Stair Lifts are safer.

    As we age, our reflexes tend to slow down. We may not be quite as nimble as we used to be. Some older people experience bone density problems that make them more susceptible to injury should they fall. Others face other issues, such as osteoporosis.

    One of the most common-held misconceptions about mobility issues is that it only affects older adults. However, this is far from true. In fact, there are plenty of other reasons why someone may be faced with mobility challenges. These range from medical conditions to accidents, and others.

    Stair lifts provide a safe way for those faced with mobility issues to move more freely around their home (or other areas). Whether you're recovering from a temporary mobility issues (such as surgery), or you have a permanent disability that makes it difficult to walk up and down stairs - stair lifts can provide a great deal of independence so that you can remain in your home safely.

    Stair lifts improve mobility.

    Most stair lifts are versatile, meaning that they can be customized to fit whatever stairs you have. Curved staircase? No problem. There are curved stairlifts for that! Do you have stairs outside, leading into your home? Do you have a stairs leading down to a basement? There are different types of stair lifts to accommodate your various mobility needs.

    Modern stair lifts are user friendly and can be relatively inconspicuous, folding up  when not in use so that other people can move up and down the stairs without worrying about interference from a stairlift. Some stairlift models also come with a remote or button feature that allows you to retrieve or call back the chair if it's at the top of the stairs and you are at the bottom (and vice versa).

    Outdoor stairlifts are also available to help improve mobility when trying to get into or out of a home that has outdoor steps.

    Live More Independently

    Perhaps the biggest benefit of stairlifts is the independence it gives you. There are built-in safety features of stair lifts that make them completely safe for use, including emergency stopping, and a failsafe to prevent speed interruptions in the event that there is a short circuit or other mechanical issue.

    For additional information about stairlifts, speak with one of our mobility specialists today. You can view our contact information here.

  • Planning Your Wheelchair Accessible Vacation to Myrtle Beach

    For many people who live along the eastern coast of the United States, the weather is finally warm enough to really start planning some fun outdoor activities, including weekend road trips to the beach.

    One of the more popular destination beaches on the east coast is Myrtle Beach, SC. However, if you or someone you know has a physical disability, it is definitely smart for you to plan ahead before you go. Take a look at some of the following tips, advice, and information that we've compiled to help make your next trip to Myrtle Beach, SC the best one yet.

    image by Dan's Eye View on flickr cc

    Wheelchair Accessibility in Myrtle Beach, SC

    There's a reason why Myrtle Beach, SC is one of the hottest beach destinations in the United States. Besides its 60 miles of sandy beaches, it is also home to plenty of family-friendly activities - from amusement parks that feature water slides, roller coasters, and race tracks - to shopping, golfing, dining, and more!

    If you already own a wheelchair van, then great! However, depending on where you're traveling from, you may want to to rent a wheelchair van and drive to Myrtle Beach. Not only does this save you the extra wear and tear on your personal vehicle - it's also a great way to test out the features of a different type of handicap van.

    Tips for Wheelchair Travelers Heading to Myrtle Beach

    #1 - Research handicap parking ahead of time.

    In the state of South Carolina, parking at any and all public operated parking meters is FREE to any vehicle displaying one of the following:

    • A valid handicapped license tag
    • Purple Heart license tag
    • Disabled American Veterans  license tag
    • Medal of Honor license tag
    • Valid, official handicapped hang tag

    City buildings also have designated handicapped parking spaces as well.

    #2 - Research handicap accessible beach points.

    There are numerous beach access points between North Myrtle Beach and South Myrtle Beach. According to the city of Myrtle Beach, beach-going wheelchairs and handicapped parking are available (to varying degrees) at the following locations:

