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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Stealth Products i-Drive and the REE at the ROO 2015

.: Stealth Products and Pride Mobility :.

Hello Everyone! I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all my amazing subscribers and readers. It has been a while since my last post, but thanks for always checking in. The past several months have been busy, which is great! Access Community Therapists just launched a new website – WOOHOO! – which I was lucky to be a part of. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Also, happy belated OT month to my fellow OTs! Occupational Therapy month was in October. There was so much OT spirit out there this year and it was so exciting to see so much enthusiam over social media over the past month.

Back in September we had the REE at the ROO and Access was lucky enough to get a private inservice by Mark Scott from Stealth Products. Since I am still technically on maternity leave I was able to bring my son, ‘T’ to the REE and the inservice by Stealth. Mark was even kind enough to entertain ‘T’ with his fabulous cartoon character impressions! Thanks Mark! Anyways, back to wheelchair business!…..

It was great learning about the new i-Drive system and seeing how to use it with their head array drive control and fiber optic switch. Stealth has designed their head array with proximity sensors, which allows the system to be activated once the user is close enough to the pad without needing to physically contact it. The distance required to activate the head array is programmed with the i-Drive system. Although proximity switches are not new in this industry, this head array is particularly smooth and allows the user to have optimal control based on their individual abilities/movements.

The i-Drive system also makes it possible to program and adjust their drive controls through a smart phone or tablet rather than a specialized remote. In addition to sensitivity settings, the head array set-up with the i-Drive is particularly exciting as it can also customize channel assignments and also has “double tap assignment” and “double tap timing adjustment”. This means that any pad or switch can be programmed to control a power chair to move in any direction. Also, by holding 2 switches at the same time, can allow the user to switch directions or switch modes on their wheelchair. This is super exciting as the user only requires 2 reliable directional movements in order to control a power wheelchair to move in 4 different directions and control the modes on their chair. For example, if a client can only reliably hit the back occipital pad and the left temporal pad, by hitting them at the same time can allow the user to move in another direction such as to the right. Then, hitting it again can allow the chair to move in other direction such as backwards. Double tapping either the back or left pad can then be programmed to access the modes of the chair.This was super cool!

In addition to showing us the i-Drive, Margaret and Sydney from Pride Mobility also brought in their new Q6 Edge 2 power wheelchair, which is a midwheel drive power base. This version has notable changes to the aethetic design of the base. They’ve also created a very sturdy base with a strong footplate as you can see from Mark standing on it. In addition, Sydney informed me that Pride has improved the sensitivity of the drive. This hopefully addresses the feedback they were getting from the previous version of the Q6 Edge. Definitely worth a trial with all of these improvements!

.: REE at the ROO :.

The REE at the ROO was once again a great exhibition. It was great seeing so many familiar faces at the event and there were many new products to see. Upon walking in, I ran into Dean Robertson, who has just started a company called Access Driver Rehab Specialists. He was showcasing new hand controls from the UK that he has been working with. These are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also very functional. The hardware is quite minimal and there is also voice activated controls.

Permobil debuted their new F3 and F5 power bases. Both bases have a new distinct design and aesthetic that is different than the former Permobil lines. The F3 and F5 are front wheel drive power bases that offer a variety of power functions including anterior and posterior tilt, seat elevation and on the F5, power standing. Check out their website for more information! These chairs are definitely really cool!

I had the pleasure of meeting Russ Rolt from Active Controls again at the REE. He was showcasing the new proportional chin control joystick and new mounting hardware for the Center Drive System. Based on feedback, Active controls has made the Center Mount Drive System adjustable so that it can be brought closer to the client. The system now has a ball joint, which allows for much improved positioning capabilities. YAY! I also want to thank Bill Randall from NuVision Rehab and Russ Rolt for the sample Power Buddy. This is a power port that you can plug into your power wheelchair to charge your electronic devices like your phone or GPS. Check this product out here!

Nathan Buskell at Motion Specialties had their custom lateral tilt mechanism on display at the REE. This was a nice, smooth lateral tilt that didn’t require much force to activate. The only con, would be the placement of the handle/wheel needed to engage the lateral tilt as it is low on the wheelchair, although this is often an issue with many of the custom lateral tilts out there. A nice design overall though!

Sunrise Medical was debuting their new Quickie Xperience 2. This midwheel drive power base now has an external power seat function box that can be mounted in front of the joystick. Definitely a nice option!

