Wheelchair recommendations


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Wheelchair recommendations

Postby daranch » Sun Aug 03, 2014 10:32 pm

My hubbie just had a mobility eval for his wheelchair. He's using his Ustep walker now but recently had a bad fall that left him unable to walk for a week and I'm being proactive about getting him his wheelchair ahead of his need for full time use. The physical therapist, who had never heard of PSP recommended a power chair. I've read every post I can find and hear that they're generally a waste of money. I could get attendant controls but nor sure the expense of adapting our SUV and hassle of loading it is worth it. So I'm looking for recommendations for his chair, probably manual. Is a tilt-in-space wheelchair comfortable and useful? I have to keep his eyes lubricated frequently. He's a big man and I don't want something flimsy or uncomfortable. Which brands of chairs are comfortable, durable and flexible enough to meet changing needs as his disease progresses? He goes on Medicare 9/1/14 and we have one chance to get the right chair.
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Re: Wheelchair recommendations

Postby Robin » Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:32 pm

I don't know too much about them but I think the tilt-in-space chairs are wonderful. They make a lot of sense for the leaning that many with PSP do.

My father had a custom-made Quickie II chair made by Sunrise Medical. We had a great gel seat cushion, and a tall back (he was a tall man). There were also some anti-tip wheels added to the back of the chair -- very handy in PSP because of how people plop into chairs.

We were lucky that our PT knew PSP. But we were also lucky that a mobility store sales person was very smart with his recommendations. They communicated such that the PT wrote a detailed letter to the neurologist saying what sort of features were needed in the wheelchair. Medicare covered all but the deductible.
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Re: Wheelchair recommendations

Postby myownwoman » Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:32 pm

I agree with Robin about the tilt-in-space wheelchairs; but I have to admit that I'm hoping this term applies to a really good chair with a high back that goes all the way down to a laying position. We had one - that had been ordered by the neurologist - for over a year before we used it; but, because of it's significant cost were very happy to have this rather than what might be considered a "first chair". The neurologist told up that this is what would eventually be needed.... and he was right.

Why the need to lay almost flat? When using a Hoyer Lift it is helpful to have the chair flat-out and then raised to a sitting position once the person is in the chair. At all other times Phil is never sitting upright and is always sitting in the wheelchair with the back tilted at about 60 degrees. Unfortunately, he'll use this chair far longer than any other.
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Re: Wheelchair recommendations

Postby gulfcoastpsp » Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:33 am

Have you considered a tilt and recline custom chair? I have a 16" custom chair ready to pass it forward
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Re: Wheelchair recommendations

Postby boxcar9 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:14 am

:?

What kind of chair is that?

We have only recently started using wheelchair due to Mom's symptoms that are more CBD than PSP.

I'm realizing that because she is "short-waisted" and generally short, there are lots more problems than people who fit the "average" category.

Examples: so, when I put a toilet riser on, then her feet aren't on the floor--no traction!

and when you add toilet rails, after she sits down, then they are too high for her to adequately push up from. Dag Nab It!

Even the wheelchair we are using (a freebie from someone's garage from someone's friend's brother, etc, etc.) has issues--the side arms are too tall for her and then when we put a nice cushion seat on it, she has trouble sitting down and getting up due to her short legs. Standard stuff just doesn't fit her.

I'm seeing quite clearly that having something that's going to be adaptable in the future is impt as the disease changes.
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Re: Wheelchair recommendations

Postby Robin » Tue Aug 12, 2014 9:38 pm

boxcar,
For the toilet problem, try a foot stool. (No pun intended.) There are wheelchairs available for small people. And wheelchairs can be custom-made for someone as well.
Robin
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Re: Wheelchair recommendations

Postby zeldadarln » Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:14 pm

According to your post, it appears that the PT performed the evaluation for the wheelchair? Is that correct? If so, get a copy of the evaluation. Each DME (Durable Medical Equipment) company has a variety of brands of wheelchairs to which they refer clients/patients (many overlap on the brands). Being the consumer, you may want to consider your choices, and have 2 or 3 different companies come and demonstrate a model with the various features, not just the company to which you are referred. Or, alternatively, go to the DME company and inquire within and tell them your requirements. This way you can review various features available.

