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  1. #1
    Member Califanna's Avatar
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    Ordered First Power Wheelchair - Many Questions

    For those of you who have a power wheelchair, I have these questions:
    1. If you have the recline option, how often do you use it? I wanted it but the therapist ordered a manual recline option and I am questioning her reasoning that I will never use it.
    2. Does your cushion go right up against your calf or do you have some space between the end of the cushion and under your knee? I was used to having at least 2-3 inches between the cushion and the underside of my knee. The therapist is making it so my cushion goes right up against the back of the knee to the point where my leg sits out a bit.
    3. Do you have flat free or pneumatic tires?
    4. For those of you who do your own transfers: Do you put weight on your footplates or do you try and raise them before transferring? The ones ordered are individual, but are hard to lift.


    I have moved to a power wheelchair because of shoulder issues. This power stuff is very confusing and the DME provider is not very helpful. But after I saw the order sheet (18 pages in all), I now realize that mistakes are easy to make when selecting options.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kulea's Avatar
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    1. n/a
    2. There's space, but I slouch all the time.
    3. Flat free. I don't think there's a huge difference in the ride comfort, and you don't have to worry about rolling resistance. Just deal with one flat, and you won't want that hassle ever again. Plus, the tires now all come with the inserts in them and the wheels usually split, so my DME prefers installing them over pneumatic.
    4. When transferring onto chair, I usually put my close foot on the footrest. This helps get my thigh up and over the cushion when I do the lift (no transfer board). Also, I have found my foot doesn't slide when it is on the footrest. The far foot, will usually be on the floor, since having both feet on the footrest can cause my knees to spread when I'm transferring. I'll put the far foot on the footrest if it is having problems sliding. When transferring off the chair, I just leave both feet on the footrests. Oh, and I never flip up my footrests during any transfers.
    C-6/7 incomplete

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Califanna View Post
    For those of you who have a power wheelchair, I have these questions:ill
    1. If you have the recline option, how often do you use it? I wanted it but the therapist ordered a manual recline option and I am questioning her reasoning that I will never use it. The recline feature is good for opening up and re-positioning your hips. Will you be able to operate the manual recline option independently without adding more injury to your shoulders? To me, that is the key question. If there is any chance that you would have difficulty, then you need the power anti-shear recline. As it often goes, you never know how much you will use a feature until you have experienced it.
    2. Does your cushion go right up against your calf or do you have some space between the end of the cushion and under your knee? I was used to having at least 2-3 inches between the cushion and the underside of my knee. The therapist is making it so my cushion goes right up against the back of the knee to the point where my leg sits out a bit. Your seat pan should be at least 2 inches (3-4 fingers with your hand horizontal) from your calf. Your cushion should be at least 1-2 inches from you calf. The cushion should cover the entire length of the seat pan. The cushion/seat pan should never touch the calf.
    3. Do you have flat free or pneumatic tires? Flat free. Pneumatic will give you a softer more comfortable ride, but you don't run the risk of a flat. No auto club to call if you have a flat. ;-)
    4. For those of you who do your own transfers: Do you put weight on your footplates or do you try and raise them before transferring? The ones ordered are individual, but are hard to lift. I don't do my own transfers. I'm quite tall. When I am transferred, my feet are on the floor, not the footrest.


    I have moved to a power wheelchair because of shoulder issues. This power stuff is very confusing and the DME provider is not very helpful. But after I saw the order sheet (18 pages in all), I now realize that mistakes are easy to make when selecting options.

    Any help would be appreciated.
    Answers to questions, highlighted in blue, within the quote.

    Answers, highlighted in blue,
    inside the quoted comment

    What manufacturer/model chair has been specified? What kind of cushion? What kind of back? Private pay, private insurnce, Medicare, Medicaid?

    All the best,
    GJ
    Last edited by gjnl; 11-08-2016 at 08:21 PM.

  4. #4
    3. I have flat free tires. Makes it much easier to work with than the standard pneumatic air-filled ones because I won't have to hurt myself having to get down on the floor.
    4. I have a flip-up center mount footboard, so I just flip it up out of the way when I transfer from my power chair. On my first power chair, my old one that I replaced last month with the one I have now. It had the swing-away footrests which got in the way of transfers sometimes.
    Samantha

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by 50surgeries2012 View Post
    3. I have flat free tires. Makes it much easier to work with than the standard pneumatic air-filled ones because I won't have to hurt myself having to get down on the floor.
    4. I have a flip-up center mount footboard, so I just flip it up out of the way when I transfer from my power chair. On my first power chair, my old one that I replaced last month with the one I have now. It had the swing-away footrests which got in the way of transfers sometimes.
    A one or two piece footrest that flips up on a central post is much easier to work with and swing away footrests.

