New products from Invacare, Power Wheelchair Programming Language and Nylatron Front Rigging

Happy Wednesday Everyone,

I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful weather this week. On May 6th and June 23rd, Invacare provided some super valuable inservices to the Access Team and local sales reps. Not only did we get an in depth overview of their new products, but also had a chance to learn more about programming. Power wheelchair programming jargon can be a bit confusing, to me anyways, so it was great having the opportunity to clarify what some of the language really means. A huge thank you to Jason Hrynyk for the inservice at Access and the invitation to the education day. Also, thank you to Cher Smith, OT who gave a great review of wheelchair and seating principles and programming tips at education day.

Jason brought us the Libra cushion and PSVF (posture seat visco foam) cushion for us to pressure map at the office. We used the X sensor pressure mapping system at this inservice to assess the cushions. The PSVF cushion is a really nice comfort cushion is mapped quite well as it provided good pressure redistribution as the foam allows you to submerge into it to achieve full contact with the buttocks and proximal femurs.

The Libra cushion is Invacare’s new cushion that has been designed to address skin breakdown. This is a nice stable cushion and is also quite light weight even with the gel pack at the back. From a pressure mapping perspective, when leaning side to side, peak pressures did appear, however, we do know that skin breakdown does not just occur from pressure alone. Invacare reports that this cushion has helped some clients heal their wounds. My guess is that this cushion provides a stable sitting surface and the gel at the back may be most suitable for clients who are at risk for developing wounds from either friction or shear. Just as a reminder:

Friction: Is repeating rubbing on a surface. This causes damage to the surface of the skin only

Shear: when unaligned forces push the body in one direction while another force pushes the body tissues in an opposing direction. This results in damage below the skin first.

Here is a video by KCI that describes these two concepts very well! Click here. These concepts are described in the first 2 minutes of this video.

If you get a chance to trial either of these cushions, we would love to hear your experiences!

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Jason also brought us the e-motion wheels to trial. These are nice power assist wheels that are activated through the push rim. See this brochure for more information.

At the education day, Cher Smith and representatives from Invacare and ASL reviewed some very useful terms. Here are some programming definitions that will hopefully help when you need to adjust power wheelchair driving programming for your clients:

Joystick Programming Language:

Movement of the joystick:

  • Deadband=The space in which the joystick can move before actually moving the wheelchair. (If the deadband is large then the client will need to move the joystick further away from centre to activate the driving of the wheelchair. If the deadband is short, then less movement away fron centre is required to start moving the wheelchair)
  • Throw= How much the joystick movement is required to move the wheelchair to full speed. This can be adjusted to allow clients to reach full speed without pushing the joystick to the end of its range. Similarly, it can be adjusted so that a client needs to push the joystick to the end to reach full speed.

Force of Movement:

  • Deflection= the amount of force required to move the joystick

Power Wheelchair Programming Language:

  • Power: The amount of power a wheelchair has. This cannot be changed with programming.
  • Torque: Can be better described as “acceleration”. Torque is essentially the amount of power required to accelerate. Acceleration can be adjusted with changes to the electronics to the maximum amount of power the wheelchair has.

One last thing that was shared at this education day was the Tecla Shield . This product is so cool. It’s a device that links tablets, other touch screen devices and computers to alternate access buttons, switches, or even wheelchair driving controls. So cool! Check it out!20160623_154304.jpg

Finally, here is a new and exciting innovation created by Nathan Buskell at Motion Specialties. It’s a Nylatron foot rigging post!!!! This doesn’t look that exciting from the photo, but this post is flexible. Yes, flexible! Nathan created this product using nylon plastic material called Nylatron. He designed it for clients who often break their front rigging from heavy use. This could be from constant stomping, high tone or even from hitting the front rigging and footplates on obstacles in the environment. What an amazing innovation! And to top it off, it looks nice! Not bulky at all! I was so excited! 20160726_120320

That’s all for now folks. Thanks again for checking in. Seating is Super!

Cheryl

 

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The 32nd International Seating Symposium

Happy Wednesday Everyone,

Lindsay Alford and I presented for the first time at the conference. We were definitely a bit nervous at the beginning! Hopefully we didn’t scare anyone away at the beginning! To everyone who was able to make it, thanks so much for coming. Hopefully you found our presentation on Balancing Function and Posture in Wheelchair Seating helpful in your practice. My appologies for this very late post. I’ve been meaning to share all of these new innovations from the ISS for a while now. But my oh my is working with a baby, or should I say toddler, a whole other ball game. And to think, I only have 1 so far! In any case, here are some updates from the ISS back in March.

Ride designs debuted their new Soft Fit cover for their custom ride cushions. As you can see in the images, the regular spacer cover is one layer of spacer fabric, whereas the Soft Fit has 3 layers of the famous material. The image of the under side of the cover shows how they cut out a diamond shape section for the well of the cushion. That’s to ensure that the consumer still gets the off loading properties of the cushion under such a thick cover. This is a really nice option for those who find the cushion a bit hard but don’t want to lose the unique off loading qualities of the Ride.

Ride Designs also had their tall Ride Java backrest as well as their new Ride Java cushion on display. As you can see there are pronounced scapular cut outs on the backrest,which is definitely a nice feature. As for the cushion, this is a nice commercial option for clients who would benefit from off loading their boney prominences but don’t quite need the full custom option. I’ve already trialed this one with a few of my clients!