There are different flavors of tilt and space, which may or may not include recline. With mentioning keeping his eyes lubricated, you may want to consider recline as a necessary option. Aside of tilt, you can recline him, as appropriate. In recline, they could be at a full flat level, if necessary or as required (as in bed). As well, if he's catheterized, makes changing the cath, as necessary, very easy.

With tilt and space, you have the option of different size wheels and casters ... if you mean large, as in tall, larger wheels are recommended to assist in adding height. If you mean large in girth ... tilt and space are customizable to compensate for girth and weight in the seat pan.

Tilt and space are not made collapsible, so, if it would be a necessity to transport him at times ... you may want to consider the adjustable wheel bolts, which will allow you to remove the wheels from the chair and be able to place them into the back seat, or the far back end, of your SUV, along with the chair part. Arm rests are removable, head rest removable, leg rests removable, as needed. You do not want anything that is too cumbersome to remove; one quick snap and it is off, that is what you want.

These wheelchairs are customized to the patient, with all and everything taken into consideration of the patient (size, height, weight, age, pressure points, issues of concern to family). Cushions can be as thick/thin where required. Since these are customized, I would not even consider purchasing a used one.

If, at any time, you feel your husband will need the requirement of being transported by ambulette, you may want to consider the Transport Ready Option. This is factory installed transport brackets with a wheelchair anchored pelvic belt. This has been crash tested for NASI/RESNA conformity. However, it is an extra cost, but, you need to confirm if it meets, NASI/RESNA WC Vol 1. Section 19 Frontal Impact Test, of the particular manufacturer of the wheelchair of which you are considering.

Lastly, the DME company rep will measure one last time, to ensure the integrity of the initial results, to customize a wheel chair.

My 2 cents.

Good Luck!
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Re: Wheelchair recommendations

Postby ikedarlene » Wed Aug 27, 2014 8:19 pm

I am also looking for a good wheelchair for my husband. He has been in a wheelchair for a year now, diagnosed with PSP a few months ago. When he first needed a wheelchair (overnight it seemed) I quickly ordered a Breezy Ultra 4 online. It is now becoming obvious that he needs a better chair. Which brands are the best? myownwoman on August 4, 2014 said that she hoped the tilt-in-space wheelchair was a "good chair with a high back' that reclines all the way down. One of the local medical suppliers gave me a book with tilt-in-space Quickie Iris and Quickie SR45, but I don't think that they recline all of the way down. Are other brands better, or do I get Sunrise medical to customize these chairs?? I am feeling a bit lost. None of the Home Health or Therapists seem to know anything about PSP.
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Re: Wheelchair recommendations

Postby myownwoman » Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:02 pm

Phil's chair is made by DRIVE. It will lay all the way flat or anything in between; the side arms come off; as do the leg/foot rests. They also ordered a gel pad seat for the chair. Phil was a big man and the chair was large enough for him. Also, there is a piece that fits on top that makes the back taller for tall people. It also folds flat for storage or transport. I have no idea how much the chair cost because Medicare ultimately paid for it; (they pay the rent for a year and then you own it.)

Because we go thru' Medicare we have to use the provider they authorize. Around here many types of medical equipment provided are DRIVE, which seems to be very good quality and we've had no problems with any of the things provided.
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Re: Wheelchair recommendations

Postby gulfcoastpsp » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:42 am

Yes, a physical therapist, aka PT or an occupational therapist, aka OT must measure your loved one. I always used the "long term" approach. Consider a Rho Ho type cushion for long term comfort and wound care prevention and a neck support system with horizontal adjustments. Finally it should be equipped with a seat belt.

