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    Power Assist Devices?

    How do you all feel about adding an after-market power assist device to an ultra light chair? I have been diagnosed with rotator cuff tears in both shoulders, and one of them is really really painful. Long story short, I'm not going to be able to have the surgery to repair the tear because I have no way to get care for the 3 months of recovery after the surgery. I will probably have a "clean up" of the shoulder and hope that takes care of the pain. Believe me, I have shed way too many tears over this and don't wish to debate this topic any more, so lets stick to my "title topic", please. :-)

    A second opinion with a surgeon (and is recommending the alternative to repairing the tear) who has lots of experience with paras, quads, etc. has told me that I need to switch to a power chair. I though perhaps adding power assist to my Quickie Q7 might be the answer, at least for a while.

    I'm not even sure I will be able to get insurance to pay for a power chair, because I only got this chair less than 2 years ago. Anyhow, I don't think I'm ready to make this switch if it can be avoided by a simpler solution.

    Please let me know if you have them and if they have been helpful or not, or any thoughts or advice you may have on this topic.

    Thanks!

    #2
    Originally posted by wheeliegirl View Post
    How do you all feel about adding an after-market power assist device to an ultra light chair? I have been diagnosed with rotator cuff tears in both shoulders, and one of them is really really painful. Long story short, I'm not going to be able to have the surgery to repair the tear because I have no way to get care for the 3 months of recovery after the surgery. I will probably have a "clean up" of the shoulder and hope that takes care of the pain. Believe me, I have shed way too many tears over this and don't wish to debate this topic any more, so lets stick to my "title topic", please. :-)

    A second opinion with a surgeon (and is recommending the alternative to repairing the tear) who has lots of experience with paras, quads, etc. has told me that I need to switch to a power chair. I though perhaps adding power assist to my Quickie Q7 might be the answer, at least for a while.

    I'm not even sure I will be able to get insurance to pay for a power chair, because I only got this chair less than 2 years ago. Anyhow, I don't think I'm ready to make this switch if it can be avoided by a simpler solution.

    Please let me know if you have them and if they have been helpful or not, or any thoughts or advice you may have on this topic.

    Thanks!
    I think the idea of a power assist device is a great one. It's hard to evaluate your personal situation and the severity of your rotator cuff tears, but you resistance to having to switch to a power chair is perfectly understandable.

    There has been a lot of buzz on this forum about the SmartDrive with mostly unanimous thumbs up. We carry them at Bike-On and the owner is currently demoing one and loves it. He's going to send it to me to trial in the very near future, so I'll have a firsthand account to share.

    If you go ahead with the surgery you may need to at least rent a power chair while your recovering, but a power assist may be the perfect in-between solution for you (and most of us, eventually) once you're back on your feet, as it were.
    stephen@bike-on.com

    Comment


      #3
      One thing to consider is how you will transport the manual chair. If you currently transfer to a car, getting the wheels off and loaded in may be more than your shoulders can take (they are HEAVY)! Also, if your battery dies, pushing the chair manually is much more difficult with these in place.

      On the other hand, if you need a power chair, you pretty much need a van in order to transport it, and ideally, if you are driving, you should drive from the wheelchair to avoid the strain on your shoulders that transfers to a seat would require. With a power chair, you could possibly get tilt-in-space for weight shifts though, since if your shoulders are that bad, doing push-up weight shifts is probably not possible (or a good idea for your shoulders).

      (KLD)
      The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
        One thing to consider is how you will transport the manual chair. If you currently transfer to a car, getting the wheels off and loaded in may be more than your shoulders can take (they are HEAVY)! Also, if your battery dies, pushing the chair manually is much more difficult with these in place.

        On the other hand, if you need a power chair, you pretty much need a van in order to transport it, and ideally, if you are driving, you should drive from the wheelchair to avoid the strain on your shoulders that transfers to a seat would require. With a power chair, you could possibly get tilt-in-space for weight shifts though, since if your shoulders are that bad, doing push-up weight shifts is probably not possible (or a good idea for your shoulders).

        (KLD)
        Not all power assist devices are the same design. The SmartDrive, for instance, is about half the weight of e-motion-style wheels -- it's not a replacement set of wheels. When removed (slides/clips on and off easily) the chair is exactly as it was. On a full charge it has a range of 10 miles, which is a considerable distance, I think.
        stephen@bike-on.com

        Comment


          #5
          I think the smart drive sounds like a good option for you. Its rather lightweight so you could still lift it to load it into your vehicle with your good arm. Thats one of the biggest things that has my interest in it, most other power assist options are too heavy for me to pick up.

          Also a good option with the Q7, same chair I have. The chair isn't supposed to be used with power assist wheels, it will void the warranty.
          Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

          I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by ~Lin View Post
            Also a good option with the Q7, same chair I have. The chair isn't supposed to be used with power assist wheels, it will void the warranty.
            I realize that manufacturers are leery of litigation resulting from the use of add-on devices on chairs that are not "reinforced," but has anyone heard of a chair becoming damaged as a result of using a power assist device?
            stephen@bike-on.com

            Comment


              #7
              I've seen second hand claims here of people knowing someone who's Q7 supposedly cracked due to power assist. Chas is one who has brought it up and said the frames cracking was the reason the chair is now not supposed to be used with power assist wheels. I haven't run into anyone personally, here or otherwise, who had a Q7 crack due to power assist yet.

