Power wheelchair seat elevator idaho montana oregon washington

Benefits of Seat Elevators on Power Wheelchairs

Power wheelchair seat elevator idaho montana oregon washingtonWhile modern technology and the advent of power wheelchairs allow wheelchair users to move more easily and quickly both inside and outside, wheelchair users often find it difficult to participate on the same level as other individuals who do not suffer from a lack of mobility due to their inability to raise and lower themselves. Individuals who must use a wheelchair for their main source of mobility are positioned at a lower height than those who are able to move standing up. This lower height can make it difficult for patients in wheelchairs to reach items on higher shelves, transfer out of their wheelchair to their bed or a toilet independently, and generally participate normally in the world with minimal help from others. Seat elevators for power wheelchairs can serve as a solution to these chronic problems which wheelchair-bound individuals face every day.

Seat elevators is an add on power function that allow patients to lift and lower the seats of their wheelchairs while they are seated in them. They operate through an electromechanical lift system and can be easily controlled at all times by the wheelchair user. These devices are designed to make mobility easier, safer, and more comfortable for wheelchair-bound individuals as well as allow them to participate independently from a seated position in a world designed for those who are able to move without the use of a wheelchair. Seat elevators have many benefits for wheelchair-bound individuals, including pain reduction, increased self confidence and social skills, and increased independence.

Reduced Pain and Ease of Transfer
Seat elevators can help reduce pain for wheelchair-bound individuals in a number of ways. They allow these individuals to transfer themselves more easily into their bed or a chair, onto a toilet, or onto the the floor or a lower surface without injuring themselves or requiring help from someone else. This ease of independent transfer can help reduce pain and strain on an individual’s knees and hips and reduce the need for extensive strength in their extremities.

Increased Self Confidence and Social Skills
Seat elevator devices allow wheelchair-bound patients to communicate on the same level as most other people. When they are interacting with someone who is standing up, an individual in a wheelchair can use their seat elevator to lift their seat in order to be at eye level with the person they are speaking to. This ability to raise themselves to the same level as their family members, friends, and colleagues can have a significantly positive impact on wheelchair-bound patients’ self confidence and social skills.

Additional Independence
In addition to being able to transfer themselves more independently, individuals with wheelchair seat elevators are able to function in the world as a whole without as much dependence on others. They are able to lift and lower their own seat in order to sit at a standard height at any table. When they go to the grocery store, they can lift their seat to reach the items they need on higher shelves without asking for help. Wheelchair users with seat elevators are able to function more independently as a whole in stores, restaurants, and even in their own home.

Of course, a consumer must be evaluated by a physical or occupational therapist but also a medical supplier with a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) to determine if a power seat elevator is a good solution for the wheelchair user’s condition and environment.    Often times, funding does not cover the cost of a seat elevator but their may be some alternative funding options available to add the seat elevator to a new power wheelchair.  American Seating and Mobility’s staff of ATPs at our branches in Fife, WA, Portland, OR, Billings, MT or Post Falls, ID can work with you and your healthcare team to determine if a seat elevator is a good solution for your unique situation.

Ultralight Wheelchairs: A Revolution in Wheelchair Manufacturing

tilite zra

Manual wheelchairs are a necessary part in the lives of millions of people worldwide.  Many of these individuals who suffer from a temporary injury, such as a broken bone or recovering from some other injury, may require the use of a wheelchair to get around temporarily. However, others are plagued with chronic illness, diagnosis or have endured a severe injury that has forced them to remain permanently in a manual wheelchair. For patients whose daily lives are inextricably tied to their wheelchair, the comfort, support, and ease of transport of the chair is vital to their quality of life. Unfortunately, many manual wheelchairs often force patients to sacrifice or compromise on these important factors due to construction that is designed to fit the needs of a large generic group of people rather than cater to the specific preferences or needs of a unique individual.

Ultralight wheelchairs are a special type of wheelchair that can solve this problem for many patients who require the permanent use of a wheelchair. These wheelchairs are a fairly new development in the world of wheelchair manufacturing. They are constructed to be as light as possible and are designed with alterable parts that can be customized to fit the exact needs, specifications, and preferences of the patient using the chair. Ultralight wheelchairs are revolutionizing the wheelchair industry because their goal is to adapt as closely as possible to the individual using them, whereas with standard manual wheelchairs, patients are forced to adapt their needs to fit a universal wheelchair.  Here is a great video by TiLite, an ultralight wheelchair manufacturer, which will help you understand how the benefits of an ultralight wheelchair:

In order to be considered an ultralight wheelchair, a wheelchair generally must weigh less than thirty pounds. Many ultralight wheelchairs weigh as low as twenty-five, sometimes even twenty or less pounds. This extremely low weight allows patients to transport their chairs easily and creates less impact on the shoulders for every push of the wheels. It makes the wheelchair easier to load into cars or onto public transportation such as trains or buses. This ease of transport allows wheelchair users to travel more places and live a more normal daily life without having to worry about the weight of their wheelchair holding them back.