The Roho Group was showcasing their Smart Check device that allows users to check the inflation of their cushion once it has been properly set. This is a fabulous device however, there has been some feedback that it can be a bit tricky to use. It is also quite expensive. If, however, it can be set-up properly, it is an invaluable tool to have with a Roho cushion.

And last, but certainly not least, Advanced Mobility had the Firefly power assist to demo at the REE. This was indeed a fun product. Easy to drive and incredibly fast, smooth and peppy! This product is being exclusively distributed by Advanced Mobility in the lower mainland. Contact them to try one out.

That’s all for today! Thanks for checking in. As always,

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

Access Pressure Workshop and Seating Tips and Tricks!

Happy Friday Everyone! Last week Access Community Therapists and Advanced Mobility Products hosted a workshop called “The Pressure is On: A Model of Practice for Occupational Therapists”. This was a 2-day intensive and interactive workshop on wound prevention, assessment, management and treatment. The workshop instructors included Jo-Anne Chisholm (OT), Joanne Yip (OT), Heather McMurtry (RN, WOCN), Lindsay Alford (OT) and Cheryl Hon (Me!!..I’m an OT). It was a great workshop with a great turn out!

On the first day, we focused on an interdisciplinary model of practice for wound care and treatment. The images below capture some of the days events. Wound prevention equipment, cushions, mattresses and wound dressings galore! We also focused on preventing under and over prescription of medical equipment for wounds. This is such a big issue when it comes to wound care and prevention. The second day was all about Pressure Mapping. We even had help from some client educators who helped us practice pressure mapping skills and interpretation. Thanks again to everyone who was able to make it!

Now, onto some fun seating tips and tricks! I thought that I would share some of my recent seating mods, accessories and ideas. Perhaps these might work for some of your clients! Here we go!

Below is a wheelchair and seating system that was set-up by Jody Mair from Motion Specialties. This client had CP and required an arcufit belt for pelvic stability. Pelvic laterals were not an option for her because of the way she transferred and moved in her wheelchair. A swing away mount was used on her pelvic belt as her family needed to fold the back canes down in order to fit it into their vehicle. Without this mount, the back canes would not fold down far enough. Although swing away brackets were not as strong as solid brackets, for this client it was sufficient.

Next! A custom pelvic harness for an alternate positioning device/comfy chair. This comfy chair was custom fabricated by Russ Bain at Ability Health Care and the harness was made by Chad Kania. This comfy chair had power tilt and was made with custom carved foam cushions. The client that used this system had extremely limited hip flexion, significant postural deformities and was prone to skin breakdown due to constantly moist and fragile skin. Due to limited hip flexion, keeping this client in an upright position was extremely difficult. On his manual wheelchair, he had a foam-in-box seating system with a custom molded pelvic bar. We didn’t want to do the same in his comfy chair as this was meant for him to be positioned upright, but in a more relaxed position. So, this is what we did! A mesh fabric, posey-style pelvic harness that was secured with 2 clips on the sides. The mesh fabric was breathable to prevent moisture build up. The harness itself helped to prevent sliding down in the system, but was soft to prevent pressure and to enhance comfort.

Here is a custom mounted cup holder and stylus holder that was fabricated by Wahbi Ghanbur at Advanced Mobility Products. This system was made for a client with Quadriplegia. This client uses a stylus in the community to reach and access buttons (such as elevator buttons) and pin pads in the community. If you haven’t noticed, most pin pads at store check-outs have a “security cover” over the buttons. For someone with Quadriplegia (or anyone who has difficulty isolating finger movements), these are next to impossible to access. The stylus is an effective tool here, IF it can be easily accessed by the person of course! So here was my solution to the problem: a custom mounted holder for the stylus! The cover at the top is actually made of soft rubber to prevent the stylus from falling out.

Here is a rather simple solution for feet on wheelchairs. GRIP TAPE! YAY for grip tape! I use grip tape quite often on footplates as it often helps to prevent feet from sliding off or out of position. This was a rather nice application of grip tape on a manual rigid wheelchair. As you can see, there is no actual plate, but wrapping the grip tape around the tubes was a nice way to keep the tape in place. This was also done by Wahbi at Advanced Mobility Products.

