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Thread: Wheelchair advice

  1. #1

    Wheelchair advice

    Hello.

    I'm new to the forum and am looking for some guidance with wheelchairs.
    I have MS, and have no use of my legs and have leg contractures. I use my arms to transfer and have minimal core balance and overall weakness often.

    Because I can still use my arms I want to stick with a manual chair as long as possible and have been using an old Drive chair that was given to me years ago and am way overdue get the right chair.

    i rely heavily on the arm rests for balance and leverage, overall sturdiness for the hard/push backs during transfers, do not have the leg rests on as I need the clearance to transfer and I have a very old slick surface seat cushion because it allows me to slide on and off the chair at the low height I can clear (most of the time).

    I did get a KiMobility catalyst chair through a seating clinic 5+ years ago, but only use it minimally just outside the house when my husband lifts me on, as many features do not work for me for transfers. It is comfortable but for example the seat back is remove able and the wheels are pneumonic that adds maintenance.

    i recently went to another seating clinic to hopefully get the right chair, and want to ensure I get a chair I can use. My first choice is a TiLite, but open to others. Looking at the order forms and website I'm not clear of all the components and although the value of the seating clinic feedback is good, I am a little skeptical they work with specific manufacturers some, so I want to be active with getting the right one for me this time.

    Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Get a electric wheelchair......save your arms...you need them for much more important things than pushing a manual chair.
    Art

  3. #3
    MSer here too, I would say no to power if you really don't want yet, (FYI once you go power insurance won't cover anything else, but it's hard to get things covered anyway too) I have a tilite ZRA and was using Emotion power assist, too stubborn to go to power chair, and believe use it or lose it, also for distance such as going for a bike ride with the kids, the fair etc. I use a Firefly. I am trying to see if Smartdrive works for me but so far I think the Emotions are better, I have only had it for a couple days so only time will tell. Drawback of the Emotions is they are heavy and hard for me to switch out when use the firefly, but if you have someone who can help then it's a quick switch. As far as the chair itself I got armrests with transfer bars but haven't really found the transfer bars helpful

  4. #4
    Thanks so much for your feedback.

    Agree about saving my arms but I currently don't propel far, very small area I am in at home.

    i am also looking into the power options with Emotion wheels and told they each weigh 20lbs vs 10lbs for the SmartDrive.
    They are scheduling so I can try it out first. Not sure insurance will cover though.

    Transfer bar arm rests! Hoping this may help, are they not helpful due to the placement or width? Thanks again!

  5. #5
    Welcome to CCC, Bluesnow
    Chas
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

    "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."
    <
    UNKNOWN AUTHOR>

  6. #6
    Bluesnow When I go to transfer the height of the arm rest is too high and can't get over it, worse when highly fatigued, even if I try to scoot up in the seat of the chair they get in the way, taking one off on your transfer side and using the other to push off of works pretty well though, I may just not know how to use them right either

  7. #7
    Bluesnow yes insurance is difficult to get to cover most power assist, the parts I like about Emotion are help with braking downhill, and help in reverse, so far noticed smartdrive, does not help with reverse and it actually feels as though it resists me even going that way, such as when trying to turn in reverse, or back away from counter etc. I am still in the learning process of it though so only time will tell, if I stick with smartdrive was then going to add ADI brakes to help with the downhill stuff, as need everyday since exit from home is downhill. Also another aspect I like about not doing the power chair is the portability of my set up, it can fit in any car

  8. #8
    Thanks much teacher2sped, very helpful info.
    Do the ADI brakes provide safer stability fot transfers as well as downhill braking?

    Hope the arm rest transfer bars do help you with time.

    Thanks Chas! And for this great tip!

  9. #9
    I don't have them yet but from what I have read yes, since their braking is not dependent on tire size and pressure, as the standard locking stuff is on a chair, not even sure why they call those things brakes, and frankly they really don't lock very well either. My understanding is the ADI brakes work very much like a bicycle brake.

  10. #10
    Well today the seating clinic rep came to our house to try out the SmartDrive. Although it was great, I found I didn't have the arm strength to get it started on any small incline. Tried it out on the street in front of our house, and on the flat parts it was good.

    The conclusion we came to is when want to go the power route (I don't go out much and always with my husband now) the Emotion wheels although heavy are likely a better option for me as the rep said you don't need alot of arm strength.

    For the wheelchair he is suggesting the Quickie GP swing away, he said the Tilite does not have swing away.
    i sat in a Tilite Aero T for the SmartDrive demo, and although it was too wide it felt very comfortable, I think from the 18 inch vs 16 (my current) chair depth.

    i also tried out a powerchair and don't feel ready for yet, plus it won't fit in my bathroom.

    Does anyone have input on the Quickie GP swing way?

    The rep also suggested to retrofit my existing Catalyst chair is an option to consider.

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