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Thread: Powerchair armrests too wide

  1. #1

    Powerchair armrests too wide

    I have MS so have only temporarily been in need of power chairs. I have a ten+ yr old invacare tdx sd and a three yr old permobil m300. I think I probably need to climb into one of these chairs for good. In both cases when they were ordered, I was in the throes of such horrific flares that I was definitely not on top of what was being done. Homecare OT ordered second chair because first was sized incorrectly. But I now feel like I have two chairs with too-wide armrests. Certainly the oldest chair is WAY too wide but the newer chair feels too wide too. I keep shifting from leaning to one armrest then the other. I?m not comfortable just sitting upright with both armrests. Additionally, it?s the armrests that are dragging against my doorways moreso than the actual base of the chair. For what it?s worth, I think I?m more comfortable on the cushions of the older tdx than the hard seating of the Permobil. What little dealings I?ve had with DMEs have been unbelievably unimpressive, which seems normal based on this forum. Are armrests adjustable? Replaceable? Are they typically the widest part of the chair? I?m only 140 lb woman. How do I go about fixing either of these chairs? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Sorry, This is not of any assistance.
    Don't ever accept a chair that does not meet your size/needs. I was use to old DME, if they said they would correct things then they actually did it.
    My last new chair was 8-9 years ago during change in ownership to big company with old DME still working there. Think called APT did measurements. My old chair seat was 18" width. New one 24" width. I had lost more weight at time, too. Told the seating would be corrected.
    A couple months and called with new ownership could not find my record of chair. Jump to now still chair with 24" seat width.
    A few years ago chair decided when want work instead of being stuck somewhere the DME Tech came out said need new chair.
    Doc with justification Rx and paperwork done and into DME. About time I use receive new chair 4 months or so. DME that was handling my chair never in, then on vacation and then off due to family problems. About 9-12 months was called need new paperwork from doctor.
    Naw, bought one from family that their mother passed away. Neighbor changed my out backrest to older backrest that fit me, adjusted footboard, armrests and put new batteries in it.

    My last new(old chair) at least seating functions still work correctly(knock wood)when up to transfer, I sit in it to watch TV with pillow beside me to sit up straight. I don't dare go anywhere in it.

    My doctor just did justification Rx and paperwork for new powerchair and new hospital bed mattress and Group 1 support surface. Don't know if home health handles this or need locate a DME. Anyone have experience with this?

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2010
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    Leeds, AL USA
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    On a Permobil C300, I put a narrower armrest bar (behind seat back, horizontal bar that armrests pivot on) on my old chair. This is not a "loosen a few bolts and adjust" procedure. I measured my bar, found a shorter one on Ebay (used), removed wide one, installed the shorter one. Old bar was 22" (i think), new/used bar was 19" or 20". A set of good metric allen wrenches is required. Also, seat back width, it can affect how narrow you can go. Look at how close armrests are to seat back. I needed a narrower seat back but was able to squeeze armrest on. Problem with that, armrests won't fully raise. Will install a narrower seat back soon.

    Before I did this and why, I had to take care going through doorways. Marks on doorways and armrests, was like a demo derby. Now I pass through them cleanly.

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    Last edited by Gearhead; 12-08-2019 at 01:47 AM.
    Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Sheri View Post
    I have MS so have only temporarily been in need of power chairs. I have a ten+ yr old invacare tdx sd and a three yr old permobil m300. I think I probably need to climb into one of these chairs for good. In both cases when they were ordered, I was in the throes of such horrific flares that I was definitely not on top of what was being done. Homecare OT ordered second chair because first was sized incorrectly. But I now feel like I have two chairs with too-wide armrests. Certainly the oldest chair is WAY too wide but the newer chair feels too wide too. I keep shifting from leaning to one armrest then the other. I?m not comfortable just sitting upright with both armrests. Additionally, it?s the armrests that are dragging against my doorways moreso than the actual base of the chair. For what it?s worth, I think I?m more comfortable on the cushions of the older tdx than the hard seating of the Permobil. What little dealings I?ve had with DMEs have been unbelievably unimpressive, which seems normal based on this forum. Are armrests adjustable? Replaceable? Are they typically the widest part of the chair? I?m only 140 lb woman. How do I go about fixing either of these chairs? Thanks.

    Armrest are adjustable and can be moved in...have the DME come to your house and adjust them and if needed order you some new ones..

    If the chair is to wide you could get off set hinges and give you 1 to 2" though doorways.

    https://www.hdis.com/expandable-door...BoCXqEQAvD_BwE



  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2010
    Location
    Leeds, AL USA
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    393
    I like those hinges. I have 3 doors removed now to prevent damaging them. Would like to put them back up so I can zone heat my house.
    Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway
    Steve Mcqueen (Mr Cool)

  6. #6
    Had those hinges in previous house. An inexpensive very helpful modification. In this house, unfortunately, my door going to my outside ramp is already hitting the wall in the laundry room. I’m looking at messing w load-bearing framing around the door to get some extra width. Very quick estimate from inspector when we bought house was $3000. Yikes. Tho the chair is a miserably tight fit as compared to my scooter, I’m only dragging thru the armrests and not the base. Almost want to just hack away and narrow those suckers myself!

  7. #7
    unless you have a door without any molding around it I think you mean your doorknob is hitting the wall . Maybe you could replace it with a keyed deadbolt it only protrudes into the space 1/4 of an inch compared to 2 1/2 for a standard doorknob

  8. #8
    Senior Member Phil Bishop's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
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    McMinnville, Or.
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    I took my armrest pads off and covered the metal bases with the soft part of Velcro. Not pretty, but has lasted for 7 years.
    4xquad

  9. #9
    Whoa! I’m liking Spinners suggestion about the doorknob but how do we then grab the door? It is the doorknob that’s hitting the wall. At a minimum, i was going to remove the protector thing thats screwed into the bottom woodwork and get a flat rubber stopper for where the knob hits the wall, but im certainly open to making the door even more flush. As the narrow laundry room/exit is configured, the molding around my door directly abuts the side walls of the room. One side is actually a closet so that’s why I potentially have some play but the inspector said we’d be modifying load-bearing beams.

    I ended up getting a scooter delivered and the dme dude was nice enough to narrow my armrests but adjusting the existing connection on the back of the seat. Much better tho still a tight fit. Any extra space just makes day to day function more pleasant.

    Side note, is it me or are the “rep” dmes awful, but the delivery/set up guys sweethearts? I’m noticing a trend.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Sheri View Post
    Whoa! I?m liking Spinners suggestion about the doorknob but how do we then grab the door? It is the doorknob that?s hitting the wall.
    Look at "low profile" doorknobs.

    Also, if there you are hitting the door stop part of the door jamb, you can cut that off up to a height above your armrests, leaving the remaining above that to secure the door. Here is a cross-section of a door jamb showing the location of the door stop strip:

    (KLD)
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    Last edited by SCI-Nurse; 01-05-2020 at 03:35 PM.
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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