And last but definitely not least, here are some custom modifications that were designed and fabricated by Ed Bell at Advanced Mobility Products for a home weight machine. This system was made for a client with paraplegia who used a manual rigid frame wheelchair for mobility. The custom adaptations involved a custom thigh bar that was similar to those flip down bars on a chair lift at the ski hills or the flip down bars on an amusement park ride like the Coaster at the PNE. This helped to keep the client and wheelchair on the ground when using the weights and pulleys. In addition to this, the system also had custom clamps that secured to the front rigging of the wheelchair. This was needed to keep the front end of the wheelchair down and in place to prevent the client from flipping backwards when using the weights.

I hope you enjoyed some of my tips and tricks! Have a great weekend everyone!

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

Balancing Function and Posture. Custom Seating and Manual Wheelchairs

Happy Friday Everyone! It’s almost the weekend! Just wanted to share with you a system I finished for a client with Spina Bifida. This client self-propels around indoors, but also needed a system that would be caregiver friendly and could fold AND could also accommodate custom seating components. We selected the Quickie 2 wheelchair base as it was lightweight, but could still fold. The Quickie 2 is a versatile wheelchair that has adjustable centre of gravity, various castor sizes and seat to floor height options, angle and depth adjustable back canes, and armrest options. Because of the range of options, this wheelchair is therefore a nice light weight choice that can accommodate various seating components, which came in handy for this client. This wheelchair was provided by Motion Specialties.

Here are a couple of images from the fabrication process:

With regards to the seating, we created a custom contoured backrest shell and did a foam-in-place insert. See here for more information on custom seating techniques. A custom shell backrest was selected because my client’s trunk was quite short due to her scoliosis and severe lordosis. With this custom shell, we were able to create a very deep contour with the laterals but were also able to flare the bottom to clear her thighs and trim the top to allow for scapular clearance and improved self-propelling. The shell backrest is also quite light weight, which is important for any self-propeller! We then did a carved foam seat with sensus foam ischial well for increased comfort and also created contouring for her thighs. This provided stability as well as comfort for the client. One issue that came up, was when we improved her posture and trunk alignment, we accidentally brought her up too high to reach her wheels. Oops! In order to fix this, we actually cut out the sides of the cushion and dropped the cushion/seat  between the seat canes to bring her back closer to her hand rims. Phew! crisis averted! Thanks to Chad at Ability Health Care for completing the seating for this system.

Well that’s all for today! Time to enjoy the weekend. Thanks for checking in today!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

Standing Power Wheelchair with Added Seating Modifications

Happy Easter Everyone! I hope you were able to enjoy the long weekend. This weekend I was able to catch up on some much needed rest and errands. For once, I actually feel ready for the week to begin. So, to give you a start to the week, check out this power wheelchair I set up with the help of Motion Specialties! It’s a Ranger Express (rear wheel drive) power wheelchair with standing function. There are a few other manufacturers that offer the standing function, such as Permobil and Levo. The Ranger Express was chosen for this client because it was a rear wheel drive power base, the clients’ driving preference (most are usually front wheel drive) and because of the style and positioning of the knee blocks (which best suited this client during the trials). The stander function on power bases is a great addition, but involves a few considerations. Some of these considerations include access to funding (these things are expensive!), the ability of the client to move into a standing position from sitting (not as straight forward as it may seem….lots of positioning considerations here!) and safety (bone density issues, cognition and safety awareness). In addition, with regards to the base itself, many of them have a lower max speed and are set up with a front wheel drive, which some clients may not be used to.

In order to make this base work for my client, several modifications were required. This client had a backrest that she used in her power wheelchair and in her manual wheelchair. This meant that the backrest needed to be removeable from the new power base. Her backrest was made using a foam-in-place insert to accommodate her back contours. This insert was set up in a Jay 2 backrest shell. Typically, backrests are mounted and bolted on to the back plate of the Ranger wheelchair, preventing it from being removed.  Nathan, the technician from Motion Specialties, therefore designed a track-like system that allowed the backrest to be removed by sliding the back onto the plate instead. In addition, to maintain the appropriate amount of seat depth, Nathan essentially needed to move the whole back plate further back on the base…not a quick job by any means! You can see this below where Nathan is wearing green and Bill Randall, sales representative is wearing purple. I promised to post a flattering picture so hope you both are happy with this one! =)

Further customization was needed to increase the “shearing” of the backrest when the wheelchair went into standing. When we trialed the initial set-up with the client, the backrest moved up too high causing the laterals to move up too far up and into the client’s axillas. Nathan then made a custom bracket that allowed the backrest to move downwards more when using the standing function. See below:

The last few customizations included grip tape for the footplate and ankle huggers to prevent the client’s feet from losing positioning and moving into standing, a custom Body Point chest strap with custom auto style buckle sewn in by Nathan, and added velcro under the armrests to secure the chest strap when not in use. This was necessary to ensure the client’s ability to use the stander independently.