    • 29th Avenue South (fully accessible)
    • 24th Avenue South (partially accessible)
    • 23rd Avenue South (partially accessible)
    • Hurl Rock Park at 20th Avenue South (fully accessible)
    • 19th Avenue South (partially accessible)
    • 17th Avenue South (partially accessible)
    • 16th Avenue South (partially accessible, has step at beach end)
    • 15th Avenue South (fully accessible)
    • 12th Avenue South (fully accessible)
    • 11th Avenue South (partially accessible)
    • Ninth Avenue South (fully accessible)
    • Seventh Avenue South (partially accessible)
    • Third Avenue South (fully accessible)
    • First Avenue North (fully accessible)
    • Second Avenue North (fully accessible)
    • Fourth Avenue North (fully accessible)
    • Seventh Avenue North (fully accessible)
    • Ninth Avenue North, north side of Plyler Park (fully accessible)
    • 11th Avenue North (fully accessible)
    • 13th Avenue North (fully accessible)
    • 1600 North Ocean Boulevard (fully accessible)
    • 1708 North Ocean Boulevard (partially accessible)
    • 1802 North Ocean Boulevard (fully accessible)
    • Anderson Park at 20th Avenue North (fully accessible)
    • 2104 North Ocean Boulevard (partially accessible)
    • 2302 North Ocean Boulevard (partially accessible)
    • 25th Avenue North (fully accessible)
    • 2504 North Ocean Boulevard (partially accessible)
    • 31st Avenue North (fully accessible)
    • 34th Avenue North (partially accessible, has steps at beach end)
    • 38th Avenue North (fully accessible)
    • 41st Avenue North (fully accessible)
    • 44th Avenue North (partially accessible)
    • 47th Avenue North (partially accessible)
    • 48th Avenue North (fully accessible)
    • 51st Avenue North (partially accessible)
    • 53rd Avenue North (fully accessible)
    • Gardens by the Sea, 5400 North Ocean Boulevard (fully accessible)
    • Seaside Place (fully accessible)
    • 64th Avenue North (fully accessible)
    • 65th Avenue North (partially accessible)
    • 66th Avenue North (partially accessible, has steps at beach end)
    • 69th Avenue North (partially accessible, has steps at beach end)
    • 70th Avenue North (fully accessible)
    • 75th Avenue North (partially accessible)
    • 76th Avenue North (partially accessible, has steps at beach end)

    by-srqpix-on-flickr-cc#3 - Determine your need for a beach-accessible wheelchair.

    As you can imagine, it would be difficult (if not impossible) to roll a wheelchair over sand. However, Myrtle Beach has a number of "beach-friendly" wheelchairs available for use at NO COST. These wheelchairs are typically used on a first-come, first-served basis. The difference between these and other types of wheelchairs is that they are equipped with balloon tires and safety belts.

    Wheelchairs may be delivered to and picked up from your location by a community service officer anytime between 9 am and 5 pm, depending on the weather. You'll need to make sure that you have a photo ID.

    If you are interested in using a beach-friendly wheelchair, you can contact the Myrtle Beach Police Department help desk by calling: 843-918-1382.

  • Stats About Veterans and Disabilities in Virginia

    At Van Products, we are proud supporters of our nation's military - both in those who serve as well as the families of military veterans. As such, we offer wheelchair van services in Virginia, and we also help provide opportunities for veterans.

    Today, we'd like to take a moment to shine a spotlight on veterans and disabilities in Virginia.

    by DVIDSHUB on flickr cc

    Statics About Veterans and Disabilities in Virginia

    • As of September 2014, there were 781,388 veterans living in the state of Virginia. [source]
    • Of these, 107,201 were female veterans, and 674,187 were male veterans.
    • Roughly 268,000 veterans in Virginia are over the age of 65.
    • Approximately 33,000 West Virginians have a developmental disability.(West Virginia Developmental Disabilities Council, 2012)
    • In 2015, Virginia became the first state in the USA to functionally end veteran homelessness. [source]
    • Virginia is home to three Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers: Hampton VA Medical Center, Hunter Holmes McGuire Richmond VA Medical Center, and the Salem VA Medical Center.
    • There are 15 community-based outpatient clinics in Virginia. [source]
    • There are approximately 165,000 veterans in Virginia who are receiving disability compensation.
    • Approximately 6,000 veterans in Virginia receive a pension.
    • There are approximately 261,000 enrollees in the VA healthcare system in Virginia.
    • More than 148,000 unique patients are treated at VA hospitals in Virginia.
    • An estimated 962,000 people in Virginia have a disability, or 14.1% of the population age 5 and over. [source]
  • 6 Reasons to Rent a Wheelchair Van This Spring

    image by by The Wandering Angel on flickr ccSpring is here, and with it is warmer weather and open roads. There's no better time than now to rent a wheelchair van for your next road trip. Below, we are giving you ten reasons to rent a wheelchair van this season.

    6 Reasons To Rent a Wheelchair Van

    #1 - Try before you buy.

    There's no better way to test out a wheelchair van than by renting it first. Renting a wheelchair van gives you an opportunity to play around with different features as well as get a feel for how the van handles while it's on the road.

