Old 02-11-2018, 12:17 PM #1 (permalink)
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Default wheelchair question: indoor/outdoor

My family don't wear shoes in the house. So it just occurred to me that with a wheelchair you'd be bringing dirt and such in the house just like if you come in with shoes.

Curious if anyone keeps a separate indoor only wheelchair?

Where I live we get snow, rain, mud etc. which got me thinking. I realize in the bigger scheme of things this is a minor issue, I was just curious though.
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Old 02-11-2018, 06:22 PM #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair question: indoor/outdoor

Yeah, it's dirty. And it grinds into the carpet forever.
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Old 02-12-2018, 12:19 PM #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair question: indoor/outdoor

We also have a no shoes policy in our house.

I live where we receive a lot of snow in the winter. We also have a prolonged mud season as winter comes to an end. Even in the summer, I collect lots of dirt and mud in my wheelchair tires. And, I use Permobil's mud and snow drive tires much of the year, which collect more mud and snow than regular wheelchair tires (but make a huge difference in traction).

I have 4 wheelchairs. One is dedicated for indoor use (Permobil C350). One is just about exclusively for outdoor use (the four wheel drive Magic Mobility X4). The other two spend time indoors and outdoors (both are Permobil C500 variants).

Using multiple wheelchairs works for me because I am able to transfer between them without much effort. In fact, I don't use a wheelchair in the house most of the time. I just about always use a wheelchair outside of the house.

When I am no longer able to readily transfer between wheelchairs, I will simply get the floors dirty.

For now, I like being able to contribute to keeping the floors less messy.

Steve
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Old 02-12-2018, 01:03 PM #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair question: indoor/outdoor

Kristina,
Another possible solution, if you donít want to have more than one wheelchair, would be to reassess your flooring. In any areas of the house where you anticipate using a wheelchair, you could remove carpeting and replace it with solid flooring that is easier to clean.
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Old 02-12-2018, 01:03 PM #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair question: indoor/outdoor

Thanks Steve that was very helpful. Did you have to pay for the additional wheelchairs out of pocket?
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Old 02-12-2018, 01:07 PM #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair question: indoor/outdoor

Karen, luckily we do have hardwood and tile throughout. We have a really nice persian area rug in the living room though, which we wouldn't want to get dirty.

For now this all hypothetical. I just started using a wheelchair for occasional use due to fatigue outside the house. At home I'm fine and don't see myself needing a mobility aide in the house for quite some time if current rate of progression holds.
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Old 02-12-2018, 03:04 PM #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair question: indoor/outdoor

It sounds like when you start using your PWC inside, you can just remove the area rug. The hardwood damage will depend on what kind of hardwood you have.
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Old 02-12-2018, 05:29 PM #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: wheelchair question: indoor/outdoor

Kristina,

Here is a long answer to your simple question.

Private insurance (United Healthcare) bought my first wheelchair, the C500s VS.

I purchased the other three wheelchairs myself.

As you surely know, new wheelchairs are very expensive. Fortunately, used wheelchairs can be quite cost-effective.

There are some tricks to buying a used wheelchair

1. You must have access to someone that can work on a wheelchair, which is sort of a cross between working on a bicycle and working on a car. They are pretty simple things and the Permobil service manuals are readily available online, so it is pretty straightforward to figure out what needs to be done them.

2. Used wheelchairs are unlikely to be configured in a way that suits your needs. Adjusting the wheelchair to fit you perfectly is really of paramount importance. Making this happen will likely require new or used bits and pieces, which can be pretty expensive. I have spent about $1,000 each to fit my used wheelchairs to me. It can require new seat plates, new backs, new cushions, different armrests, lateral thigh supports, lateral thoracic supports, new controllers, etc. Being able to look at a used wheelchair and accessing how many things need to be changed is a key part of cost-effectively procuring them used.

3. Be sure to buy a gently used wheelchair. Wheelchairs have a limited life. I suspect there are people driving wheelchairs with 0ver 10,000 miles on them, but, really, most folks never reach 500 miles. The Permobil wheelchairs have a command sequence that allows you to look at the total miles on the chair. My used Permobil C500 Corpus 3G wheelchair had 26 miles on it when I bought it. My used Permobil C350 wheelchair had 35 miles on it when I bought it. The Magic Mobility X4 does not have this feature. Once we got it home we took a look at the motor brushes and determined that it had very little use (probably well under 100 miles).

4. The components of wheelchairs change over time, even for the same brand and model. You can't just order up a leg rest actuator (for example) for a C500 and assume it will fit on all C500s. Fortunately, all Permobil wheelchairs have a serial number. A quick call to Permobil with that Serial number and they will tell you exactly how the wheelchair came from the factory and what part number(s) are needed to replace things that might have broken or worn.

5. You can buy new parts from a Permobil dealer, such as NuMotion, but be prepared for that to take a very long time and cost a LOT of money. It took me 7 months to get a new set of batteries through them and a new set of tires took even longer! Fortunately, you can buy the parts from online retailers. I have had great luck buying used parts from ebay. I have also found Permobil dealers with an online presence. I can't bill these used parts to insurance, but I can deduct them on my taxes.

6. When you find a used wheelchair that meets your needs, buy it immediately. In my experience, the good ones just don't last on the market. There are folks scouring the internet looking for good used wheelchairs to buy and then resell.

7. I have found all my used wheelchairs on craigslist. One of them was purchased from a health thrifty store (kind of like a Goodwill for medical supplies). That one required me to sign a statement that the wheelchair was for me and I did not intend to resell it. All the others went to me because I was the first one there to buy it.

8. You need some way to get the used wheelchair home. Fortunately for us, our wheelchair van will accommodate 2 wheelchairs. If you are mobile enough, you can leave your wheelchair at home while you go wheelchair shopping. If you don't have a wheelchair van, you can look into public transportation options or wheelchair van rentals.

9. Be prepared to buy new batteries for your wheelchair. Two of my used wheelchairs had good batteries in them, but one of them had no batteries (I took a pretty big leap of faith buying that wheelchair, but it was a model I really wanted and they rarely come up on the used market). I recommend MK gel batteries. A pair of Mk group 24 gel batteries will cost about $500 online (including shipping). They will cost close to $1,000 through NuMotion.

10. Before embarking on a search for a used wheelchair, or a used wheelchair van for that matter, be prepared for some emotion to be involved. I had not figured out that the reason many folks sell these items is they have just lost their loved one that used it. Know that in buying their used equipment you are probably doing them a favor. Looking at it that way helped me some.

Good luck figuring out what to do.

One final thought is that you should consider the trip hazard your area rug poses. Falls are not good! As you probably already know, wheelchairs and area rugs are incompatible. The wheelchair tires tend to bunch up the rug under the wheelchair and then you get stuck.

Steve

Last edited by swalker : 02-12-2018 at 05:42 PM
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