The modifications that were made by Nathan and Bill really made this system work for my client. Thanks so much for all your hard work! It really did make a difference for this client! The standing function itself was selected for the health benefits as well as to improve my clients’ independence and level of function. Here is a link to a resource by RESNA outlining some of the benefits of wheelchair standing devices. Hopefully this will help with your justification letters! Also, an exciting announcement! Access Community Therapists Ltd, is offering a wound/pressure management course called “The Pressure is On ” in June. It’s a two day practical course on wound assessment, pressure mapping and intervention. We will be hosting it on June 6th and 7th at Advanced Mobility Products in Burnaby, BC. Click on the link or visit the Access website to register. Jo-Anne Chisholm, OT, Joanne Yip, OT and Heather McMurtry, RN, WOCN will be the main instructors and I will also be there assisting with the break out sessions. Register soon as space does fill up quickly!

Thanks for checking in today! I hope you enjoyed the case and hope to see you at the pressure course!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

Semi-Rigid Pelvic Belt and Dynamic Backrest on Manual Rigid Wheelchair

Hello Everyone!  Happy Thursday! I wanted to share with you a system I did back in the winter for a client of mine with Cerebral Palsy. She was a client that needed a sturdy, lightweight wheelchair that she could self-propel indoors. Although her family pushed her wheelchair in the community, it was still very much a priority for her to be independent at home. She formerly had a manual folding frame wheelchair that was very difficult for her to push. This was due to the weight of the chair itself as well as her spastic movements. She was also very hard on her last wheelchair as she transfers with A LOT of momentum. Due to her high extensor tone she had literally bent the back canes open several times and had loosened off and eventually stripped almost every screw on the entire wheelchair. (oy…..)

Initially, I began with trials of folding frame manual systems with power assist type products. This was pretty much a “fail” as the power assist wheels were too quick and difficult for her to manage. The system we ended up choosing included a rigid frame manual wheelchair called the Quickie Q7 by Sunrise Medical with a Prism Truefitt backrest by Future Mobility and Jay 3 Air cushion (Note: be careful with the Jay 3 cushion well size, it can bit a bit small for many clients and can load the GTs. It worked well for this client though! I also personally prefer the air version over the fluid version as the gel has a tendency to move out the back of the cushion and client often “bottoms out”). This system was provided by Brandon Misky from Motion Specialties. I ended up going with a rigid system because it was lightweight and durable. In order to help with her manual propelling, we ended up going with Natural Fit Handrims. These worked beautifully for her! This client had difficulty letting go of the standard handrims and would often get her fingers caught or let go of  the rims at different times, causing her to veer to the right or left depending on which hand was left caught up. The Natural Fit Handrims by Quickie totally eliminated this problem. Yay!

 

I must admit, it was a bit complicated during the delivery and set-up of this system as she needed a semi-rigid pelvic support and dynamic backrest and I had never done this on a rigid frame before. Needless to say, there were a few “hiccups” along the way….

The dynamic backrest and semi-rigid pelvic bar were fabricated by James Cooper from Priority Posture Systems Ltd. Here are a few “obstacles” we ran into during the set-up/fabrication process: First, the frame on the new Q7 is oval not round. This made mounting of the dynamic backrest a bit of a challenge as most of the parts James had were meant to fit round tubes. The weight of the dynamic backrest was also a bit of an issue as it made the wheelchair more tippy. The wheels were therefore moved back to make the system more stable. That was necessary for safety when she transferred.

Second, the semi-rigid pelvic positioning system needed to be something that could be done up by the client independently. This was a significant challenge due to her tone and difficulty with positioning independently in general. We originally decided to go with a 4-point lap belt. This unfortunately didn’t work as the flex in the belt caused it to flip over. The client also had trouble managing the belt during transfers as she would often land on it and wouldn’t be able to get to it once she was in her system. We decided to switch out the 4-point belt and used the Body Point Evoflex system instead. This worked amazingly well! When the client unfastened the belt, it would actually maintain its position on the side (check out the Body Point Website for an image of this!). The custom fabricated ASIS pads were mounted to the Evoflex. This was necessary to further rigidize the system to prevent rotating of the pelvis.