    #2 - Save on miles.

    Perhaps you already own a wheelchair van. Maybe you don't. Regardless of your vehicle situation, renting a wheelchair van saves you from putting unnecessary miles on your personal vehicle. This can save you time and money in otherwise costly repairs down the line.

    #3 - Go where your personal vehicle can't.

    Renting a vehicle, like a wheelchair SUV, can take you places your regular, personal vehicle simply can't. Check out the Braunability MXV for starters!

    #4 - Rent a wheelchair van for business.

    Whether you're going on a business trip, or entertaining prospective clients who have special needs, renting a wheelchair van gives you the flexibility you need to help you and your guests travel in comfort.

    #5 - Travel in style.

    Choose to rent a newer model of wheelchair van to reap all of the benefits of driving a new wheelchair accessible van without having to actually own it. If you like it, you can always buy it later!

    #6 - Van Troubles? We've got you covered.

    Before you rent, ask us about your coverage. When you rent a wheelchair van with us, we take care of you should you encounter any issues with your rental.

    Your Proven Leader in Wheelchair Van Rental!

    At Van Products, we offer one of the largest selections of wheelchair rental vans to suit a wide range of mobility needs. Whether you need a rear entry wheelchair van, hand controls, specific types of automotive seating, or other upfits, our mobility specialists are here to help you make the most educated choice as well as answer any questions or concerns you may have.

    Find out more about renting a wheelchair van with us!

  • Cerebral Palsy: 20 Facts You Didn't Know

    March 25th is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. However, awareness for this disability is also celebrated throughout the month. As a show of support, we'd like to share some facts about cerebral palsy, and we encourage you to share this information with others to help raise awareness as well as generate a deeper understanding for how this disability affects the lives of others.

    What is Cerebral Palsy?

    Cerebral palsy refers to any number of neurological disorders that usually appear in infancy or early childhood and permanently affect muscle coordination and body movement in a non-progressive way.

    Though it affects muscle movement, cerebral palsy (CP) isn't caused by issues related to your muscles or nerves. In fact, it is caused by abnormalities in the brain that affect muscle movement. The majority of people who have CP are those who were born with it, even though the disorder may not be detected until the child is a few months to a few years old.

    Currently, there isn't any cure for CP, and the disability can range from mild to severe with some people requiring the use of wheelchairs and walkers to orthotics braces, and voice synthesizers.

    Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month20 Facts & Stats About Cerebral Palsy

    1. Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood
    2. According to estimates from the CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, roughly 1 in 323 children have been identified as having CP.
    3. Infections or health problems during pregnancy can increase the risk of giving birth to a baby with CP.
    4. The earlier a baby is born, the greater his/her chance of having CP.
    5. Each year, roughly 8,000 babies and infants are diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
    6. Fifty percent of people with CP use assistive devices (ex: walkers, wheelchairs, etc.)
    7. Approximately 30 percent of children with CP have seizures.
    8. CP is a condition that is permanent, but not unchanging.
    9. Globally, more than 17 million people have cerebral palsy.
    10. 1 in 3 people who have cerebral palsy cannot walk.
    11. 1 in 5 people who have cerebral palsy cannot talk.
    12. Of all children with CP, 60 percent are born at term.
    13. The majority of people with CP will experience some form of premature aging by the time they reach their 40s due to the extra stress that the disability puts on their bodies.
    14. There are three different types of cerebral palsy.
    15. The most common type of cerebral palsy is Spastic Cerebral Palsy, which accounts for between 61 - 77 percent of all diagnosed CP cases, roughly.
    16. Among children enrolled in Medicaid in 2005, medical costs were higher for children with CP.
    17. In 2003, the CDC estimated the lifetime cost to care for an individual with CP as being nearly $1 million.
    18. Cerebral palsy is NOT a disease or birth defect.
    19. The symptoms of CP in a child can vary from day to day.
    20. CP occurs more often in boys than girls.


  • Van Products & HOMH Team Up to Honor Military Hero

    On February 10, 2016, Van Products will be teaming up with Help Our Military Heroes (HOMH), and Semper Fi Fund representatives to present a wheelchair accessible van to retired U.S. Marine Sgt. Evans and his family. The presentation will take place at the Van Products headquarters in Raleigh, NC.


    About USMC Sgt. Carlos Evans

    After the tragic events of September 11th occurred, Carlos Evans was compelled to join the U.S. Marine Corps. By May 2010, U.S. Marine Sgt. Carlos Evans had served three tours of duty in Iraq and was serving his fourth overseas deployment in Afghanistan when he stepped on an improvised explosive device.

