The REE at the ROO 2014

Happy Monday Everyone! Access was at the REE..yippee! We had a blast pressure mapping people, mingling with OTs, students, clients, vendors and manufacturers.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by. It was a pleasure meeting all of you. Now, on to the equipment stuff! Here is my summary of the highlights of this year’s Expo.

Active Controls was at the REE again this year. See my post from last year here! Luckily, we had a preview to their new equipment before the REE thanks to Bill Randall at NuVision Rehab. Active Controls was again showcasing their innovative Center Drive System, which connects to a series of different joysticks. The photos below are a few that caught my eye this year. The yellow joystick is called the MicroGuide. This joystick only requires 40 grams of force to activate the control. It was a super nice design that stays in place when in use. This is great for stability when driving. The supportive pads on the sides were also quite nice. Russ Rolt from Active Controls informed us that these were moveable and adjustable. He even told us about a case study where the pads were moved to block the joystick from driving to one side. This was used for the client with CP, who could only steer towards the right. With the pad in place, he was able to drive forwards and back by using the hand supports as a barrier. A nice application and great idea! Below I also have a photo of the Switch-it Touch Drive 2. I’ve written about this product before, but this was my first time trying it out. It was a nice product, but for the right client. It requires a bit more movement through the hand as you need to drag your finger across the screen, then hold to activate the control. Russ mentioned that it often worked best for clients used to using a touch screen for other activities.

Active Controls also allowed us to demo their new head array control with their Center Drive System mounted at the back of a wheelchair. The Center Drive System mounted at the back allowed for easy trials. It was also a very sturdy mount. Russ also showed us the Joybar mounted at the back as an attendant control. By having a receiver at the front and back, you could easily switch a joystick from client use, to attendant control.

So last, but definitely not least, Active Controls has a new Chin Control joystick that is set up with their Center Drive System. This was a very nice product. It worked well with the mounting and was very stable. Check out their website for videos and more information on their innovative products.

Also present at the REE was Symmetric Designs, which is a local manufacturer based on Salt Spring Island, BC. They were showcasing their Free Form Back. This impressive design is available in 4 sizes and comes with a breathable spacer fabric cover. The unique design of this backrest allows for the individual brackets to be twisted and moved to accommodate a client’s contours or provide correctional forces wherever required. What’s nice about this product is that the adjustments can be made anytime. The best feature of this product is that it is so breathable. So many clients, who require a lot of contouring report being quite hot in these systems. This would be a nice option for a client like this.

At the Ability Health Care booth, they were displaying a custom power system that they created, for a client of mine! This system was designed to allow a client with Achondroplasia to transfer independently. This system will be set up with a custom backrest and cushion. Keep checking in to see the final product!

Ability Health Care was also showing off their new carbon fiber backrests. With these backrests, clients will initially be set up with a custom molded plastic back. Once the shape and design is perfected, a carbon fiber backrest can be made off of the shape of the plastic back. Carbon fiber cannot be changed once it is formed and therefore the plastic back must be a perfect fit before moving on to the carbon version. Of course, the benefit of the carbon fiber is its light weight…and aesthetic!

Another new product on the market is the Rifton HTS or Hygiene, Toileting System. I just set this product up for a client of mine with CP who needed a commode with a very low seat to floor height for transfers. It is a nice design that is super easy to adjust. The family loved it because they could adjust and remove the seating components as needed. Motion Specialties had this product at the REE this year.

Dynamic Health Care Solutions had a few new items. Vicair has come out with a new design for their air cells. YAY! The edges of the cells are now rounded and they have redesigned the cells with a different material to prevent them from deflating. They have also re-designed their backrest hardware and brackets. The design is quite nice as the mounting bracket itself is quite small with lots of adjustment. Motion Composites has also released an HD/Heavy Duty version of their Helio. The key to the design is the carbon fiber cross-brace, which makes this folding manual very light-weight and sturdy.

Priority Posture Systems Ltd was showing off their custom dynamic footrests. This was designed by Dave Cooper and is currently being used at Sunny Hill Health Centre. This product is ideal for those with Spastic CP who have difficulty with leg positioning and protection. Ideally, these are set-up with shoe holders, which allows the client to kick down, out and forwards. Other products on the market are limited to just an up and down motion, which generally is not adequate for many clients with significant tone and strong movement patterns.

Priority Posture Systems Ltd was also displaying their custom/off the shelf cushion for single foot-propelling clients and their raised toilet seat with cut out with silicone coating. These products are priced lower than a typical custom product, but were made with a universal design in mind. The cushion is a nice design with ischial block, full femur support for the client’s affected side, and slanted cutout for the foot-propelling side. Please contact James Cooper, if you would like more information on these products.

Westech Health Care Ltd is now distributing Ranger Wheelchairs. Ranger has just released the Batam rear wheel drive power base that has been made to be even more compact than their Express model. Check it out!

Sunrise Medical has made some changes to their more popular manual wheelchair models. The Quickie Iris for example now has several improvements including covered rockers to prevent debris from collecting in the spaces, new front rigging mounting, new pin style for the rockers and new matte colours!

The Quickie 2 also has the new front rigging mounting as well as a new light weight wheel rim option at no charge!

Advanced Health Care (AHC) was also showcasing some products with the Roho Group. The t-zone mattress, was being displayed. Here is a picture of it as I didn’t have one the last time I announced it.

Finally, here is the Blake Medical backrest. I announced this product last year after the REE, but I somehow missed it the last time. Here it is this year! The backrest is lined with their comfort gel, which makes for a very nice, soft AND comfortable backrest.

That’s all for today folks! Thanks for checking in!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

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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