The last issue that came up was the mounting of the armrests. Because of the positioning of the dynamic backrest, T-post style armrests were needed rather than the cantilever style that were originally requested. Due to the limited amount of real-estate on these rigid wheelchairs, mounting of all of these seating components was a bit of a challenge. A special thanks to Brandon and James who were able to troubleshoot with me to make this system work for the client. The hard work paid off and the client and family have been very happy with the system.

Thanks so much for checking in today! I hope some of these points come in handy if you ever set-up a system like this one. Feel free to send me your stories or feedback! Your comments are always welcome!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

Rear Wheel Drive Power Wheelchairs

Hello Everyone, Happy belated Lunar New Year to all of you! I apologize for my month long hiatus. It has been a busy few weeks for my family. Right after the holidays, my dog, Halle, had to go in for dental surgery. Then, soon after, my grandma was admitted to hospital for a suspected TIA and aspiration pneumonia. It has been a busy and stressful month, but I am happy to share that things are looking better and my 94 year old “popo”, who is recovering well.

I have not forgotten to collect information, photos  and interesting new products and cases to share with you though. These will be posted as soon as possible as I can’t wait to share them. Also, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has been taking the time to read and contact me about the blog.  It has been a pleasure hearing from you!

Alright! So back to business! A couple weeks back, Access was fortunate to have the opportunity to have an inservice with KCI at Motion Specialties. They brought in their new mattress technology called the AtmosAir. This mattress consists of SAT (or “Self-Adjusting Technology”)cells that essentially self-adjust to the weight and level of load from the client. Click here to see more about this product. This is a product that is marketed as a “no maintenance mattress”. Definitely a neat product worth a trial and a pressure mapping session at some point to see how it measures up to others.

Motion Specialties also provided us with an inservice on Rear Wheel Drive Power Mobility. This was a great inservice with lots of valuable information.  Many of our clients who live in rural areas across the Province rely heavily on rear-wheel-drive bases as they are better able to manage the terrain and weather. Here is a synopsis of our session:

1) Invacare Storm Series: Torque SP, Arrow and Ranger X:

  • Torque: plastic polymer suspension (yellow plastic at rear castors)
  • Ranger X and Arrow have spring shock suspension (yellow coil at reach castors)
  • Ranger X: Bariatric (400lb weight capacity)
  • Frame: frame width is 26.5″, with two lengths: short: 28.5 and long: 31.5
  • Speed: Torque and Arrow: 6.5mph, Ranger X: 5mph
  • Lowest STF height (no tilt): 17.75″
  • Pricing starts at: $8909
  • Personal impression from trial: Generally speaking, I find Invacare wheelchairs to have a very smooth, intuitive drive. This could be great for a client who may need an easier to drive and learn to drive wheelchair. It is also a fairly quiet power wheelchair. For clients who prefer a lot of power and torque, this may not be the first choice, however, overall a nice ride.

2) Quantum Rival:

  • Points of interest: the base is quite long compared to others. Replaced the R4000
  • Frame: width is 25.25″, length is 36″ (which is 5″ longer than the Torque)
  • Suspension: Active Track ATX with rear spring suspension
  • Speed: 6 mph, with high speed available (up to 7.5 mph)
  • Lowest STF height (no tilt):16.5″ (lower than Torque)
  • Pricing: starts at $8406
  • Unfortunately, we didn’t get to trial this one as there weren’t any at Motion at the time. This chair is however, marketed as a “rugged” power base. Feel free to let me know if you have any impressions of your own!

3) Sunrise Xplore:

  • Points of interest: This base has a lowest STF height. Also, rear wheel is forward biaised for it has 6 wheels on the ground for stability
  • Frame: width is 25.5″ and the length is 36″
  • Suspension: Very soft suspension (same as the Experience), meant to absorb vibrations.
  • Speed: 6.5 mph
  • Lowest STF height: 15.25″ without tilt and 17″ with tilt
  • Pricing: starts at $9650 (NOTE: This base is on the higher end. Also, repairs to the Experience and Xplore can cost more than an Invacare base due to the cost of parts. This is important to note for Ministry funded clients who may want to upgrade with personal funds. If the repairs cost more than the funded wheelchair, the client could be responsible for the difference in cost for the repairs)
  • Personal Impressions from Trial: This power base was quite smooth but peppy! It was also quite intuitive, but the drive can be quite a shock if you aren’t used to a quick start. Would be good for clients who prefer this kind of drive.

