Attendant Power Assist! The Viamobile

Hello Everyone! Happy Wednesday! Can you believe August is coming to an end? My, my this summer has gone by quickly! I have a few exciting announcements to make. Access Community Therapists Ltd has two upcoming courses: The Pressure is On: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Pressure Management in the Community on November 7th and 8th and Wheelchair Seating & Positioning: Practical Applications on November 28th and 29th. To register, please visit the Access website and fill out the registration form. Both courses are highly interactive and offer hands on experience with clients. Check out some photos of the seating course here! Hope to see you there!

Now, onto some new rehab stuff! I just set-up an attendant power assist on a manual tilt-in-space wheelchair called the VIAMOBILE (by invacare). There actually isn’t much information online about this product, which was surprising to me. The system is comprised of a remote handle that turns the system on and off and powers the motor to either roll forwards or backwards. When the system is turned on, the centre wheel drops onto the ground. This offloads the rear wheels, which can tilt the system a bit forwards. Luckily we were working with a tilt-in-space wheelchair. That way, the client can be tilted slightly when the system is on.  Here are some photos of the system:

Invacare has just revised this product and it is now super easy to remove and set-up. I love that it can be so easily removed. My client who needed it, manually-self propels indoors, but lives in a very hilly neighborhood and his caregivers were having a lot of trouble getting him around the community. Because he manually self-propels, we needed to keep the wheelchair light. By removing the motor of the viamobile when indoors allowed us to do that. The viamobile was set up on a Quickie Iris manual tilt wheelchair. See some images below.

This system is by no means cheap. Many funding agencies such as Ministry will not fund this system. You may have to look for private funds for a system like this, which is definitely a downside. On a brighter note, an attendant power assist can be extremely useful to prevent caregiver injuries as well as to enable your clients to get out more often in the community. Definitely worth while, if you can find funding. This system was set-up by Jody Mair and Nathan Buskell at Motion Specialties. Thanks to you both for setting this up! Until next time!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

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Seating Innovation! Carbon Fiber Custom Backrest and Custom Power Wheelchair Switch

Happy Thursday Everyone! Today I wanted to share some new seating products with you. Ability Health Care has begun fabrication of custom molded carbon fiber backrests. These backrests are super lightweight and have been based off of their custom plastic backrests that have worked very well for many clients. These backrests are ideal for manual wheelchair users who require a lightweight back support. The shape of the backrest is taken by plaster casting a client’s back and forming the backrest off of that cast. The only downside of this backrest is that poor Chad Kania, the seating technician at Ability Health Care has been taking the carbon fiber particles with him home. Apparently they can be quite itchy! =)

Another seating innovation I would like to share with you is a video by Wahbi Ghanbur from Advanced Mobility. He has made a flexible switch that is super sensitive to touch and can be mounted below the joystick handle on a power wheelchair…or likely anywhere else. In this video, the switch has been programmed to change the modes on the system. Check this out!

If you are interested in any of these great products please contact Ability Health Care for the backrest and Advanced Mobility for the switch directly! Thanks for checking in today!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

Tilite TR Series 3 Manual Rigid Wheelchair

Hello Everyone! TGIF! Today, I would like to share with you the Tilite TR Series 3 manual rigid wheelchair. This is a popular model by Tilite and it’s also a custom ordered frame! By custom, I mean that this wheelchair has a specified fixed dump. Having a fixed dump helps to reduce the weight of the base significantly and is highly recommended for client’s who are absolutely sure of how much seat dump works for them functionally. Reducing the weight and amount of “play” in the base is also important for maintaining shoulder health as well as for efficiency when self-propelling. The one in my pictures is a carbon fiber base, which makes this base even lighter! It is by no means a cheap base, but a great choice if funds are available. On this base we set up an ADI carbon fiber backrest and a Ride Designs custom cushion. The 3rd image is the Ride capture. We also set up Frog Legs suspension forks, which can really help to absorb shock from the terrain. This can really benefit a client who experiences a lot of tone.

The ADI backrest is a nice option as it is super lightweight and has a nice contour. It’s such a shame to spec a really nice lightweight wheelchair frame, then stick a heavy backrest on it with heavy mounting hardware. I try to remember to consider some of these lightweight options when ordering a wheelchair base like this one. The Ride cushion is also a super lightweight cushion that offloads the client’s boney prominences. This is a great cushion for client’s at high risk for skin breakdown due to impaired sensation. Again, this is another expensive product but necessary for many to maintain skin integrity. In addition to this benefit, this cushion also supports the pelvis very well. Many of my clients have said that this cushion has helped to improve their postural alignment and has reduced nerve pain and discomfort. Many also report improved proximal stability and functional performance such as ability to transfer. Keep in mind that this a custom cushion that needs to be done by a “Ride Certified” technician and/or therapist. Also, keep in mind that this cushion can be highly customized. For example, for clients who need to manually transfer, the front end can be specified to be lower/flatter so that the well is not as deep. This makes moving forwards on the seat easier. Keep in mind that you might also lose a bit of well depth that way, so it is important to do these specifications with an experienced vendor. Ed Bell, from Advanced Mobility helped me with this system. Also, I wanted to share with you a custom sip and puff system that was built by Wahbi Ghanbur at Advanced Mobility. This sip and puff control has been modified to allow for control of 4 additional devices including the power base. This system will work with RNET electronics. Advanced Mobility only has a few of these available as they were custom built as a sort of in house project. They are looking for a good home. Please contact a sales representative at Advanced Mobility if you are interested in this system.

Thanks for checking in today! I will leave you with a photo…mind you, a bit of a blurry photo of me with Tom Hetzel and Joe Bieganek from Ride Designs. This photo was taken at the ISS this year. A fun pairwith a great product! Hope you don’t mind me sharing this! Until next time!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl