Need help configuring new Permobil F3 power wheelchair

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lgelb

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Rob,
Absolutely, you need a display. It is not optional. Everything Steve says is true. I forgot to say that when I first posted! I am aghast anyone considers that a luxury.

>5 degrees of anterior tilt is not any kind of inherent risk for death! The ATP may not understand ALS and that you will be with your wife, Rob. As Liz says, a chest support [frequently one that my company makes, called the Monoflex™, is supplied] and either the knee block made by Permobil or the Evoflex® made by us, used across the mid-thighs, can protect PALS and everyone else from sliding in anterior tilt. In later disease, when the trunk/head are very weak, you would simply not use it or ensure that someone was holding on to the PALS' torso -- basically hugging them, when they were tilted forward.

Again, anterior tilt could still be important in pain relief at that point, since most people are uncomfortable with their back pressed against any kind of chair, let alone a wheelchair, all day. It could also help with clothing/blanket adjustment, using a urinal, and positioning a lift sling.
 
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Buckhorn

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This is what came on our Permobil F3: "Permobil Joystick Module w/Bluetooth" (PJSM) , which I assume is what you are referring to as the LCD module? We have not yet begun to fully appreciate everything that this model does, but it can control your t.v., cable, satellite, etc. It is also iOS voice over functionality, which I have no idea how to take advantage of yet, but it sounded like a good idea! I am pretty sure Medicare completely paid for this joystick module. We have an excellent BlueShield plan as well, but I don't recall them paying anything towards this chair. The only thing we had to pay for out of pocket was the seat lift function, which I highly recommend for easing assisted, stand-pivot transfers in & out of bed, when the PALS is still able to tolerate/assist with this.

We chose the solid tires because we live "in the country" where we have no pavement & no sidewalks .... our driveway is loose stone, the township road is stone, and most of our property is grass. I choose solids tires because of the risk for puncture. Our hybrid wheelchair has pneumatic tires but the sophisticated 4 wheel independent suspension of the Permobil helps to negate the otherwise rougher ride that is associated with the solid tires. I have driven both of our chairs on the loose driveway stone and I can't say that I've noticed a rougher ride on the Permobil.

I am showing my ignorance here, but could "Fix a Flat" work on pneumatic wheelchair tires? I'm not sure, but I thought they made a product for both tubeless and tubed tires?

I am interested in reading more opinions regarding the headrest. Ours came with the standard headrest, but my PALS has trouble with allowing his neck to extend/relax against the headrest & I don't see a way to lenghen it (height).

Dave's Permobil also has the adjustable back system; can't say we have investigated all the possibilities regarding future options regarding various configurations.

We may be looking at alternative hand controls (T-control, etc.) because Dave has finger curling & spasticity and ever-increasing hand weakness. I am also interested in companion assisted controls but need to spend some time looking at this as well.

Eventhough we have our chair, I have appreciated reading everyone's advice and experiences with their chairs.
 

lgelb

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Buckhorn, often, the headrest was not mounted at the highest point. It should be sitting on a stem you can raise and lower, and remove it to insert a different one or put more padding inside. Many (probably not the standard one) are also adjustable as to angle at a given height. There are many other options like lateral supports on the headrest. It is obviously very important to comfort so worth checking into.
 

swalker

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I want to chime in again and offer some unsolicited advice. This is something I don't often do. I offer this advice in the spirit of being helpful. I did not "get" this until well after I got my first wheelchair.

In the end, it is your decision to make, but I want to give you some things to think about in making that decision.

You have questioned the value of allowing the insurance company to spend an extra $1,000 on the LCD controller vs the LED controller.

I offered some reasons why I think the LCD controller is very much worthwhile (to me)...so much so that I am on the hunt for a used LCD controller to replace the LED on the used wheelchair I recently purchased.

I would like to explore one of those reasons that may seem unimportant. The controller has a readout for the time of day. I mentioned that it is hard for me to expose my watch, so being able to glance down and see the time of day on the LCD controller is important to me.

You indicated you did not think that provided much value. I understand that from a CALS perspective it does not. But, for a moment, consider it from the PALS perspective.

We lose the ability to do so many things. Giving up being able to know the time is just another thing we might have to give up. As a CALS, you can walk to another room that has a clock, pull out your cell phone and look at the time, glance at your watch, or ask someone what time it is.

As a PALS, I don't walk to the other room, it is hard to pull out my cell phone, and it is hard to expose my watch to look at the time. I am always cold, so always wear a long sleeve shirt and one or two jackets on top of that. Getting to my watch is difficult. As my speech becomes more affected, it is difficult to ask someone the time.

For both CALS and PALS, life will get progressively harder. I am in favor of using any and all adaptive equipment to make our lives as easy as possible (though, by no means easy).

I could not imagine turning down an LCD controller option just because it does not feel right to have the insurance company pay for it. Even if I have to fund (a used) one out of my own pocket, I am more than willing to do so.

As an alternative, I could stick a small clock on the wheelchair. Likewise, I could mount a bicycle computer on the wheelchair to give me a readout of my trip distance. But those are not designed to be easily used by folks with failing hand and finger strength.

So, I encourage you to rethink your position about some of the options. If your concern is persuading the provider that you need this, then find different provider. It should be obvious to the provider that PALS really does need all of this stuff.

Steve
 

lgelb

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Totally with Steve. An LCD display would generally be considered standard for a PALS, esp. knowing driving may be mixed and matched. A power chair is a heavy motor vehicle and information is safety, apart from considerations like having a clock (we mounted a pocket watch on the joystick plate when my husband could still see it).
 
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