4) Sunrise Quickie 646:

  • Points of interest: This is an aggressive power base. Rear wheels are forward biaised so that the rear anti-tippers contact the ground.
  • Frame: width is 25.75″ and length is 33.5″
  • Suspension: Rockshox suspension that can be adjusted based on client weight and ride preference
  • Speed: 8.5 mph
  • Lowest STF height: 18″ without tilt
  • Pricing: $11,275 (this is the most expensive of the bunch)
  • Personal Impression from Trial: This was another very peppy power base. I found this base to be quite “jerky”, but still intuitive enough to drive. Definitely a base for a client needing a more aggressive base. This base also has a very high speed compared to the others. Considering the price, this base would be ideal for a client really needing the extra power and speed, who can tolerate or prefers a more aggressive drive.

5) Permobil C350:

  • Points of interest: This chair has one of the better suspensions and is a quiet base. The style of the base is also more subdued in design.
  • Frame: 24.5″ wide, 36″ long
  • Suspension: Shock Absorbing Suspension System with coil shocks on from swing arms and rear anti-tippers
  • Speed: 5mph, this is a slower base compared to the rest, but Permobil will be making the high speed option of 6.5mph a standard feature in the future…
  • Lowest STF height: 18″ without tilt
  • Pricing:$7675, this is the cheapest power base of the bunch!
  • Personal Impression from Trial: This is a very quiet and smooth ride. Probably the smoothest and quietest base of the group. Clients who like a quiet, smooth and intuitive ride with a modern looking base will definitely prefer this base. Unfortunately, many rear wheel drive power wheelchair users generally prefer a more powerful, “torquey” drive. This is probably not the base to choose for a client needing to manage rough terrain.

6) Sunrise P222SE:

  • Points of interest: This is a tippy power base, but is also quite fast. It’s an older model base, but clients who still have them, really love them.
  • Frame: 24.5″ or 25.5″ wide, 31.5″ long
  • Suspension: Fiberglass leaf spring positioned length wise under the seat frame
  • Speed: 8.5 mph
  • Lowest STF height: 18″ without tilt
  • Pricing: $8295, not an expensive base (a bit more expensive than the permobil without tilt. This base is much more expensive if tilt is needed as it jumps up to $14,120 with tilt)
  • Personal Impression from Trial: This base was very very peppy. It’s a small looking base that packs quite a bit of punch! Not the best suspension of the bunch, but with the top speed hitting 8.5 mph, I can see why some clients are sticking with this base. Considering it is a bit tippy, I would definitely be selective with who I would trial this base with.

7) Ranger Express and 904S:

  • Points of interest: The Express comes in a compact base option, however, this compact base also has a lower weight capacity. The 904S is a customizable base that is often used by power soccer players.
  • Frame: Express: 25.5″ wide x 32″ long, Compact version is 23.5″ wide x 31″ long,  904S: 24.5″ wide x 32″ long
  • Suspension: Express: Rigid front frame and low torsion rear suspension   904S: Front Articulating Beam and no rear suspension
  • Speed: Express: 6.5 mph, Compact: 7 mph, 904S: up to 9 mph
  • Lowest STF height: 17″ without tilt
  • Pricing: Express $8798, 904S $9898
  • Personal Impression from Trial: I find that Ranger bases have a very distinct and memorable drive. These are very zippy bases that also pack a lot of punch. They are also relatively smooth and intuitive drives as well. Ranger is a local business that will often make custom modifications and additions based on the needs and wants of the clients using these bases. This makes them a great option for clients using their chairs for a variety of functions including sports like power soccer.

I would like to thank Jodi Mair and Carla Carrico for setting up these inservices for us. They were great as usual! Also, Motion Specialties asked if I could share this special opportunity. March of Dimes has set up a program called the March of Dimes Canada Retrofit Vehicle Initiative for people needing vehicle modifications up to $15,000. Motion Specialties is able to do a variety of vehicle modifications and are hoping that someone may be able to benefit from this rare funding opportunity. Applications are due by February 14th, so please pass this on to anyone who may benefit from this program. Here is the link below with more information.