    Some two piece footrest on a central post can be pegged together to allow for a single motion to lift them out of the way. Ask your durable medical equipment supplier.

    All the best,
    GJ

  6. #6
    Member Califanna's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for the input so far.

    The WC was delivered and it was ordered too large for me and they forgot to order some power features. They said I could keep the base and they would just order a new top but that it would take several weeks. I opted for them to just return the wc and reorder with all the features and size that was supposed to be on the spec sheet initially.

    Over the years, I was wondering how many of you are constantly having problems with your DME orders? It seems like the people who measure you versus what is ordered is always messed up. It is a real nuisance.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Califanna View Post
    I opted for them to just return the wc and reorder with all the features and size that was supposed to be on the spec sheet initially.

    Over the years, I was wondering how many of you are constantly having problems with your DME orders? It seems like the people who measure you versus what is ordered is always messed up. It is a real nuisance.
    I think you absolutely made the right choice to send the entire chair back and have them do it over again. There is never time to do it right, but there is always time to do it over!!!

    I am going through the specifying stage of ordering a power chair, right now. I've asked my doctor not to sign anything he gets from the DME supplier until I review it. I've told the DME supplier that I want to see every scrap of paper work that he generates in this spec/order process. In his first attempt to specify the chair, there were at least a dozen errors of significance and/or different from what we discussed in our meeting. I annotated the form and sent it back to him. We talked on the phone for two hours, going over the corrections. Now I'm waiting to see what kind of a product I get back.

    Since my funding for the chair comes from Medicare, I had to have an occupational or physical therapist do a wheelchair evaluation, which produces an evaluation report and a chair/accessories report. I requested a copy of both. The therapists evaluation had so many errors that is was unbelievable. On one page I was 70 and on another page I was 77, I'm 71. Chronic pulmonary lung infections along with the corresponding ICD-10 were included as my primary diagnosis. I've never had any lung issues, what so ever. I'm C6/7 complete quadriplegic. The therapist used the ICD-10 code for incomplete.

    DME suppliers that are Medicare contracted (similar problem with private pay insurance, you usually have to use an insurance company approved vendor) are few and far between. If you are unsatisfied with one, you can't go down the street to another one.

    When you are ordering chairs, you have to be willing to do your homework and be at least a dozen pages in the manual ahead of the therapist and supplier.

    All the best,
    GJ
    Last edited by gjnl; 11-12-2016 at 03:21 PM.

  8. #8
    Member Califanna's Avatar
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    Great advice from everyone. I did return the wc and you were so right about the paperwork being wrong. The paperwork did not include a lot of what was ordered versus what was delivered. I am definitely following the suggestions by GJ regarding the paperwork for my next order.

    Thank you all so much.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Califanna View Post
    Thank you so much for the input so far.

    The WC was delivered and it was ordered too large for me and they forgot to order some power features. They said I could keep the base and they would just order a new top but that it would take several weeks. I opted for them to just return the wc and reorder with all the features and size that was supposed to be on the spec sheet initially.

    Over the years, I was wondering how many of you are constantly having problems with your DME orders? It seems like the people who measure you versus what is ordered is always messed up. It is a real nuisance.
    The dealer I go through is notorious for screwing up on orders, for their clients. They've done it with me a couple times. To which I got tough on them until they got it right. However in recent months I think they are trying to improve from what I've seen. I was worried that they were going to mess up on my power chair order. But, they didn't. My power chair was ordered with a 22" seat length. But, my seating specialist was able to bring the back canes in to the 18" mark on the day he delivered my new power chair, so that it could work for me.

    My new power chair is a month old now, and still working good for me.
    Samantha

  10. #10
    I have used a PWC since the 80's and have seen many innovations and many gimmicks. What chair did you order? As far as footrests and transfers, there are swing away footrests as well as flip up center mounted foot plates. Many power options are available today. Even center mount footplates with powered flip up/down as well as foot plates that will lower to the ground for weight bearing during transfers. Tilt and recline are widely used today and even anterior tilt to assist with weight bearing transfers.

    The options are vast and it comes down to your diagnosis, needs, funding and your medical teams ability to write a truly convincing letter of medical necessity.

    You may benefit from a visit to a qualified seating clinic in your area that addresses you current and future needs.

    I find that many of the vendors push the brand they get most compensated for whether it is in direct commision or volume pricing down the road. Beware of lots of shiny plastic and catchy buzzwords. There is an old phrase "it's a little bit cheesey but it's nicely displayed.

    When you take the mobile functionality away from any mobility device you are left stranded with a pretty doorstop.

    I was told by a local dme when I asked about a brand that is in the trend, his response was that they are fast with parts. He said he would not put me in one as he would not want me in the situation of needing parts often. That was enough said for me.

    If you would like specifics feel free to pm me.

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