View Full Version : 1st Powerchair, any suggestions
07-24-2001, 10:09 AM
I'm a C6-7 about to be evaluated for my first powerchair. I could use any help you can offer.
I have looked at the Wheelchair Junkies website and liked it but I sure could use some personal insights from PWC users.
I have a kneeler van setup for WC driving, a house adapted for WC use (some places are a little tight but its been okay for my Quickie manual). I want something that will help me get back to enjoying trips outside to the park, zoo or whatever.
What brands, speed, batteries, troublefree use, are the kinds of info I need.
07-24-2001, 11:35 AM
Get a Roho, cushion, and T bar for joy stick
Hi Joe. I'd get a demo at home to check turning radius-might need a front wheel drive vs. mid or rear wheel if you have tight corners. There are pros and cons to each type of drive which the NRTS (rehab technology specialist)should explain. The person doing eval preferably should have expertise not just in pwc but also in seating. I've seen some folks messed up by improper seating (not just the cushion but the back). Best of luck to you! http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/images/smilies/cool.gif
07-24-2001, 06:48 PM
This is a big expenditure. Best to work with a therapist who can let you try a lot of different chairs before you decide. FWD has tighter turning, but can be tippier and a lot "squirelier", esp. at first. Be sure you find a chair that has ready local service and a good reputation for durability and stability. I would second the comment about being sure your chair evaluation, selection, and fitting is done with a consideration of your seating, posture and pressure ulcer prevention needs. (KLD)
07-25-2001, 03:29 AM
Thanks for all the info so far.
KLD and EYE, thanks. I am working with a PT to help with the seating. EYE, I see you are in Birmingham MI, I lived in the Ann Arbor area for 35 years before leaving for DC for work reasons. I bet its hot and humid there as usual for July.
I decided 7 years ago to go with a hard shell back for my manual, it made a world of difference in how tired I felt at the end of the workday.
Thanks for the suggestion on rear, mid, and front drive wheels. I'll see if I can get an at home test, my house is only adapted for my Quickie.
Any suggestion on brands or models?
07-25-2001, 05:43 AM
Measure everything in your house! When I switched from an Invacare Ranger X to their Storm series power chairs I had to lower my roll under bathroom vanity. You might also need to widen a doorway or two but they're options to this like those doorway openers added at the door hinges which give you 2 more inches for very little cost. And the kitchen we had designed for the Ranger X is now too high up for realistic cooking of very much. But I think I can deal with the spouse's cooking awhile longer. http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif Especially measure heights at diningroom or other tables and desks. This is why I use my manual chair for going out to dinner. Most power chairs I've seen don't pull far enough under table tops.
Definitely do not accept delivery until you have checked all your normal work and play areas with the height and width of the power chair. An in home evaluation is well worth it.
07-25-2001, 06:46 AM
We forked out 3500.00 for Charlie a power chair only to find after he got it that it is very hard to maneuver in the house due to its large size. It is a Hoveround and looks like a cadillac!!!
It sits in the corner most of the time. He only uses it when we go to races or concerts.
He decided to that he needed the exercise of pushing his Quickie around.
I suggest you shop around before buying. We didn't do this.
07-25-2001, 11:52 AM
Well I had my meeting with the PT and sales guy. He is willing to get me most any brand/type I want but recommends an Invacare storm 3000. The PT was interested in making sure I had good seating etc. The chair he brought was an older model and at first I was turned off to it because it was big and bulky looking. He had gotten a message from the rehab place to do a chair setup for a person needing lots of support and room and tilt capability. After we discussed that the chair was 2-4 inches too big in all directions and why I tried it out. The chair was responsive and speedy, the rear wheels had good suspension, the front did not. We discussed how he needed to put more weight on the back wheels and change the type of front casters to pneumatic. He had left the seat 2 inches forward because he expected a bigger guy. Also the rear drive wheels can be moved forward if needed. It was along frame and and i only need a short frame. I had trouble trying to maneuver it into the seat area of my van. But we planned to use 70 degree legs instead of 60 aand he had narrower leg supports which I tried and liked. Invacare has a personal support back cushion (trademark he he) which I tried and thought was good but didn't like the side panels as a little confining a guy at wheelchair junkie removed the side panels.
Sue and Tammy, thanks for your suggestions. he is going to drop off a model with the adjustments we discussed at my house that I can try for about a week. That should give me time to check for problems. My house is only partially adapted so I dont expect many problems. Sue maybe I'll be able to race you sometime if we ever get a chance. You have an Invacare storm 2 0r 3000?
WC Junkie likes the Invacare storm model. He bombed some others like E&J but for price and performance he seemed to say this was a good chair.
I gueess midchair drive is still considered tippy, frontwheel drive seems to be a good choice for off road and curb hopping, but I dont need that. The maneuverability might have been nice.
After I get the chair, I am scheduled to get some pressure releases done on my ulnar and anterior interosseous nerves. I need the release because its affecting my finger strength and mobility and is causing "more" pain than I already have.
Thanks to the others who contributed. I still need some suggestions on the size and type of the front wheels.
07-25-2001, 09:35 PM
I don't know, Joe. It's an Invacare Action Storm Series with the MKIV A joystick/speed controller (Mark 4A). It has 4 programmable speeds to include 2 I have torqued for icey or steep drive ways. My dog was the one who ruled out the Quickies. Her opinion was they were too noisy. So far the only problems I've had since 97 when I got it was complete replacement of both gel batteries within 4 months when the chair wouldn't hold a charge. Turned out one was defective and leaking. No charge to me or insurance. And now, when Jay has to manually push it, it is getting tough. Dog hair likes to wrap around the front caster axles so when I have the guy out to see what they have in manuals I'll have him clean off the axles again. Yep, I just got my script for a new manual because mine was never measured right and I need the back support and seat depth now I never had before. http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif
07-28-2001, 11:07 PM
I almost forgot, Joe. If you are used to doing push ups as pressure reliefs you'll need to sample different armrest mounts. The average are these huge wraps arounds and I cannot get my hands around them to push up. I use the narrow 9 inch or so long oval ones made of naugahide (from naugas). :-)
Yea..this Fall we can run races down near the Lake in Columbia. Then it's sushi, Argentine steak house, Clydes, Copelands or the Tomato Palace. The steak place is terrific put you'll have to sober up to drive home or share the futon with Regina.. :-)