Old 06-19-2012, 12:25 AM #1 (permalink)
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Default Power chair options

What are the options that PaLS suggest when ordering a PWC? For future reference for me


I am feeling slow and unsteady with my walker when I am in public. Thinking of ordering a PWC in the near future, but worry about how to go places with it.

How do PWC users get around if they do not have a van ?
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:34 AM #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power chair options

I was wondering that too! We plan on getting a van. When, I don't know.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:15 AM #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power chair options

Hope someone gives some answers/opinions/advice. I'll be watching as well.
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:05 AM #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power chair options

Our ALS Clinic nurse sent me the following e-mail when I asked what we needed for Dad:

"yes your dad needs power tilt power recline, power elevating and articulating, leg rests with calf and leg supports. he needs head rest, contour back, ro ho cushion, joy stick, attendant control, lateral thoracic supports, contoured arm rests that are removeable or swing away making transfers easier. If the VA will pay for it a power elevating seat is nice for transfers and accomodating various table /counter heights
stephanie"

In our county, there is a van service for elderly and disabled. For a relatively small fee, they'll take you anywhere - even outside the county.
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Old 06-19-2012, 09:29 AM #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power chair options

Richard (my hubby)was given by a friend of his a pwc lift that will attach to any vehicle that has a receiver. It folds flat to bumper when no pwc is on it. Has a ramp that that goes to ground & you drive pwc on it....then secure pwc with built in straps. It runs off of battery so it is easy to lower & raise. Hmmmm.....IF only I HAD a pwc or power scooter I could try it out. I have been wanting just a scooter for now. KY ALS only has pwc's & I still haven't gotten a response for my scooter request from my local MDA/ALS. I had seen FREE for the taking power scooters & pwc's in our local paper several months ago before I knew I would need one. Now that I could really use one there are no cheap ones to be found.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:38 PM #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power chair options

Vans are the best for transport, My son's pick up has taken it out twice now, thankfully it hasnt rained, was loaded on driving up Atv ramp my daughter had. Been looking for van here, yeah not happening soon but will trade a vehicle for one, one of these days.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:46 PM #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power chair options

Work with an experienced provider and they should know what to order... also order it before you lose the ability to stand and transfer, as the insurance will not pay for the lift feature if you can't. And the lift feature is very good to have for a number of reasons besides making it easier to transfer.

I haven't taken my pwc out yet, but am looking for a portable ramp to put on the side of my van for now... taking out one of the captain's seats to fit. Only a temporary measure, but I can't afford even a decent used wheelchair van, so I'm still using my trusty scooter to go places with, as it comes apart. Also could use a transport wheelchair I suppose, if you could get the pwc on the back of your car/truck lift.
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:25 PM #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power chair options

Sorry... Duplicate post.

Last edited by BrianD : 06-19-2012 at 04:39 PM
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:38 PM #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power chair options

My two cents worth...

Ask your ALSA chapter for a recommendation on which company to use so you get one that knows everything needed for ALS, and is known for responsive customer support.

Insurance usually won't cover the lift/elevator feature although there have been a few people that managed to get that covered. It is definitely worth having if you can afford it.

Really be realistic with what you think your capabilities will be in terms of how you will control it using the standard joystick. There are different types of joystick shapes which can make a huge difference when hands are weak. While no way to know exactly when someone's arms and hands will get too weak, make sure to plan well enough in advance of when it happens to get some alternate drive controls in place before needing them.

ROHO seat cushions work well, and I needed a ROHO back cushion as well.

Some taxi companies have units that can strap in PWCs. But for personal use a van will usually be needed. While the lift things in the receiver can work early on, that won't help when unable to transfer without a lift. Some have made portable ramp with standard van work somehow, but can be hard because of how tall we are in the PWC. I think a lowered floor is needed for most. Just make sure whatever approach is use the wheelchair is strapped down securely if you are in it.
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Old 06-19-2012, 05:08 PM #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power chair options

Yahoo! we found a van yesterday! it was on that famous guy's list (wink wink) we had to drive about 125 miles but had it checked at the local Ford dealer and it just needs a few minor repairs. it's a full size econoline van with a braun lift (not ramp) on the side. i'm excited to try it out tonight!
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Old 06-20-2012, 08:03 AM #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power chair options

In my case we have one of those cheap basket type carriers that attach to the receiver in the rear. The carrier does have a ramp that lowers to load the chair. My kids or wife must load the chair as there is no way that I can do it. We rarely take the power chair with us as it's just a horse to transport. Most trips only require the manual chair. It is not a good idea to strap 275 lbs. to the rear of the mini van but right now it's the only way we have got. Perhaps one day we will have a real van to use.
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Old 06-20-2012, 08:53 AM #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power chair options

We make do with a transport chair for outings, but the transfer in and out of the car are becoming increasingly difficult for me. The transport chair does not have removable arms so the use of a transfer board is not possible. A van would be ideal, but just not in our budget right now.
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Old 06-20-2012, 11:54 AM #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power chair options

This was handled at our ALS clinic; once it was time to get the chair, all the paper work was done by them. The referrals were sent for the evaluation by a rehab PT & the DME company that would provide the chair. They know what is needed and will include that in the forms that go to medicare.

All we had to do was call & make the appointment- went to the rehab hospital, the PT & DME rep were there to coordinate. They will walk you through the process- it is their job to provide you with what you need.

If you want to compare, there is a thread called "Wheelchair Specifications" on the tips, tricks & gadgets forum. Starter was member DgtofTNfan posted 2/7/2010. (thanks Dana)
(oh Lori....) She lists the actual invoice from her dad's chair.
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:25 PM #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power chair options

Here is the thread

Wheelchair Specifications
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:24 PM #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Power chair options

Thanks to all for comments and links. So helpful. I have been using a walker now since 2010, but as I said I have been moving a lot slower and see another change a coming. I do go to an ALS clinic at UVA, and they have been pretty good. I am also lucky to have a wonderful ALS chapter that helps me a lot. They got me a scooter that I use to garden in my yard and ride around the neighborhood.

Congrats to Susan for getting a van.
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