Many parts of ultralight wheelchairs can be customized in order to achieve the highest levels of comfort and support for each specific patient. Most ultralight wheelchairs allow patients to adjust the chair’s caster angle, frame angle, footrest height, center of gravity, seat height, and more. Ultralight wheelchairs are also constructed to preserve the health of the patient using it. Each wheelchair is designed with an optimal back support height, leg to seat surface angle, foot support, seat length, seat to back support angle, and more.  All of these standard wheelchair features are carefully designed in an ultralight wheelchair to ensure the position of the patient in their chair provides the most effective support for their body, maximizes wheelchair propelling efficiency and does not cause additional injury or worsen their health in any way.

For example, if a wheelchair’s back support is too high for the individual, it can gradually begin to limit the range of motion of their upper extremities. An ultralight wheelchair eliminates this and similar problems because measurements of the wheelchair user is taken into consideration when building a wheelchair for that particular customer.

Ultralight wheelchairs seem to be the wheelchair of the present and future. Their customizable design and incredibly lightweight construction allows many patients to live a more active, fulfilling life without suffering from discomfort or pain in a wheelchair since it adapts to their unique needs.  Ultralight wheelchairs might be the most difficult product to evaluate a client for since every wheelchair is custom built for a specific person.

That’s why you must be sure to find a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional on staff with a supplier to work with your healthcare team to be evaluated for specific configurations as well as seating and positioning components.   American Seating and Mobility has over 10 of these professionals on staff at our 4 branches in Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.  Contact us today to schedule a comprehensive seating  and mobility eval along with your physical or occupational therapist.  We supply ultralight wheelchairs by TiLite, Sunrise Medical (Quickie) and many other manufacturers.

High end power wheelchairs have many benefits for consumers

QM-7_BeautyPeople with disabilities which restrict their mobility have dramatically experienced improvements in their lives due to this innovative technology that keeps on improving day by day. The seating options of a power wheelchair are enhanced by its ability to tilt, recline and elevate the leg rests. These features have made the power wheelchair an essential part of everyday living for people who need rehabilitation such as those suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or other progressive diseases.

In this article the focus will be narrowed down to the power seating functions that come with one of these chairs.

Allows for dynamic movement

Having a power wheelchair allows the individual to shift between different postures throughout the day. The postures help a great deal in keeping the patient productive and functional at all times. The periodic movements also ease pain on the person using the chair, thereby enhancing comfort.  Being able to move in a wheelchair by accessing power seating function or by not restrictive seating systems can make a huge difference in achieving more freedom in the wheelchair user’s activities of daily living.

Pain, Fatigue, and Sitting Tolerance

The ability to change one’s sitting position increases their comfort levels. Sitting for too long in one position is known to cause pain due to pressure and improperly configured wheelchairs can increase the discomfort tenfold. Functional activities and sitting stability are greatly increased by tilting the seat for 50-150 with a reclining angle of about 950-1100.

Realigning posture

Incorporating seat functions into the daily activities of people with disabilities of different kinds helps in carrying out daily tasks and in self-management. Gravity assisted positioning is enhanced by such seats since the different terrains can be balanced with the tilt of the seat. People with muscular dystrophy and children with spinal cord injury and/or cerebral palsy find this function to be invaluably useful in carrying out daily activities.

Physiologic and orthopedic implications.

Improving postural alignment has been seen to help individuals achieve better visual orientation, speech, respiration, arousal and alertness and in carrying out bowel and bladder movements with ease. It also aids in managing orthostatic hypotension. Risk of injury to the patients’ shoulders, as well as to the care givers, is reduced by a great margin thanks to the seat functions that are available in a power wheelchair.

Managing Edema

Elevating leg rests can be used in combination with tilt to raise the legs to about 30cm above the heart. Tilting the chair by 30 degrees while the leg rests are fully reclined improves lower limb hemodynamic states significantly. This can be one way of managing edema.

These, among many others, are the perks that come with having a high end power wheelchair with seat functions that help with the ergonomics. Many patients who have had power wheelchairs have reached their goals of handling daily tasks thanks to the multi seat functions that allows them to take different postures.

As you can see, there are many benefits of a high end power wheelchair.  You must always work with your healthcare professional such as a physical therapist, occupational therapist and/or physician to determine if a high end product is the solution for you or your loved one.  Part of your high end wheelchair and seating evaluation requires a supplier with a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional to be part of this important process.  American Seating and Mobility has over 10 of these professionals on staff and has successfully worked with and provided these high end wheelchair solutions for hundreds of consumers across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.  Contact a local branch in your state today to set up an evaluation.  We have extensive experience with Permobil, Sunrise Medical, Quantum Rehab and other high end wheelchair manufacturers.

