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    Transfers and wheelchair arms?

    I was wondering if anyone else uses their wheelchair arms for weight shifts or to help in transfers. I always have and am having a warranty issue with Invacare over it.
    Andrew

    #2
    I don't use mine to transfer but I do use them for weight shifts and to pick myself up when pulling up my pants. I also use them to knock stuff off of the top shelf at the grocery store.
    DFW TEXAS- T-10 since March 20th, 1994

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      #3
      I use mine, but what type of wheelchair arms do you have? the swingaway ones or the t-post ones?

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        #4
        Mine have always been swing to the side type, I'm not sure what T post type are. I was thinking of trying to ween myself of arms but offroaderswife's post reminded me that I use them that way too! I've used chairs for over twenty years and not broke an arm part till now.

        I've tried not using the arms some more and I cannot sit forward in the chair without using the arms. Other things I have been able to do but this is impossible unless I lift off something nearby that that's not always possible.

        I think it's a common thing to use the arms for other than an arm rest. People, please be sure to check on your warranty if you do! Invacare is denying frame damage warranty on mine because of the arm use.
        Andrew

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          #5
          Desk armrests (AKA T-Post) are shown here (TiLite). Notice the transfer loop on one:

          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."
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            #6
            Arm rests really shouldn't be used for pressure relief. Leaning forward or side to side has the same effect and will help save your shoulders.
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              #7
              I don't use arm rests on my wheel chair...Transfers are so much easier without the armrests in the way.

              Joe

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                #8
                Originally posted by offroaderswife View Post
                I don't use mine to transfer but I do use them for weight shifts and to pick myself up when pulling up my pants. I also use them to knock stuff off of the top shelf at the grocery store.
                Good idea! Never thought of that.

                I use my arm rests to stand, which is probably as bad or worse than using them for transfers and weight shifts... I push off on them to get to a standing position, and then pause with most of my weight still on them for a bit before I'm able to grab something else and move forward. I do worry about breaking them, theres some wiggle in the receivers but I'm hoping thats normal after over a years use....

                For my purpose when standing nothing else on the chair is tall enough, so I have to use the arm rests. I'm not sure how practical trying to find something else to use would be. Correct height and location, and also availability when I need it being an issue. Along with it being easier on my joints to push up than try to pull myself up. I do avoid standing whenever possible for unrelated issues.

                For shifting myself around and transfers I use the wheels. I push down on my natural fits to shift my position around, and when transferring I push down on them to scoot my butt to the very front of the chair, place my feet on the ground in front of the chair, and then transfer similarly to how I've seen paraplegics except I'm using my right leg as much as possible to take work off my arms.

                I'm newer to chairs and all, but my DME mentioned that many parts on the chair are considered to have shorter lifespans than the frame itself and need replacement sooner. So I would have expected armrests to fall under that and be replaced by either warranty or insurance. If Invacare keeps fighting you, what about your insurance?
                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.

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                  #9
                  The swing away armrests are not designed to be weight bearing, or used to lift the chair with. You can get away with it some, but too often will eventually result in (as you now know) failure.
                  Don - Grad Student Emeritus
                  T3 ASIA A 27 years post injury

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                    #10
                    I've been using arms to help with transfers for over twenty years and have never broke one. The arm bracket actually broke the frame of the chair, the arm is not broken. I have tried and still find it impossible to sit forward in the chair without using the arms. Here's a pic:
                    Andrew

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                      #11
                      *can you resize your photo ^ so it can be seen in its entirety?
                      Originally posted by SoulScream View Post
                      Mine have always been swing to the side type, I'm not sure what T post type are.
                      Given your SCI level/function, I think the T-arm on a manual chair will be too much - much more material/surface area than you need, and more restrictive as they are more fixed and will appear more encasing. Swing-aways are easily moved away while still being attached (or completely popped off as needed), and are much more minimal. (fyi. I use T-arm on powerchair, and swing-away on manual, tho on only one side)
                      I was thinking of trying to ween myself of arms <...> I've tried not using the arms some more and I cannot sit forward in the chair without using the arms. Other things I have been able to do but this is impossible unless I lift off something nearby that that's not always possible...
                      I primarily needed swing-away arms on my manual to use while transferring, and given how easily manageable they are, I could pop the 1 arm in during the day IF needed (they would get in the way and hit my forearms when pushing wheels with them on), or just when transferring into bed. My main reason/need for the arm is needing to push against it (opposite side of transfer direction) due to my arms being rather short, no trunk, and having limited hand/wrist and arm function. I have successfully transferred without using the arm at all, but not without issues and unnecessary risk.

                      I'm curious, how specifically do you use them for transfers and when leaning forward?

                      Not knowing the specifics of ^, I think you will probably do fine without them, but if you feel they help you in more ways than not, then why not just keep using them. There's no need to "ween" off something that actually serves you and improves your overall function (like, you can't realistically 'ween' off your wheelchair, can you ).

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                        #12
                        I would like to keep the arms but it voids the Invacare warranty to actually use them. I made the thread to get a sense of what other people use them for. Is it a common thing for chair makers to void the frame warranty if you use the arms for more than an arm rest?

                        "I'm curious, how specifically do you use them for transfers and when leaning forward?" I press up on the arms and swing my hips forward then sit down on the front of the chair. From there I can get down to the floor or make a good transfer to something without hitting the back wheels.
                        Andrew

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                          #13
                          I found that when I removed my arm rests about a year post-injury, it took me about a week to get used to not having them and to make transfers, pressure relief, etc. without them.I took the liberty of resizing the pic.
                          Don - Grad Student Emeritus
                          T3 ASIA A 27 years post injury

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by SoulScream View Post
                            I was wondering if anyone else uses their wheelchair arms for weight shifts or to help in transfers. I always have and am having a warranty issue with Invacare over it.
                            I do the same.Arms help with pressure relief as my Dr likes me to extend arms and hold myself up 15 seconds. I also use it to knock items from high shelves I get very strong screws to replace the ones that come standard with my chairs. When arm rest bracket breaks repair with the spare screws my friend makes for me.

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                              #15
                              Use arm rests here for much of the same stuff that you use them for. While not breaking the frame, I have broken the arm rests/brackets/bolts. (TiLite has a different design that what your picture shows).

                              Now looking at your pic, am I correct that the frame just had some holes drilled through the tubing with no flange welded into the hole to mitigate any stress riser issues? Seems like some shoddy engineering IMO. I have had a TiLite frame warrantee'ed for the same reason, only at a backrest bracket attachment point. The replacement frame had a flange welded in the hole

                              Cracked due to hole drilled in bare tubing:




                              Replacement frame with flange welded in:

                              Attached Files

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