Last reply 4 years ago
Wheelchair options… need advice…

To update: I have got clearance from work and the MS Australia to have funded a wheelchair and power assist. Personally fitted (whatever on earth that means – do they do dental records or something?).
Can’t say I am super pumped about going down this road (see related post, seems I am not alone in this boat), but it appears to be happening weather I want it to or not. Am finding it easier to work with this at the moment (long may this headspace last!)
Either way it is not a $250 escape-from-the-asylum style chair they are talking, but something high end (up to about AU$15000 all up, what ever that is in pounds, something like 8000 I think…)
So I have done some research but have a few questions about what people think / have decided with regards to options before I get this approved (since I am not paying, there is no going back…)
Hard frame or not? Seems to relate to weight versus easy to fold-ness. I need to get it out of the car by myself, either one handed (one hand on crutch/car) or whilst sitting in/on the boot of the car before hobbling around to the driving seat. What are people’s thoughts?
Power assist – apparently it can be removable, or not (fixed to the chair). Again, relates to weight / fold-easy-ness… thoughts?
Wheels – blow up or rubber? Small thing, but pumping tyres is NOT something I have the capacity for, but apparently rubber tyres are like a car with no suspension…
Handles. Have had a recent bad experience with someone who insisted on pushing me around the entire time we were on holiday together (2 weeks). Literally didn’t take her hands off the chair. I was NOT happy (and am still NOT happy, read my written tone…), but have a dilemma because at least with handles you can hang a bag off the back of the chair which is good for me (never one to travel light), but then there is the temptation there for “helpful” people to want to push me around. (because, of course, when you are in a wheel chair you really don’t care about giving up the last bit of control over your body, that being where you are in a room and which direction you are facing…). What are people’s thoughts here?
Foot pedals. Again small thing. But also big thing. I have discovered that if my feed are further back under the seat there is less chance of the chair bottoming out when going over gutters, but then I am more likely to end up being totally spastic with cramps and agony. Not sure which is the winner here (pain versus freedom of terrain?). Experiences welcome!
What else have I not considered? Would appreciate anyone’s input. Obviously I don’t want to look like an escaped inmate on gate leave from the local loony bin, but then am never likely to feel glamorous sitting down anyway…
Perhaps consider this a “If your wish list for wheelchair could include…” type discussion.
Thank you everyone for your support and replying to my last post (love the friends I have on here!), and sorry to impose on needing more advice. I am having a trial at work with MS Australia and their WheelChair provider people next Monday. They have come up with 3-4 chair / power assist combo units they think would work, but I need this to be my choice.
🙂 Jas

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4 years ago

I’m no expert, but wheelchairs should be sized for you. There’s a few key measurements, so you can sit comfortably with your legs being supported correctly.

Otherwise, are you able to try them out for a bit before you commit?

4 years ago

@jasfromtas Sorry, no personal experience here, maybe others have more to say…
The best you can do is “try before you buy”, I guess. Good luck choosing and let us know how it went! 🙂

4 years ago

@jasfromtas When I went to choose my chair they provided two basic versions, to be fair they where both Quickie which are regarded quite highly. I was simply measured. If I remember correctly it was hip width, leg length and arm length. The options I could choose where type of footplate, to have handles or not, side guard type, colour, angle of the wheels (I can’t remember the proper word for this it starts with a ‘c’ and thats all my brain is giving me) and backrest height. Then once I received the chair they adjusted it and after a bit of general use I adjusted it myself again. They give you a small tool kit to allow you to make minor changes.

As for the power assist this is just a motor that is adapted to the chair. There are a few different types you can get a mini trailer style one that you control with a remote, another is actually integrated into the wheel hub and I seen another that is an omnidirectional wheel that clips on to the back. The last two are cool that they auto start and auto stop so they simply reduce the energy you have to impart with your arms and help you up hills, ect. The first one as far as I am aware does not do that but I may be wrong.

Now as for your wheelchair the foldable can be about 50% to 100% heavier than fixed frames that don’t fold. For instance my argon2 is about 11kg but my wife can still pick it up with one hand.

As for wheels this is a personal preference. I prefer pneumatic(Inflatable) tyres to solid rubber. They give you much better suspension and are far better if having to hop off a kerb for instance. Mine came with and most use puncture resistant types over the tube, they have a kevlar mesh within them and still to this day no punctures.

On to handles I got foldable ones on mine, the flop down when not in use and click in to place when you need them. These are good is you get stuck in a little ditch and need help to get out and my wife loves pushing me around figuratively as well as literally. I don’t like people push me either but its always good to have just incase you need them so would recommend you get the foldable options if you need them.

Now about the foot plate, I assume you are getting an option of a removable or individual plates for each foot. I had this on a foldable and is a little better in terms of sitting at tables when out, you can pop your feet out and move the plates to the side but on my fixed frame I prefer my lower legs being completely vertical. If you get a solid foot late you can get a tubular version and a plated version. I had a tube one and now have a plate and the plate is better. More friction so your feet stay on it when going up and off kerbs and you can also balance drinks on the plate between your feet to get to a table. Makes you a little more independent.

I have no experience with the power assists but did look at a few of them but I would never get one of them for free unless I got even worse with my MS and I’m not willing to save about £4000 for some of the ones I prefer the concept of. I would prefer to spend that on a holiday 😛

Hopefully it gives you a little more info and if you want to get any pictures of my chairs, yes I have two now, I am more than happy to take a few snaps to give you some more detail on how things work 😉

4 years ago

No they measure your teeth. they do however need to know how heavy you are. Width of hips. Leg from hip to knee. from knee to foot. All of the above is the difference between “sitting confortably and not.
tehy aslo want to know will you self propel? do you need support on your back?
So you see there is never a “standard” wheelie.

4 years ago

@reddivines chair is a lightweight folding jobby, she should be able to tell you more. The power is a Benoit power drive

It’s basically 3 parts, battery, drive, and a anti tip rear wheel.

Consider your usesage as well. About town its fine. You can get the pressure checked/pumped up at most bike shops (as long as you know the recommended pressure) RD recently had a tire replaced, and I think the wheel had been running on the wrong pressure for a period of time.

I can honestly say you can’t lift the drive of the benoit with one hand, it needs balance to take it off the back of the chair and while not excessive, it is heavy enough.

I sometimes wish RD’s chair was more off road worthy, AND that the pavements weren’t so bloody crap. But even the powerpack has made a huge difference for us both.. The wheelchair fairy can save his poor feeble arms 🙂

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