    The blast took both of Evans’ legs and his left hand. On that day (and ever since), the Marine Corps family, Evans’ family, the local community, and volunteers have all rallied around Evans in a show of support. In turn, Evans continues to inspire countless others by the way he conducts himself in his day-to-day life and his overall, positive attitude. In a previous interview with WRAL, Evans was quoted as saying:

    I have met so many good people (who), without even knowing me, they have inspired me to be a better person and to not give up... 

    Join us as we honor this military hero and his family!

    About Help Our Military Heroes (HOMH)

    Founded in 2009 by Laurie Hollander and Marybeth Vandergrift, Help Our Military Heroes (HOMH) is a 501C3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing fully equipped, handicap vans to U.S. service men and women who sustained their injuries while on active duty during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

    About Semper Fi Fund

    Founded in 2004 by a group of Marine Corps spouses, the Semper Fi Fund provides financial assistance and lifetime support to post-9/11 wounded, critically ill and injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families, ensuring that they have the resources they need throughout their recovery and transition back into their communities.

  • Valentines for Veterans: 10 Ways to Show Love

    Valentine's Day isn't just about being in love; it's about showing love to those who matter - those who make a difference in your life. This Valentine's Day, why not show a little love to veterans? Below, we give you some great ideas (and resources) to help you think of the perfect Valentine's gift for the veterans in your life.

    blue and red jeweled heart by Neal on flickr cc

    Ways to Show Love to Veterans This Valentine's Day

    #1 - Make a Valentine's Day Card for a Veteran

    Wake County, NC - All libraries encourage patrons to create cards for veterans, which are distributed on Valentine's Day. [via Wake County.gov]

    Dallas, TX - Army & Air Force Exchange Service shoppers can stop by participating exchange facilities now through Feb. 6th to fill out cards, or they can bring their own cards to drop off. The exchange will arrange for delivery to local veterans on or before Valentine’s Day. [via Military.com]

    #2 - National Salute to Veteran Patients

    The week of February 14 each year is your opportunity to say thank you to more than 98,000 Veterans of the U.S. armed services who are cared for every day in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, outpatient clinics, and nursing homes.

    Activities and events include valentine distributions; photo opportunities; school essay contests; special recreation activities and Veteran recognition programs. [via U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs]

    #3 - Make a Quilt

    Check with local civic groups or nonprofit organizations within your community. Two great examples of organizations that make quilts for veterans include: Quilts of Valor, and Quilts of Honor.

    #4 - Host a Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner

    Whether you host a small meal at your home with some local neighbors, or jump in with others to host a larger event, consider hosting a meal for the veterans in your local area. Check out the following ways people are doing this:

    • Tampa, FL - Valentine's for Veterans Benefit Gala [via 10News]
    • National - Wayback Honors Vets with American Heroes Meal [via Franchising.com]

    *If you see a military person/family in a restaurant, you can offer to pay for their meal, or simply thank them for their service.

    #5 - Business Owner? Show Support!

    If you're a business owner, show your support of veterans this Valentine's Day by hanging a sign in the window, or offering some sort of free or discounted item/service.

    #6 - Help a Veteran at Home

    Know a veteran or family of a veteran who lives nearby? Why not offer to run errands or help them around the house? Nearly 40% of our veteran population is 65 or older. Even a phone call just to check in can go a long way.

     #7 - Visit Your Local VA Hospital

    Find a local VA hospital near you and consider volunteering or visiting veterans who may be hospitalized. The staff members at the hospital should be able to direct you.

    #8 - Visit a Veteran's Grave

    Bring flowers, or offer remembrance through silence. Bring your kids, and use it also as an opportunity to educate them on the important role that veterans play in our lives each and every day.

    #9 - Invite a Veteran to Speak at Your Company or School

    Invite a veteran to share his/her story with your company, school, or other organization. Prefer something more intimate? Perhaps you could host a small gathering at your home and do the same.

    #10 - Gather supplies; Make Valentine's 'Care Kits'

    Check with your local military affiliate or other civic organization. Veterans can have a wide range of needs, depending on their military status, age, family, and medical needs. Items such as canes, wheelchairs, and ramps to toiletries, and more are all examples of things that you could help collect and donate.

  • Winter Safety Tips for People in Wheelchairs

    Cold weather seasons can also bring with it dangerous situations - from icy roadways and walkways to power outages, and more. These conditions are sometimes made worse for those who have physical disabilities as mobility and access to immediate help may be reduced.

    Winter Safety Tips for Wheelchair Users

    The following are some quick safety tips to keep in mind to help wheelchair users stay safer this winter.

    #1 - Have a 'Survival Kit'

    image of wheelchair sign in snow by imrambi on flickr ccWhether you use a wheelchair or not, it is always a good idea to have a survival/safety kit. Consider the following for your homemade survival kit:

    • water
    • matches
    • batteries (for flashlight)
    • battery backup (if your wheelchair uses a battery pack)
    • blanket
    • flashlight
    • medication(s)

    #2 - Use the Buddy System

    If you live alone, consider letting a close friend, neighbor, or family member know. If your local meteorologist has predicted a snow storm or other winter weather event and you feel uncomfortable being alone, let a friend, family member or neighbor know. Another alternative is to have a friend check on you with a phone call or vice versa.

    #3 - Keep Prescriptions Filled

    During the winter time especially, you should always make sure that the gas in your car is topped off, and your prescriptions are filled. This is critical if you're on medications for serious medical conditions.

    #4 - Give Your Wheelchair a 'Tune-Up'!

    If you use a wheelchair all of the time, make sure you have it checked out to be safe. Just like a car, you always want to play it safe and make sure that everything is in working order. Don't wait for something to break or wear down. Additionally, if you travel a lot outdoors with your wheelchair, you may want to consider getting a different set of tires/wheels to accommodate your outdoor travels in snow or other wintery terrain.

    #5 - Keep walkways around your home clear

    Prepare ahead of time. Pay attention to the weather forecast, and make sure that you do what you can (or have someone help) to make sure that the walkways around your home are clear and accessible.

    What other tips can you think of? How else can people with wheelchairs stay safe during winter weather? We'd love to hear your thoughts!

  • 8 Holiday Gift Ideas for Disabled Veterans

    We have much to be thankful for this holiday season (and the rest of the year), thanks in large part to military veterans who have selflessly given of themselves to protect our country and livelihood.

    This holiday season, there are tons of ways to honor disabled veterans throughout the United States. Below are some holiday gift ideas for disabled veterans.

    image by JanetR3 on flickr cc

    8 Gift Ideas for Disabled Veterans During the Holidays

    #1 - Holiday Cards for Heroes

    Bring a little Christmas cheer to disabled veterans by writing and distributing holiday cards throughout your community. This is something that you can do with friends and family, through your church, or even through your local chapter of The American Red Cross.

    #2 - Operation Holiday Joy

    Operation Holiday Joy accepts monetary donations, which goes towards the purchase of food and toys for military families in need.

    #3 - Trees for Troops

    Founded in 2005, Trees for Troops is a charity organization whose mission it is to deliver real Christmas trees to veterans and other members/families of the local armed forces.

    #4 - Operation Homefront

    Donate to Operation Homefront to help provide financial assistance, food assistance, repairs, and more to the families of wounded and/or disabled veterans.

    #5 - American Legion - Operation Comfort Warriors

    The American Legion's Operation Comfort Warriors is a program dedicated to meeting the needs of wounded veterans, injured veterans, or other ill military personnel. The organization helps by providing "comfort items" not typically supplied by the government. Items may include things such as: electronic devices, sweat suits, puzzles, books, calling cards, computers, bigger recreational items, and more. Donate here.

    #6 - No Sew Blanket Drive

    No Sew Blankets is an blanket drive led by Soldier's Angels. The blankets are a easy craft project with a huge impact, and they are a great way to show your appreciation to veterans. Click here for more information, or send an email to: rcheatham@soldiersangels.org.

    #7 - Honor Flight Network

    Honor Flight Network is a nonprofit organization that flies disabled veterans and veterans alike to Washington DC to visit memorials built to honor their service to the nation. Priority is given to senior veterans, World War II survivors, and other veterans who may be terminally ill. Donations are graciously accepted.

    #8 - Help Our Wounded (HOW)

    Founded in 2009 by Rosie Babin, Help Our Wounded (HOW) is dedicated to helping severely disabled/wounded veterans and caregivers of disabled veterans by offering support and resources unique to their individual needs. Donations to HOW help provide items to wounded veterans, such as: financial assistance, caregiver coach training & matching, emergency calling cards, education, and more.


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