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    Para in a power chair?

    After 61 years on the planet and 34 years in a chair my right shoulder has given it up. I have completely torn 3 of the 4 muscle groups that make up the rotator cuff and it has been deemed not repairable. I am fortunate enough to be able to get a PT/OT re-eval by therapists who actually know something about SCI and should get the appointment soon but I really don't see anyway around a power chair. Have any paras out there gone into a power chair after decades? comments on the experience?

    Also what are good power chairs? Looking through google it seems like there are fewer choices than with manual chairs. What are people using that they like?

    Thanks,
    John

    #2
    Have you considered a power add-on system to your manual chair? Many people who have pushed a manual chair as long as you have had to transition to power mobility. Check out the Spinergy ZX-1.

    Do you drive from your chair, or transfer to drive currently? Van? Car?

    Keep in mind that most power chairs have a larger footprint than a manual chair, so that may need to be a consideration in your home depending on how accessible your home is.

    Are you on Medicare? If so, you must have a RESNA certified therapist do an evaluation of your needs and write the letter of necessity for your provider to sign. Do you know if the therapists you work with have such certification?

    You might also want to think about a lift for transfers (one you can use yourself) as transfers are no easier on your shoulders with a power chair than with a manual chair.

    (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


      #3
      Thanks,

      So far everything is still on the table. I have thought about power add-ons.

      I drive a Mazda5 so that will probably have to change as well.

      "Fortunately" I was hurt on the job so I can get just about anything the therapists order.

      Thanks for the thoughts

      Comment


        #4
        Driving from your chair, with a van, would be better for shoulders...car transfers can be brutal, plus having to load your chair into a car. A power chair will generally require a van. Some power assist systems are heavy to load or impossible (like the Synergy above) into a car by yourself.

        (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


          #5
          Originally posted by Lone Beagle View Post
          Thanks,

          So far everything is still on the table. I have thought about power add-ons.

          I drive a Mazda5 so that will probably have to change as well.

          "Fortunately" I was hurt on the job so I can get just about anything the therapists order.

          Thanks for the thoughts
          In that case, if you're in the USA the likely "best" power chair (In my opinion) is the Permobil F5 VS because it has a built in stander function. It's a bit large though and, yes, you're looking at either a ramp van or someone to drive it onto a hitch lift after you get into the car.

          There are better chairs, but the better chairs with standing are only available outside the US. Worth trying a few though. If you don't want standing there are relatively compact chairs out there and the Quickies are very nice (although their standing chair is not available in the US).
          T3 complete since Sept 2015.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
            Have you considered a power add-on system to your manual chair? Many people who have pushed a manual chair as long as you have had to transition to power mobility. Check out the Spinergy ZX-1.
            Do you drive from your chair, or transfer to drive currently? Van? Car?

            Keep in mind that most power chairs have a larger footprint than a manual chair, so that may need to be a consideration in your home depending on how accessible your home is.

            Are you on Medicare? If so, you must have a RESNA certified therapist do an evaluation of your needs and write the letter of necessity for your provider to sign. Do you know if the therapists you work with have such certification?

            You might also want to think about a lift for transfers (one you can use yourself) as transfers are no easier on your shoulders with a power chair than with a manual chair.

            (KLD)
            Stay away from the zx1...my friend Pat invented it and Synergy bought the company and ran the product in to the ground!!

            This is Pat and his daughter before they sold to Synergy



            If you are already having pain its time to move over to a power chair vs a motor for a wheelchair. Check out Permobil F3 or m3 mid wheel...lot more comfort than a wheelchair with power.

            You can fund them with seat elevation and tilt and recline no problem.
            Last edited by RollinPositive; 18 Apr 2018, 2:45 PM.

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks for your input!

              I am probably going to have to go back to a van. I had those while the kids were still home to be able to haul everything and everybody.

              So what is the front-wheel, rear-wheel, mid-wheel drive business? What do people like? What about quantum?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Lone Beagle View Post
                Thanks for your input!

                I am probably going to have to go back to a van. I had those while the kids were still home to be able to haul everything and everybody.

                So what is the front-wheel, rear-wheel, mid-wheel drive business? What do people like? What about quantum?
                actually i disagree about the zx-1. i have one and love it and Pat is still around to help. great guy.

                i agree with kld on the overhead lift. we put a 4 way in our bedroom. goes from bed through master bath door to toilet and shower. been a game changer. im a quad and i use easily by myself with a "u-sling". i also switched to full size van 3 yrs ago, another game changer. minis are to small for us and our lifestyle. we have a hightop chevy explorer conv, likely due mercedes sprinter next.
                Bike-on.com rep
                John@bike-on.com
                c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
                sponsored handcycle racer

                Comment


                  #9
                  What about that weird OGO thing? And if you pick something: elect chair, add on, big dude to just push you, etc. Can you change if it doesn't work?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I'm a para who uses a power chair although I did it fairly soon. One thing to watch out for is weight gain, also in general the lack of exercise can be a problem. I can feel really jumpy at night so actually I try and use a manual indoors as much as I can just to feel better. And be careful driving them. There's a tendency to drive at top speed, but they can bump into things and people way more easily than a manual.

