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Thread: Input on a power chair or power assist

  1. #1
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    Input on a power chair or power assist

    I'm posting this on the behalf of an old friend, who has given me permission to post about his situation. My apologies in advance for all of the links, but this was mostly a copy/paste from previous discussions.

    In summary, we are looking for input about power chairs and power assists. My friend is primarily interested in information about power chairs, especially Quantum's, but I also think it would be good to hear about others and also power assists in case he decides not to go with a Qauntum. At the bottom I have listed questions we are looking for input on, but I think it first helps to give some information.

    He suffered a fall and had his spine fused between C6/C7 in 2012. The exact spinal cord injury level or ASIA classification is unknown, due to previous spinal cord injuries. As I understand, he has mostly full upper body control and full use of his arms/hands, aside from recent major rotator cuff problems. It sounds to me like he functions around T1 - T4.

    He is in his early 60's and fairly fit overall. He lives on his own in an apartment (standard counter tops and doorways) which he can not easily modify. He has assistance a few mornings a week. He is able to do his own transfers and was in the process of being able to stand assisted before he started to have shoulder problems. He does not currently drive, but may want to at some time in the future, or at minimum be able to transport his chair.

    I'm not sure of the details, but he said that he did not want to or it was not possible to have surgery to repair his shoulders. His physiatrists, orthopaedist, PT and DME seem to really be pushing him towards a power chair. He recently started to rent one, which he has had for 2 weeks, but is starting the process to buy one now, which is what our recent contact was about.

    He is covered by Medicare and is in the Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington,TX area managed by CGS Administrators. I think he will qualify for a Group 3 complex rehab power chair, which do not require competitive bidding. I don't think he has a lot of choices with local DMEs. He does not have a big local support network, so having someone local is really important.

    He had already started the process with a local DME, and it looks like they will be pitching what I "think" will be the the Pride Mobility Quantum Q6 Edge or Quantum 6000Z, because they are their only Group 3 complex rehab power chairs. Overall, it sounds like the DME is being quite good and that he has a good team also with his PT and doctors. I am however concerned that the DME seems to have told him that something like a Permobil was not possible.

    I've also suggested that he look into other power chair manufacturers, i.e., Permobil and Ottobock Healthcare. I have kind of steered him away from Invacare because of their current legal issues. I also suggested that he may still want to consider an ultralight chair, e.g. TiLite AeroZ or Icon A1 with some sort of a power assist, e.g. SmartDrive (MAX Mobility), ZX-1 (Spinergy) or Alber e-Motion (Frank Mobility Systems in the US).

    Questions if anyone can give input on
    1. Input about Quantum Q6 Edge versus the Quantum 6000Z. I can't find an overview of all of the differences. I "think" the Q6 Edge is newer and has a newer version of the TRU-Balance 3 Tilt & Recline with Lift and has more options in general, along with more colors. I "think" the 6000Z has more options for suspension and is faster. They are both about the same price.
    2. Input about an ultralight, e.g., TiLite AeroZ or Icon A1 with power assist, e.g. SmartDrive (MAX Mobility), ZX-1 (Spinergy) or Alber e-Motion (Frank Mobility Systems in the US)
    3. Any experience with the Advance Determination of Medicare Coverage (ADMC) and whether it is necessary or if it will just delay things.
    4. Input about how the system works with Medicare, especially the pitfalls, and why it is good to be prepared.
    Last edited by elarson; 06-28-2014 at 10:22 AM. Reason: character conversion issues, some edits
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  2. #2
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    I'm hoping my friend is reading this post. For an alternative mid-wheel drive chair by Permobil, the M300 and M400 look very good. I know I heard that some people had problems getting the M400 covered by Medicare, but maybe others can comment on that.