              Its one chair that definitely seems to be split between love or hate and not much in the middle. However most of the hate I've seen comes down to user error, with incorrect specs.
              Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

              I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.

              Comment


                #8
                Oh dear! Should I think again on this topic. I definitely don't want my chair to crack! At what place are they cracking? Also, I realize that these are heavy, and that I will probably not be able to drive my car anymore, but still I thought it may be a better interum solution before moving to a power chair.

                How concerned should I be about this issue with the Q7?

                I am "meh" about my Q7. It is okay, except for the front wheels, it felt pretty much like my old chair the moment I sat in it. I find that the front wheels stick out too far, and I can't get as close to things, such as my kitchen counters, and my doors are chewed up now because of the way they stick out. I didn't have that problem with my Quickie Titanium. But, I figure, my doors and cabinets will get dinged up no matter what, so it doesn't make me "hate" my chair. Oh...then there is also the fact that the damn thing almost fell apart the first few months I had it. Screws were coming out all over the place. There's nothing like finding a screw and then having to search the entire chair to find out where it came from! Or worse, not even knowing that a screw came out and the part falls off. Yes, both of those things happened to me, but I didn't chalk it up to a design flaw as much as poor workmanship at the assembly level.

                Okay, I just watched the You Tube Video for that smart drive! How much is it, where can I get it and how long does the battery last? Also, Lin, do you have a Q7? I see that the plastic attachment must be put on the axle in the center. On the Q7 there is already a piece of plastic there. I'm not exactly sure what it does, and I do wish I had a photo of it at this moment, but I don't. I think it keeps the chair centered onto the axle to keep it from sliding. But again, I'm not sure. Can the fitting for the power assist be slightly left or right of the center of the wheels?
                Last edited by wheeliegirl; 12 Mar 2013, 9:16 PM. Reason: addition

                Comment


                  #9
                  The supposed reports of cracking are in reference to power assist wheels, which are very heavy. That would not be a concern with the smart drive that many of us are recommending.

                  My personal theory on the power assist wheels issue is due to there not being a "reinforced" option on the Q7. Even the tilite chairs are said to not be used with power assist wheels if not ordered with the reinforced option.
                  Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

                  I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I was sold on Pat's/Spinergy version until I saw this ... way to wipe out the market on these! lol

                    Think I would like one. I'll have to become super-sly about reaching between my legs to turn the thing on/off so much though ... pffft.
                    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

                    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

                    Comment


                      #11
                      They're working on a new remote so to speak so you don't have to reach for the battery thing. You can mount it on your frame. It was discussed in the smart drive thread.
                      Board Member of Assistance Dog Advocacy Project working in Education. Feel free to ask me any service dog questions!

                      I am not paralyzed. I have a genetic connective tissue disorder with neuro complications and a movement disorder.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        FWIW:

                        If my memory serves, about the time I was deciding which chair to buy (in the fall of 2010), Sunrise introduced the Q7 with no restrictions on use with power assist. They marketed the 'new' 7000-series aluminum as a less-expensive, light-weight, alternative frame material to titanium. I remember wondering if I was making the right choice.

                        During this time several posts appeared on CCC about cracked wheelchair frames (I remember the cracks being related to hard usage, not power assist). The posts were about both TiLite chairs and the Q7. TiLite subsequently recommended reinforced frames, which I ordered on my AeroZ; Sunrise added a note to the Q7's order form:
                        Chas
                        TiLite TR3
                        Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
                        I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

                        "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."
                        <
                        UNKNOWN AUTHOR>

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Wheeliegirl,

                          When my doctor first suggested a power chair I was very resistant to the idea. I even bought a couple of scooters trying to stay out of a power chair. After finally going to a power chair, I would never, ever go back to a manual chair. I go anywhere I want and anytime I want with absolutely no pain. Your doctor can write a "medical necessity" letter to your insurance company and get it covered.

                          I walked for 37 years with forearm crutches and have damaged my right shoulder and ulnar nerves in both arms. I wish I had gone to a power chair many years ago instead of waiting until I had to.

                          Good luck.
                          Millard
                          ''Life's tough... it's even tougher if you're stupid!'' -- John Wayne

                          Comment


                            #14
                            You know if that SmartDrive thing was just $2000 cheaper I would buy one tomorrow .. but at $4000+ I am resisting.
                            Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

                            T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Wheelie girl:

                              Due to shoulder issues I have been checking out power assist. I demo-ed a SmartDrive for two weeks, and think it's a great device, but strongly recommend contact with a rep. to get a try-out first.
                              I know changes are coming but I found a bit too much stress/discomfort in one shoulder joint when stopping it by grabbing the wheels. This occurred when I had it going fast. Slower speed stopping by grabbing wheels was not as bad, but still a concern for longer use.

                              The SD did not go in reverse and I had pain backing up on carpet, manually, with the added weight of the device. Without the wheel or the battery on my chair, I can slowly back up on carpet without a problem.

                              The SD is not workable for me, but I plan to purchase a ZX-1 as soon as it's available. I especially like the fact that I can "don and doff" the zx1, using my chair manually in the house, then attaching the device for outdoors and travel. (No need to transfer into a power chair.) I drive a full size van and if going somewhere that I didn't need it, I'd unhook it and leave it in van.

                              Check out Bike-On and Sportaid prices for the Smart Drive. I'm sure you could get insurance coverage with your doctor's help describing new issues. You can help your doctor by giving him/her a list of reasons you need power assist when you discuss it.

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