12 Physiological Benefits of Tilt-in-Space Chairs

manual tilt

Many different types of wheelchairs are available on the market. However, tilt-in-space wheelchairs (manual or powered) offers a wide variety of benefits to certain consumers which cannot be obtained by a traditional seating system without the ability to force a weight shift by tilting. Throughout the day, people keep changing their positions. They sit up, tucking their feet under the chairs for some time, and then they slouch and stretch their legs out. Tilt systems have traditionally been used by clients who require pressure relief. However, they are beneficial in many other ways as well. Here are 12 physiological benefits of a tilt-in-space wheelchair.

#1: Pressure

People move, on average, 30 times in an hour when they are seated. However, those suffering from cerebral palsy, muscle diseases and head and/or spinal cord injuries may not have the strength or ability to change their body position and provide relief to the pressure points. It is important that they reposition themselves at least once every 15 minutes to prevent development of ulcers. If a person sits for too long without changing his/her positions, even the best cushions would not be of any help. A pressure of 32 millimeters of mercury is sufficient to constrict a capillary. Even if a person using a ROHO cushion is positioned properly without tilt, the pressure exerted is approximately 40-60 millimeters of mercury. Tilt-in-space wheelchairs allow users or caregivers to change their position, enabling them to shift pressure away from one point and redistribute it over a larger surface area.

#2: Shear

The problem with reclining is that pressure gets transferred to the sacrum, the triangular bone at the bottom of the spine. This pressure, referred to as shear force, causes discomfort and breaks down the skin fairly quickly. Studies show that tilting the wheelchair by 20 degrees helps to significantly reduce shear force. Further, a tilt of 25 degrees eliminates shear.

#3: Management of Edema

For optimal management of edema, the legs have to be positioned either at the level of heart or above the heart. It is not possible to achieve this either by elevating the leg-rests or using tilt alone. A tilt-in-space wheelchair enables the user to do both in conjunction to achieve optimal results.

#4: Postural Hypotension

In order to manage acute symptoms like dizziness associated with orthostatic hypotension, the patient has to be maintained either in a semi-recumbent or recumbent position. This can be achieved only by using a tilt-in-space wheelchair, which allows a combination of recline, tilt and elevation of leg-rest.

#5: Positioning

Tilting is helpful in preventing a patient from falling forward when he/she is in sitting position. It is also beneficial in passively correcting scoliosis (lateral curvature of the spine) and kyphosis (convex curvature of the spine).

#6: Stability/Balance

Tilting enhances the patient’s feeling of security as the possibility of falling forward from the sitting position often makes him/her very apprehensive. Additionally, tilt ensures stability, especially when going down a slope.

#7: Endurance/Fatigue

The tilt-in-space wheel chairs are designed to minimize the fatigue caused when patients holds his/her body upright for a long period of time. This type of wheelchair option, therefore, improves the overall sitting tolerance or endurance of the patient.

#8: Independence

Patients who experience the least discomfort when sitting are often more productive. Users who are able to spend more time in their wheelchair and out of their bed will have more opportunities for participating in day-to-day life along with others in the household, greatly improving their quality of life.

#9: Vestibular System Stimulation

The tilt-in-space wheelchair is the best option if the patient requires vestibular system stimulation. The tilt system is helpful in orienting the patient’s head and trunk position. This in turn helps to improve the line of sight of the patient.

#10: Patient Lift Transfers

Patients that need 90 to 100 percent assistance for getting into and out of bed can pose a great deal of injury risk to both patients and caregivers. Tilt-in-space wheelchairs help to greatly reduce this risk since the caregiver can tilt the client fully. It reduces the effort required for positioning the patient.

#11: Back Pain

The anterior annulus of a slumping patient (whose spine is flexed) experiences 50 percent more pressure than when the spine is in its natural position. This can cause back pain. This can be avoided if a tilt-in-space wheelchair is used.

#12: Comfort

Comfort may not be a medical necessity, but the patients need to be seated comfortably in order to feel better. Therefore, comfort contributes a great deal to improve the condition and recovery.

Summarizing, Medicare looks only at medical necessity when it comes to skin management. Actually, pressure relief is just one aspect of patient care. It is important to look at the bigger picture and make use of a tilt-in-space wheelchair to provide proper care to a patient. Further, all of the aspects discussed above apply to both the manual and powered tilt-in-space wheelchairs.

American Seating and Mobility has a staff of qualified ATPs who are experienced in the evaluation of providing the correct tilt-in-space wheelchairs, along with working with physical and occupational therapists to provide the most appropriate seating systems for consumers.  Our dedicated staff specializes in this type of equipment from the initial evaluation process all the way through to the delivery and service aspect of the product delivered.  We have four branches covering Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho.  Contact your branch today for all of your wheelchair, seating and positioning needs.