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Thread: Transfers and wheelchair arms?

  1. #1

    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.

  2. #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.
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  3. #3
    I use mine, but what type of wheelchair arms do you have? the swingaway ones or the t-post ones?

  4. #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.

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

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  6. #6
    Senior Member rdf's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Someplace between Nowhere and Goodbye
    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. #7
    Senior Member cbdives's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    Cocoa Beach, FL
    I don't use arm rests on my wheel chair...Transfers are so much easier without the armrests in the way.


  8. #8
    Senior Member ~Lin's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
    Indianapolis, IN
    Quote 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?
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  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    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 26 years post injury

  10. #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:

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