  MARCH OF DIMES: FUNDING FOR VEHICLE MODS: check it out!   http://www.marchofdimes.ca/EN/news/whatsnew2014/Pages/March-of-Dimes-Canada-Retrofit-Vehicle-Initiative.aspx  

I hope you found this post helpful! Thanks for checking in today!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

Motion Specialties Grand Opening

Hello Everyone! Happy Wednesday! Yesterday Motion Specialties had their grand opening at their new location on North Fraser Way in Burnaby. It was a fun event with equipment demo sales, a power wheelchair obstacle course, contests and prizes and some great manufacturer exhibit booths. FYI, they will be honoring their special demo prices for the next couple weeks. So, if you have a client with limited funding, contact Motion ASAP to see if they have anything available that might work for a client of yours! I love looking at demo equipment as I often have clients who need equipment that may not be eligible for funding. At a discounted rate, however, some funders may be willing to provide funds if the needs are there. On another note, here are a few seating related highlights from the event!

NXT (pronounced “Next”) by Dynamic Health Care Solutions displayed their new lateral supports. Its a swing away style lateral support that has an additional anterior pad. This is a neat design and the hardware is quite adjustable in length. Because of the rigidity of the anterior support, it might be an option for a client who requires more support than chest strap can provide. In the second picture, note that there is a blue lever that releases the swing away mechanism. This was a really innovative mechanism that could be easier for some clients to release themselves. This would need to be trialed to determine suitability of course, but still a really neat idea!

NXT also debuted 3 new foam cushions: the Bio Fit, the Nu Fit and the Kul Fit. These are mild contoured foam cushions. All of the cushions are made with foam with antibacterial properties. The Bio Fit has a layer of Blue Visco Gel foam that helps to reduce heat build up and also has perforations for increased comfort and softness at the seat area. The Nu Fit cushion is similar in feel to the Bio Fit, but only has a soft foam overlay rather than the gel infused foam overlay. The last cushion was the Kul Fit cushion. This was a very interesting cushion as it was made out of breathable reticulated foam. This foam is quite spongy in feel and allows liquids to pass right though it. This would be great for a client with incontinence issues and needs to wash their cushion frequently. It was quite comfortable to sit on and was a firmer cushion relative to the others. I would be interested in pressure mapping this one for sure.

Motion Composites has a new carbon fiber manual wheelchair called the Veloce. This is a very light (8 kg or 18 lbs) folding frame wheelchair with a sporty, streamlined design. It is a chair that is designed to fall between the manual folding frames and a rigid manual. This wheelchair was easy to maneuver and self-propel.  I definitely have clients that manually self-propel, but still need a mobility device that can be folded for transport so, this might be a great option for them! I also really liked the flip up style footplate. This design is not available on most rigid frame wheelchairs, which can be an issue for some clients who need to stand to transfer. Although this isn’t a rigid wheelchair, the weight and design of the wheelchair might make this wheelchair somewhat comparable. I’m looking forward to trialing this one soon to see how it really performs.

Invacare brought 3 cushions to demo at the grand opening. The first was the Matrx PSVF cushion or “Posture Seat Visco Foam” cushion. This is a super soft foam cushion with some mild contouring. This cushion was designed specifically for optimal comfort. They also had the new Stabilite cushion, which had a “Thinair” bladder for added pressure relief. This cushion also had rigidizers on the sides that help to prevent the cushion from slinging on an upholstered seat. This was a firm, but comfortable cushion that had a mild to moderate contour. The last cushion was the Matrx Flovair, which had the “Thinair” bladder as well as a fluid gel overlay. The fluid gel is meant to reduce shear, while the “Thinair” bladder is meant to reduce peak pressures. The Flovair and Stabilite cushions were reported to pressure map better than the Matrx Vi line. I have yet to pressure map these myself, but I could see these cushions working well for a client requiring a firm supportive surface for sitting, some contouring, but also would benefit from added pressure relief.

Invacare also had their powered Aquatec Ocean E-VIP commode on display. This is an ideal commode for caregivers as the seat elevates making it much easier for peri care. They also debuted their “Special Soft Seat“. This is a new product, not to be confused with their “soft seat”. This product would be ideal for clients who require extra pressure relief due to either high risk for skin breakdown or long bowel routines.

I hope this post was helpful for anyone who wasn’t able to make it. Thanks again for checking in!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

Review of 5 Mid-Wheel Drive Power Wheelchairs

Hello Everyone!  Last week, Access Community Therapists Ltd received an equipment inservice by Motion Specialties (Centric Health). We compared 5 mid-wheel drive power wheelchairs, received a ton of amazing information on each chair, and were actually able to trial each of the bases ourselves. Here is a brief summary and comparison based on this review as well as for some of our own overall impressions from the trial.