    [Edit about the M400 not being covered by Medicare:
    I just went to look the HCPCS code and the M400 is K0884 Power wheelchair group 4: Group 4 PWCs (K0868-K0886) have added capabilities that are not needed for use in the home. Therefore, if these wheelchairs are provided they will be denied as not reasonable and necessary.]
    Last edited by elarson; 06-28-2014 at 01:04 PM.
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  3. #3
    Senior Member darty's Avatar
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    My shoulders are shot (not meant to do your legs work) from years of being a hard ass and pushing. My power chair works well.
    ^^(A)^^

  4. #4
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    We have also had some replies from my original post about Permobil is not licensed in Texas that I think are well worth considering. Someone also kindly gave us the name of a supplier in Texas. I have also been in contact with Permobil for recommendations for suppliers.

    I really hope my friend considers looking into a few different options. I totally get it that it takes a lot of work and energy to do that, but I think it's one of those "pay in advance" for some homework or "pay everyday" for not being able to do the things you need or want to do.

    I've been looking into the Permobil M300 more and think it might be a good option for him with needing something that is maneouverable in small spaces with a mid-wheel drive, yet rugged enough to be used outdoors well. Most of the specs meet or exceed the Quantam chairs. I know personally that their level of design and manufacturing is of a very high quality, and think it is still so, despite their recent changes to meet the US market needs for Medicare.

    Can anyone give other brands/models that we should be looking at for mid-wheel drives?
    Last edited by elarson; 06-28-2014 at 10:09 PM.
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  5. #5
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    I would still like for my friend to hear input about something like the SmartDrive with an ultralight manual. I think his communication setup is better on the internet than for e-mails like I have been sending him, so that is why I am posting it here.

    So that he can read a bit about it, here is a good link on the forum about the SmartDrive Power Assist Device from MAX Mobility.

    I think that probably his biggest issue with an ultralight with a power assist is that he can not do tilt/recline for pressure relief and cathing and he can not raise the elevation to deal with his high counter tops and his washer/dryer. Because he may want to move soon, doing extensive modifications is not really a practical option.
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  6. #6
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    I just learned yesterday that the VA SCI unit in West Roxbury (Boston) Is recommending them for veterans. I feel that is a pretty good indicator that they are a viable choice. I got M-15 E-Motions about 2 years ago, so I doubt that I will be eligible - though, I am pretty happy with the E-motions...
    Don - Grad Student Emeritus
    T3 ASIA A 26 years post injury

  7. #7
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    I think that is definitely a good indicator that the SmartDrive is a viable choice. I hope you can get one eventually, even though M-15 E-Motions are also nice, albeit heavy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donno View Post
    I just learned yesterday that the VA SCI unit in West Roxbury (Boston) Is recommending them for veterans. I feel that is a pretty good indicator that they are a viable choice. I got M-15 E-Motions about 2 years ago, so I doubt that I will be eligible - though, I am pretty happy with the E-motions...
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  8. #8
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    DME dealers, like most folks here learn, push the power wheelchairs that make them the most money.
    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

  9. #9
    When I got my Invacare TDX-SP through Medicare, I had a $3200 co-pay. I found a brand new Q6 Quantum with my seating size with tilt-in-space, fully recline and power leg lifts with shipping was $3000. I would recommend either of the chairs to anyone.

    Good luck to your friend.
    Millard
    ''Life's tough... it's even tougher if you're stupid!'' -- John Wayne


  10. #10
    I see this thread is a few months old now, but just saw it and thought I'd chime in.

    I recently received a SmartDrive from W.Roxbury earlier this year. I have a TiLite manual chair and the SmartDrive has been great addition. Mostly use it if I know I'm going to be out 'pushing' for a long time or long distances. I worked with PT Lynn Burns and Richard Dove from (www.rehabmarketing.com) to setup a demo and eval. Afterwards, Lynn got it approved through Prosthetics and I had it delivered to my house about 4 weeks later. Melissa from Rehab Marketing visited me at home to set it up and go through some simple training with it.

    Be glad to answer any questions anybody might have.
    "Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them."

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