As stated before I have tilt and recline wheelchair that I wish to donate to a family that may benefit. It retailed at $7K and has some minor wear and tear issues and want to pass it forward. I have all of the documentation for service if anyone is interested.
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Re: Wheelchair recommendations

Postby daranch » Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:50 pm

Thanks for all the great comments. I still don't know what to do but at least I'm not the only one :D I decided to make the trip to his PT at OHSU to get her recommendations. She was very encouraging about his physical condition since he's only 62 and was so strong and healthy going into PSP. (He was a logger). She suggested we get a wheelchair for the SUV out-of-pocket and wait on the costly one that will go through Medicare. Thanks to all your feedback, I at least know I want the tilt and recline feature. I didn't think about changing a catheter or lifting. Now I'm trying to decide on a lightweight chair. I don't want the tiny back wheels on the transport chair. I also don't want flimsy but don't know that more expensive means sturdier. I'm looking for a DME provider in Oregon that has a showroom where we can actually see them in person.
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Re: Wheelchair recommendations

Postby Robin » Thu Sep 11, 2014 11:19 pm

I'd suggest calling PRO (Parkinson's Resources of Oregon) to get the name of a DME place. Or a local PD support group leader.
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Re: Wheelchair recommendations

Postby zeldadarln » Sat Sep 13, 2014 3:01 pm

Here is a great link at the Medicare website to find a a Medicare DME Supplier near you. Put in your zip code, check the box named, Standard Mobility Equipment and Related Accessories, located under the Competitive Bid Categories. Scroll down towards the bottom of the page and click, Search.

http://www.medicare.gov/supplierdirectory/search.html

My recommendation is to go to 2 or 3 of them and see the different models/flavors, they are offering with tilt and recline. You also may want to have legs tilted, which is another option. Everyone wants to make a sale; however, you want to be sure the product you are purchasing will last for the requirements, not only for your husband, but, for you as well. Also, you want to have an idea, and be prepared, because medicare approval may take time ... dependent on the physician's order/prescription.

As you look at transport chairs, expensive does not mean sturdier. Aside of the transport chair, folding, look at the wheels ... are they plastic, neoprene, urethane, or pneumatic? My recommendation would be to have 12" pneumatic wheels (tires) in the rear, which is the largest size you would want on a transport chair. The front casters you would want pneumatic, or rubber, as well. The larger the wheel in the rear will help you over the bumps, curves, cracks, steps, you may encounter during transport.

A quick internet search I have sourced an aluminum transport chair, allowable up to 450 pounds capacity, with 12" pneumatic tires for $210. Sure, you see transport chairs for as low as $59 and all the way up from there; however, you need to determine the features you really require. To me, the pneumatic tires are of utmost consideration when you come across so many different environments in parking lots, sidewalks, buildings. As long as you are able to collapse it easily and get it into your SUV, other features are endless. All the local big box retailers and drug stores sell transport chairs. Just start looking at those and go from there. DME's also carry transport chairs and are competitively priced. Again, the most important feature in the transport is getting the person to and from ... the more add on features - the more you pay. However, I bet, the majority you see have plastic or neoprene/urethane wheels ... keep your eye out for pneumatic and larger tires in the rear and pneumatic or rubber casters in the front. Also, inquire about the warranty offered with the transport chair.

The larger the wheels, is easier to navigate and feel the road a lot less, than when you have smaller wheels. It is the same concept as in motorcycles and scooters (think Vespa). I ride both. :wink:

A quick search shows Home Depot has one with 300 pound capacity for $158; also, just be aware, the top manufacturers of wheelchairs are: Invacare, Drive Medical, Sunrise/Quickie and Permobil. Everyone has an opinion on brand/make (just like cars, appliances, etc.). After you review what your local DME's offer, you will have a better idea of the options you prefer, via manufacturer.

To me, an informed consumer is the best consumer!
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Re: Wheelchair recommendations

Postby daranch » Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:11 pm

Thanks for the tip about pneumatic tires. Makes a lot of sense. That's why I like this forum...we can learn from each other's experiences instead of re-inventing the wheel...sorry, bad pun lol :D
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