                    I found and from talking to people it's common, at first it just seems wonderful. You can zoom about, carry things, it's like freedom. But like I said with long term use the downsides become clear, especially the lack of exercise and the toll that disuse can take on your body. So I'd suggest if you get it, try and find another kind of exercise.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Here is a short explanation of the different drive configurations from Spin Life: https://www.spinlife.com/en/drivewhe...eelchairs2.cfm

                      You will likely find as many opinions about which drive is best as there are users. Currently the two most popular and available drive bases are Mid and Rear Wheel drives.

                      A good place to start is with an evaluation by a physical or occupational therapist. The therapist may have recommendations for durable medical equipment suppliers in your area, where you can get demonstration models to try. The longer you can use the demo models the better to find a chair that suits your needs.


                      Drive Wheel Differences on Power Wheelchairs

                      Your specific needs determine which drive wheel is a good buy for you.


                      The drive wheels of a power wheelchair are connected to the motor. There are three drive wheel types, rear-wheel drive, mid-wheel drive and front-wheel drive, each of which are ideal for a certain type of user and needs. Each drive wheel type has its own driving and handling characteristics, turning radii, and advantages and disadvantages. Below is a brief overview of the different drive types.

                      Rear-Wheel Drive
                      The original drive type, rear-wheel drive power chairs are some of the most stable chairs on the market. This type of chair has the highest top speeds available, as well as the largest turning radius. Note that with rear-wheel drive chairs, going up steep hills will cause the chair to lean back on the anti-tip tubes to assist in preventing the chair from tipping backward.

                      Front-Wheel Drive
                      In this type of chair, the drive wheels are actually in front of your seat. A sturdy solution for uneven terrain and up and down hills, front-wheel drive chairs can easily climb over small obstacles. Most of the chair is behind you with this type, so remaining aware of what is behind you is key. Think of this drive type like a forklift. The overall speed of this drive type is slower, because it can fishtail at higher speeds.

                      Mid-Wheel Drive
                      While in this type of chair, your center of gravity is about even with the center of the drive wheels, so they are essentially under you. With mid-wheel chairs, there is an equal amount of the chair in front of and behind you, making it ideal for maneuvering in smaller spaces. Unlike front-wheel drive chairs, this type of chair is not ideal for varied, uneven terrain with steep transitions. There is a possibility of you getting “stuck” on the front or rear casters; suspending the drive wheels so they have no contact with the ground.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hi Lone Beagle

                        Well we are almost identical in terms of age and years in chair. I am going through the same process. i have ordered an m3 because i like manuevarbilty and it seems like a great chair. i am working on an ATC conversion
                        for 4wd pick-up. i live in Mn and 4wd to me is a necessity. You can also get SUV conversions from them. But make sure to check compatibility of Chair and vehicle because they are all different. I feel it's going to be a big change and as someone stated i will need to keep up on some form of exercise to keep burning some calories. There are lots of people on here that really know power chairs and trade offs etc. I wish you all the luck and pm me if you wish. ( we also have similiar ins. coverage)

                        Pete

                        Originally posted by Lone Beagle View Post
                        After 61 years on the planet and 34 years in a chair my right shoulder has given it up. I have completely torn 3 of the 4 muscle groups that make up the rotator cuff and it has been deemed not repairable. I am fortunate enough to be able to get a PT/OT re-eval by therapists who actually know something about SCI and should get the appointment soon but I really don't see anyway around a power chair. Have any paras out there gone into a power chair after decades? comments on the experience?

                        Also what are good power chairs? Looking through google it seems like there are fewer choices than with manual chairs. What are people using that they like?

                        Thanks,
                        John

                        Comment


                          #13
                          What about the max mobility smart drive ?
                          It's easy to put on your chair when you want it, easy to take off and transfer into your car with your chair etc.
                          Can give you push assist or just full on power when you're really feeling lazy.
                          I really can't say anything bad about mine, and the company has totally rocked supporting me when I've broken stuff.
                          http://www.max-mobility.com/smartdrive/


                          Then there is this guy, he used to be on here.

                          http://www.wheelchairdriver.com/



                          Comment


                            #14
                            I saw the wheelchair driver's site. That is kind of over the top but cool.

                            So why won't anybody say anything about Quantum?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Lone Beagle View Post
                              I saw the wheelchair driver's site. That is kind of over the top but cool.

                              So why won't anybody say anything about Quantum?
                              Most comments about Quantum would be pejorative.

                              You'll get lots of positive comments about Permobil M3 (mid wheel drive) and F3 (front wheel drive).

                              Invacare is in and out of trouble and design remediation with the FDA (seems like for years and years) so lots of people avoid those bases.

                              There are a few other power wheelchair manufacturers around, but they don't generally represent a strong presence in the marketplace.

                              All that said, I am talking generally about the United States and various regions in the U.S. will have a stronger representation and preference for one or two manufacturers over others.

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