Now here is a really cool product made by Joerns Healthcare. At the exhibits, they had their Dolfin Fluid Immersion Simulator mattress and cushion available to see and trial. This system is based off of a system that was used to transport military dolfins. Yes, that’s right, Military dolfins! Apparently, in order to transport dolfins, they need a system that will support their bodies so that they won’t collapse when they aren’t submerged under water. They used this technology in this mattress and cushion as it therefore helps to prevent collapse of the tissues in order to prevent and heal wounds and pressure ulcers. These products are available for rent as well so feel free to contact Joerns for more information.

Seating Dynamics had quite a few neat products this year. Here are some images of their dynamic footrest, backrest and head rest. The headrest was quite interesting as it has the option of being set up with a single-axis or multi-axis movements. The mounting hardware also seemed quite strong. Head positioning and tone are so complex when it comes to positioning. I am very interested in trying this item when the right client comes around.

Here is another innovative product at the ISS. Stealth Products had the Tarta Ergonomic backrest available to trial. Although this product is not yet available in Canada, it is an interesting design that provides the user with midline guidance and support, but is flexible. The modular design allows this backrest to flex backwards and side to side with the user. It is super comfortable and you can definitely see the utility of this product. Definitely worth a try for the right client!

Here are the B-Braver handrims. These handrims have a Polyisoprene non slip grip at the top. But what is truly unique about these handrims is the shape. They are rounded at the top and flat at the bottom. When holding on to them , they fit very nicely in your hand. These handrims were created by Marco Pilotto, a gentleman with C6 Quadriplegia. I always find products created by consumers to be so special. Marco was such a pleasure to meet as well. Passionate about his product that has worked so well for him as well as for many others. Marco, it was so lovely to have met you! Good luck with this product, it’s definitely a good one!

Invacare debuted their TDX SP 2 power base at the ISS. Unfortunately, this power base is not yet available in Canada. But some exciting features about this base include the new joystick with switch box for access to all the power seating functions, the improved power recline with shear and the streamlined power elevating legrests. The power recline with shear is super nice in that the backrest essentially stays in place when the system goes into recline. This may seem simple, but it’s definitely not common in many other power bases. The reason why this is useful is that if you have trunk laterals or a custom backrest for example, if there is not enough shear, the backrest will move up out of place when the system moves into recline. Then the client looses contact with their back contours or their laterals get pushed into the axillas or even past their axillas. The legrests are also unique as many manufacturers are moving away from swing away elevating legrests. This can be an issue for clients who need the swing away for specific purposes. I just actually had a client who used the swing away function to move their feet out of the way from the sink pipes in their bathroom but still needed the power elevating legrest function.

On another note, Invacare wanted me to announce that they are now cleared (since 2015) to sell power mobility in Canada without restrictions. YAY! Congratulations Invacare. It has been a long road, with a lot of hard work. Definitely looking forward to trialing the new TDX when it comes out here.

Invacare also had their new Libra cushion on display. This is a really nice foam cushion with fluid gel overlay in the well of the cushion. The well is contoured to offer some offloading of the coccyx and ischial tuberosities. The gel is also new and meant to be maintenance free. This is a super nice light weight cushion with some great pressure relieving properties. Definitely going to bring this one out for a trial and pressure mapping session! Stay tuned!

Power assist systems were everywhere at the ISS this year. Although these systems are not “new”, most of the manufacturers were launching new and improved versions of their products which was nice to see and demo. In the images above, I have the Twion (power assist),  E-fix (which converts a manual into a power drive wheelchair), Invacare e-motion wheels (power assist-no image) and the yamaha JWX-2, also known as the Sunrise Quickie X-tender and the yamaha wheelchair motor. Check out their websites for more information.

Freewheel also had a new product this year. They have actually created a way to mount their freewheel onto a manual folding frame! How exciting! They essentially created a removeable cross bar that can be added to most manual folding frames. A super nice addition to this line.

AEL had a cool new trunk lateral hardware called the Omnilink  and it had loads of adjustability! Quite easy to actually adjust the components as well, which is so important when trying to get it into the “just right” position.

NXT and Vicair had some cool new hardware innovations. Check out that headrest mount that can be easily positioned out of the way. Also, check out the backrest quick release bar and the trunk lateral depth adjustment piece. Quite a nice feature if you ask me. Also, Vicair has made some improvements with their covers to make them more breatheable.

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I’ve featured the symmetric designs backrest before on the blog. But here is is again. Such a unique product. They have also made some improvements to make this system more durable and easy to adjust. They also have a new website, which is absolutely beautiful. Definitely a cool product that I would love to trial with the right client.

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Ki mobility had a power tilt system on display at the ISS. This system can be added onto their tilt in space wheelchair to make it easy for a client to access their own tilt. It was a really nice system and was super smooth.

Ottobock had two really cool products this year at the ISS. They had their new adjustable carbon fiber wheelchair called the Voyager Evolution wheelchair. They also had their Terra Flair cushion, which integrates Roho air cells at the back of a foam cushion. This was a very comfortable cushion. Definitely going to keep this one in mind for a trial!

 

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So that’s all for my ISS summary. I hope you found some products here that may help one of your clients in the future. I leave you with this picture of me and Lindsay right before we presented. We don’t look that nervous do we? Perhaps we hide it well! 😉

Thanks again for checking in! And remember, Seating is Super!

Cheryl

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