Tips for new power chair user?

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loridair

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Power wheelchair arrived a couple of days ago. Trying to get comfortable with it. A Quantum 6 Edge 2.0. Not a new chair (Kaiser DME is rental, not purchased for you). My feet don't touch the ground (I am 5.4) and the foot plate puts my legs in an uncomfortable position. OT says I should request adjustments. I plan to use and experiment for a few days before having someone come out. Controller arm is very wobbly. Also this thing is a monster, difficult to use in my narrow doorways, how do you get under a table, don't see it going into bathroom etc. Any suggestions for adapting, using around the house. Videos?
 

KimT

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You can get new hinges for your doors and buy 1-2 inches of additional clearance. I think they sell them at Home Depot.

You really need to insist in an adjustment. Until that time you can probably fashion some sort of block that supports your feet.

When I was first diagnosed I went out to eat once or twice a month with my support group. We went to restaurants and I was surprised to see how accommodating to the PALS in chairs. Some of them had no movement from the chest down. Their CALS fed them. It might be a wise investment to buy a high table (you can get them cheap) or put your existing table on blocks. I had a few items of furniture that I paid a lot for before my diagnosis and I had them put on blocks and stained. If you didn't know it you would think they were built that way. I had my nightstand raised six inches.

The other thing is make sure, especially when you're learning to drive, you're wearing hard shoes. You don't want to hurt your foot. Walls can be fixed. It's harder to fix a body part that gets in the way.
 

swalker

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Most houses need to be adapted before a wheelchair can reasonably be used in them. Especially bathrooms often need to be rearranged or enlarged to accommodate a wheelchair. "Big" and"power wheelchair" kind of go together.

The wheelchair should fit you perfectly. Accept nothing else. Your Q6 Edge can be adjusted in many ways and various seating parts can be swapped out for ones that fit you better. If they wheelchair cannot be made to fit, insist on getting one that does.

Your ATP and physical therapist should be able to measure you and identify what adjustments need to be made. My first wheelchair fit me amazingly well when it arrived. Still, over the next week or so we spent quite a bit of time fine tuning the fit even more.

I have tried several mid wheel drive wheelchairs and all of them suffered from caster jerk. For that reason, I decided to only have rear wheel drive and front wheel drive wheelchairs.

Of the mid wheel drive wheelchairs I have used, the Q6 Edge had the worst caster jerk and was very difficult to control. It suffered from tremendous caster jerk when the outlying caster wheels would need to switch direction. It would have been hard for me to use in close quarters, such as indoors.

Kim is right about wearing shoes with stiff soles. After a couple of years of wheelchair use, I developed a sore toe. It turns out I was running into things (typically doors as I was approaching them to open), and I was folding back the front of my tennis shoes (I wore them because they were light). The physical therapist encouraged me to switch to stiff-soled shoes, which I did. It has been a great improvement.

You might also encourage those around you to wear steel-toed boots as you learn to drive:). I was a bit of a hazard as I first was learning to drive my wheelchair!

Steve
 

billbell52

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I just got a Permobil M3, I had a Permobil M300. The caster jerk on the M3 is minimal. It has rounded front and rear wheels so I don't jerk like the M300 which has square wheels.. Search for "Brass Expandable Door Hinge Pair" on Homedepot. They give you an extra 2 inches. PWCs are too high for most desks. I had to get a special desk (search "computer desk with pull out keyboard- Office Depot) to accommodate the height. I still use a scooter to get on toilet. I'm planning to remodel bathroom. The M3 has 5 indoor speeds and 5 outdoor speeds. I put it on speed 2 initially to learn it. Now on speed 3. I was using Paratransit to go to appointments or visit places but it was a hassle. I finally got a slightly used Toyota Sienna VMI wheelchair van and added an EZ-Lock. Much easier to get around.
 
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billbell52

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I included a link in the original post but sysadmin removed it. The editor allows you to add links. Not sure why they remove them. Anyway, for desk search for this on OfficeDepot "Flash Furniture Contemporary Glass L-Shape Computer Desk With Pull-Out Keyboard Tray, Cherry"
 

lgelb

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Lori, your home should have been evaluated before suggesting a chair. If this one is too big for your doorways, you can ask for a narrower one, as Steve says. The depth, though, may be a dealbreaker when it comes to going into certain rooms like the bathroom. Also, it is not just doorways, but also fitting it to your own width. But you are not supposed to be able to touch the floor; that's what the footplates are for, but they should not hurt your feet.

You can find wheelchair driving tips here and there, but the top one is to have a wheelchair that you can make the most of your mobility in, to control the chair, relieve pressure, etc. That means fit and function, e.g. having enough leverage through postural support to make the turns and slopes that you need to make in your setting, for as long as you can.

I also like to remind PALS that there are many kinds of joystick handles if you find yours awkward or difficult, and there are midline mounts if you need to access your controls closer to your core rather than out to the side.

Let us know of any other "what do you have the right to expect" questions. How are the seat cushion and head rest?
 

blitzc

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I have a Quantum Edge 3. As for gettting under tables, use the lower seat adjustment and get it all the way down, lift thefoot peddles up, and slide the control to the side of the arm rest . These will get you up as close as possible.
As for getting used to driving, put your control to "Indoor Slow" then turn the right nob so that the yellow line for speed is at the lowest level. I have never used anything other than "indoor slow" in my house.
 

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