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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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