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Thread: Need Help with Replacing Very Old Chair

  1. #1

    Question Need Help with Replacing Very Old Chair

    I moved from NY to FL and have not had any luck finding a ?wheelchair guy? in my area. In NY I would just go to my guy when it was time for a new chair and he would take my measurements and set up the chair for me etc. (I?m a T-12 para, 35 years post SCI). I never had to learn how to order a chair or take measurements, etc. I don?t even know the right terminology for the various parts.

    I?m now in a jam b/c I?ve been using an old Invacare Action Pro-T as my shower chair and the front casters are rusted to the frame and I can hear (and feel) the bearings grinding inside. I need to replace it in a hurry and want to just pay outright to speed up the process. When I went online to try to order a replacement chair I quickly learned that I?m in way over my head. They don?t even make an Action Pro-T anymore and I am clueless as to what angle, height, camber, etc. I need.

    Does anyone have any experience ordering a chair online? If so, how complicated is the process and is it something that a novice can be led through or are there just too many variables? Also, is there any particular website or provider that people think offer good customer support for ordering a new chair? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this long post.

  2. #2
    You might want to check Youtube search for: how to measure for a wheelchair. I just went there to see if that might help you and there's lots of videos that might help you become familiar with the areas to measure.
    In addition, folks here can tell you some of the pitfalls in dealing with new vendors, especially those who tell you what you want. It's really critical for you to be familiar with the parts of a chair as you will probably rely on them to help with your order.
    I'm a senior and struggling with showering and have considered another wheelchair I have instead of my shower chair. I can use my power bed to transfer to the wheelchair.
    Also, some of the CC members live in Florida and may be able to suggest vendors who are good to work with. Also, if you are seeking Medicare coverage there's a process that involves a Physical Therapy wheelchair evaluation and your doctor. It helps to have a good rapport with your doctor.

    P.S. Medicare does not cover "shower chairs" so be forewarned about using a term like that with the vendor. If you want a "wheelchair" to use in the shower, are you thinking of using the new one everyday and your used one for showering?

  3. #3
    Thanks for your quick reply Triumph. Great advice. Yes, I am planning on using my new chair as my everyday chair, and what was my everyday chair as my shower chair. I?ve always used my old chairs as shower chairs, as I never found a traditional shower chair that worked for me.
    I?m not planning on going through Medicare as I can tell from the feel and sound of it that the caster is about ready to go, so I?m in a bit of a time crunch. If any of the CC members in FL know of any good vendors that would be awesome. Thanks again for your post Triumph. This is such a great forum for SCI users. I always find the answers I need here.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    upstate NY in summer, Ft Myers in winter
    If you are in the Fort Myers area, The DME Shoppe 4300 Ford St, Fort Myers, FL 33916 is really good.

  5. #5
    Thanks Micah_d! I?ll check them out. I truly appreciate the replies.

  6. #6

    Regarding "In NY I would just go to my guy when it was time for a new chair ..." - if your present chair fits you well, a good starting place for new chair specifications would be those of your present chair which could be obtained; either via reference to the present chair's serial number, or by obtaining the specifications directly from your NY guy if he can be contacted.

  7. #7
    Where are you in FL. I'm in Orlando area and know people all over that could refer you to a DME. There is even Eagle in Tampa that builds chairs.

  8. #8
    I?m on the West coast, halfway between Tampa and Fort Myers. The local DME?s I have tried are very nice but seem more geared towards 90 year olds with a broken hip... I have had trouble finding anyone with experience ordering a custom fit lightweight chair. Thanks again for all the great replies!

  9. #9
    Many good tips above.
    If you have a particular brand in mind, or even if you don't, you might call those manufacturers, most will be happy to tell you who are the larger (more experienced) providers in your area. If you get the same names from multiple manufacturers, that's even better.
    Another good place to find out about local providers would be any nearby rehab facilities. Drop by the PT dept, and ask.
    If your current chair fits and works well, any of the online providers, Spinlife, DME Hub, Care Medical Source, Sportaid, etc., can run the serial number of your current chair, with Invacare and get you a chair, virtually identical, as well.
    I'd also 2nd, DME in Ft. Myers, mentioned above, has a good reputation, as well.
    Good luck.

  10. #10
    Here's Top Ends web site. They are up near Tampa. Call and go up to the factory. They'll help you.

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