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Need Advice on New Powerchair

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    Need Advice on New Powerchair

    My Invacare is getting pretty old (around 12 years, give or take - my repair guy had to scrounge old chairs for a part), and for the first time I'll be applying to Medicare for a new one. I'd appreciate any tips on the process, requirements, how long it takes, dos & don'ts, what % they paid, etc. from anyone who has been through it or just knows something about it.

    Also, I'd like recommendations for a chair you have/like (possibly but not necessarily a front-drive model, not a Hover-Round type, but a real chair with separately adjustable footrests, arms, back angle, etc). I've always used a rear-drive, but it seems that a front-drive would maneuver through my small apartment doorways easier, although maybe not zipping through supermarkets & parking lots.

    I'm a C4/5 quad, operate with a hand joystick, currently in a rear drive Action Ranger with no extras like reclining back/seat. I have the standard chair back & sling seat with a Roho hi-profile cushion.

    Thanks in advance, your help is greatly appreciated.

    So can I assume that no one here has ever gotten a chair through Medicare and no one has a power chair they even like enough to recommend?


      For powerchair Q's, a good forum to ask in is:

      Lots of power users there.

      Good luck.
      "a T10, who'd Rather be ridin'; than rollin'"


        I've been looking for a year, one didn't work for me and I now have two possibilities, neither of which has all that I need. Be careful in choosing and know what you need before you start.
        C2/3 quad since February 20, 1985.


          If maneuvering in tight spaces is a concern, check out a couple mid-wheel drive power chairs. I cannot give you any tips or advice concerning Medicare. Sorry.

          Up until last year I have always had rearwheel drive chairs and I know what you mean about wanting a solid, customizable wheelchair. I currently have a Quantum Q6000 which is a mid-wheel drive chair. I don't like to recommend specific wheelchairs as everybody's situation is different and every wheelchair has its own little quirks. I've seen other chairs similar to mine that may be just as good or better, I don't know. Here are a few pros and cons concerning my chair.

          Pros: very maneuverable in tight areas, low to ground, the frame has a pretty small footprint, the leg rests and foot plates are very adjustable, it has pretty good speed and power

          Cons: the daily battery life sucks IMO. I have depleted the batteries within a single day twice before. It handles alright off-road, but if you're stuck, backing up isn't really an option. You have to try to steer out of the situation you're in.

          Good luck.


            I'm currently using a permobil 500, with a tilt and recline. They give you a choice of bases that you combine with a choice of seating. This is my third chair in 10 years.

            My second chair was a Redman. I do not recommend them. They are direct sale (not through a dealer), and most dealers refused to work on them. Granted the chair lies flat & stands up, which is cool, but for me it contributed to pressure sores.

            My first chair was a Quickie P300. Ordered in July 97, finally received in the October 97. I will blame the OT at rehab for it it not having tilt or recline. I had it for five years.

            My current chair (the Permobil) my particular Kaiser plan paid 20% of -- miniscule considering the $23,000 price tag.

            The battery power: claimed at 26 miles@6 mph. I haven't pushed it completely, although it tends to slow down at 50 % available power.
            4/6/97, car accident, C5.


              Originally posted by Raccoon
              My second chair was a Redman. I do not recommend them. They are direct sale (not through a dealer), and most dealers refused to work on them. Granted the chair lies flat & stands up, which is cool, but for me it contributed to pressure sores.
              Just curious, how did this contribute to pressure sores?


                There are a number of nice PC's out there. However I saw a list of PC's that Medicare would pay for and they were very few. You may want to obtain the list first before searching and find out the one you like isn't available.

                I do seem to remember that they would pay for a Permobil Corpus 300. They seem to be highly recommended.
                I think a lot of the PC's that Medicare would pay for were Pride Mobility's. Thats because they are inexpensive.

                The Jazzy Pride mobility PC that the V.A. ordered for me (with out any imput from me) would not have lasted a month where I live. Fought like hell for months to get a strong PC that would stand up to the outdoors.
                Most PC's are meant to be used on flat, hard surfaces. If you are going to use them in the fields/woods etc, you must choose carefully.

                A technician who I respect with over 10,000 wheelchairs placed remarked, " Half of the PC's ordered, out of the box, don't work. And another 25% break within the first month."

                I like front wheel drive, with tilt, and power adjustable legs.

                Good luck,
                Last edited by forestranger52; 24 Aug 2007, 5:37 PM.
                C 5/6 Comp.
                No Tri's or hand function.

                Far better it is to try mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure. Than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.

                Teddy Roosevelt


                  There are three main pivot points in the lower body: ankles, knees, and hips. The knees, basically, push against the ankles & hips.

                  4/6/97, car accident, C5.