PERMOBIL M300

The Permobil M300 is a very nice looking power wheelchair base. The design is streamlined and great for clients looking for a clean, simple yet modern looking base. Clinically, I have been finding that many younger clients have been drawn to this base because of the aesthetics and other features. This base comes with a 3 year warranty on motors and the gear boxes. It has one of the lowest seat to floor heights with power tilt function (17 1/2 inches). It is however, a more expensive power wheelchair if any upgrades are added. That being said, the Permobile actually comes out to be the cheapest base without power tilt access through the joystick as this requires upgraded electronics. During the driving trial, this wheelchair was very smooth. It had a much softer ride than some of the others and also had a very quiet motor. I had one client trial this power base and he reported that he loved driving this base into class as the sound of the motor didn’t seem to disturb others or draw attention to himself.

QUANTUM Q6 EDGE

Quantum Rehab has just reduced their prices on the Q6 Edge and is now cheaper than their Q6000Z model.  While most other power wheelchairs require an electronics upgrade to get tilt through the joystick, this feature comes without a price upgrade. This base is likely best suited for an “urban wheelchair user” or clients who use their wheelchairs mostly at home. The reason for this is that the top speed is only 5 mph in comparison to 6 mph, which is offered by all of the other bases. This power wheelchair also comes with smaller batteries and is not an aggressive wheelchair. Some clients have reported some difficulty driving this power base because the programming and drive of the base is not as intuitive as some of the others. Based on the drive trial we did, this base was not as responsive as the others.  It is definitely a base that requires a thorough trial before prescription.

INVACARE TDX SP

The Invacare TDX SP was reported by Motion Specialties to be “the bench-mark wheelchair for setting up the standard for mid-wheel drive power wheelchairs”. Over the past 6 years, this product has done very well in the market. This power base has a narrow total external width of 24″ with intuitive drive controls. During the trial, this base was responsive and had a nice smooth drive.  Clinically, I have found that many clients prefer the drive style of this base when compared to some others. Some clients have reported to me that they are able to maneuver this power base well in their homes and are also able to manage terrain in the community. At present, Invacare is undergoing a review with the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and have temporarily stopped the manufacturing process of their power bases. This means, that at present, the supply of power bases is limited to what has already been produced. Ordering of specific options, features and colours is limited at this time, but they report that they should be up and running in the spring of 2013, however, there are no guarantees.

UPDATE: Invacare in Canada is now cleared to sell power mobility without restrictions! YAY! congrats! Excited to see the new versions of this base soon! -May 18, 2016

SUNRISE QUICKIE QM 710

The Sunrise Quickie QM 710 is a new power wheelchair that features a “Spider Track Suspension”. According to Motion Specialties, this suspension allows the base to “articulate well up ramps and thresholds”. During the driving trial, this base was quite powerful. It had an intuitive drive and quick acceleration speed. My colleagues and I, quite enjoyed this power base as it was a very smooth drive. For funding purposes, this power base requires solid justification due to it’s higher price point. The cost to repair this base is also higher compared to others in the market. This is something to keep in mind if, for example, a cheaper base is funded by an agency like the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation (MSD), but the client decides to pay for the upgrade to this base, that agency, like MSD may not pay for the cost difference required for the repairs.

SUNRISE QUICKIE XPERIENCE

The Quickie Xperience is a rugged and powerful wheelchair base. It has a G3 coil spring suspension, which has been “reported to be one of the best in the market”, as indicated by Motion Specialties. This power base is perceived to be most expensive option however, when it is specified with upgraded electronics and a power tilt system, the price comes out to be somewhere in the middle compared to its competitors. This base comes with the lowest seat to floor height 16″ of the group. Because of this, for certain funding agencies, this base can only be justified based on the required low seat to floor height. During the drive trial, this power base was quite smooth and fast. It had a quick acceleration and was quite intuitive to drive. The repairs on this base, like the QM 710, are more expensive relative to others on the market.

I hope this review was helpful to you. If you required more detailed specifications on these power wheelchairs or other power wheelchair bases, Motion Specialties has great “Therapist Resources” page that can be accessed by simply creating an account with them. Check out their website at http://www.motionbc.com.

Thanks for reading!  Seating is Super!

Cheryl