Advice for Wheelchair Assessment — Scope | Disability forum

Advice for Wheelchair Assessment

Hello everyone!

This week I (finally!) have an appointment for my first wheelchair assessment and I'm so excited to try for something that'll give me more independence. I understand from others that it can be very tricky to get the right thing and am not sure what I should be asking or what they key information is that will help them to find the right thing for me.

Specifically I'm an ambulatory wheelchair user and use an all-terrain power-chair for outdoor pursuits like nature-walks, going to the park etc. I need a manual chair for indoor use, that is as lightweight as possible so that I can push myself around when I have the energy.

Do any of you lovely people have tips or advice for seeking out the right thing? What kind of manual chair do you use and what are its advantages/disadvantages?

Any help greatly appreciated!
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Comments

  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 12,785 Disability Gamechanger
    @laura222 Hello and welcome to the community, I am also a wheelchair user but just use the normal manual chair from wheelchair services whicvh they made a few changes to make it narrower they changed the wheel grips to be closer to the wheels, I also use a scooter. I have been considering a  folding powered chair as I could store this in the house but be able to get out on it outside as I now rely on my son to get my scooter out and to the doorway so I can transfer. Sorry I don't really have any suggestions to make but I would say you need to try any chair to make sure it is fit for purpose and make sure you try it in all situations you are planning on using it for  
    I have professional experience in HR within public,  private, and charity sectors.  If I can help I will 
  • laura222
    laura222 Member Posts: 84 Pioneering
    Thanks @janer1967 Everything and anything is helpful!

    May I ask what the brand/type of chair it was that they gave you? Did they let you take the chair away for a trial before settling on the one that the issued?
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 12,785 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi it is a Lomax.  I was just given it after being measured by a physio I was in hospital at the time post amputation I wasnt given any choice or anything 
    I have professional experience in HR within public,  private, and charity sectors.  If I can help I will 
  • kazzza
    kazzza Member Posts: 12 Connected
    Hi 😊 
    I'd recommend getting the lightest chair you can, and the narrowest, as it's much easier to propel....someone described it to me as trying to do a push up with your arms directly underneath your shoulders rather than further out which becomes sooo much harder! so the narrower the chair, the easier and more powerful your propelling becomes. hope that helps x
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @laura222, I really hope the appointment goes well! :)
    Scope

  • April2018mom
    April2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    Hello @laura222

    My son had a wheelchair evaluation last summer. In the end we chose a wheelchair that would still give him independence. I spoke with his physical therapist as well. Definitely test out several chairs and make notes too. Feel free to ask questions. We were offered a choice in wheelchairs. I did a lot of research. 
    He has a manual one though. He does not actually need to use a powered wheelchair. 

    These are my top tips for finding a wheelchair-

    Ask for advice and suggestions
    Figure out your needs and wants too
    Do your homework properly as well
    Try out some wheelchairs
    Make notes
    Ask questions

    Good luck! 
  • laura222
    laura222 Member Posts: 84 Pioneering
    Thanks very much @April2018mom

    I definitely need to do some research. I've just had the appointment and feel a little deflated. I can only be offered something that helps me in one or two very particular situations, but wouldn't be useful for daily life in general. I feel now a bit silly for hoping that I'd get help to find something that would mean I could do more.

    I'm sure there are thousands of others who have the same dilemma of taking something that's free but you don't get to live the life you want to, or spending all the money you don't actually have on something that improves life. *Sigh*
  • pollyanna1052
    pollyanna1052 Member Posts: 2,032 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi Laura, I`m sorry you feel deflated after your WS appointment.

    I have found my WS team to be very knowledgeable and thorough.

    You say you are an ambulatory wheelchair user.....I guess that means you are able to walk a bit.

    My WS doesn`t give chairs to anyone who can walk at all.

    My chair is a Salsa Quickie.....mid wheel drive. If I were to buy one it would be £7,500!

    Pollsx
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @laura222, I'm sorry to hear the appointment didn't go well. I know my council are really strict with giving chairs to ambulatory users. As an ambulatory wheelchair user myself, I feel your frustrations. 

    What options were you offered?
    Scope

  • kazzza
    kazzza Member Posts: 12 Connected
    I'm sorry for you too. I hoped your area would be different as ours are the same and won't fund anyone that is an ambulatory wheelchair user which is unfair. I know not everyone can afford to do this but I got a loan so I could get the chair I needed...and I have never regretted doing that because of the change to my quality of life it has made. I believe there are all sorts of privately funded and charitable grants out there though which can be applied for if you fit their requirements and can't fund equipment yourself. x

  • laura222
    laura222 Member Posts: 84 Pioneering
    Thanks @Chloe_Scope - it's always good to find others who share the experience, even though it isn't a good one!

    I was offered a Dash Lite wheelchair which I'm going to try out - it's a definite positive that they said I can take one away without anything being set in stone.

    The thing I struggled with is that my arms are quite weak and I fatigue easily so I'd like to be able to use a chair that is as light as possible, as well as being supportive when I sit in it. It was a bit heavy for me and my butt was hanging out the gap at the back between the seat and the back of the chair. They suggested that I just shuffle forward, which meant I was getting no back support. I'd like a chair which would make me more independent, so that I could go out to work or to social occasions.

    Since I could 'make do' with the Dash Lite it's making me wonder whether I'm expecting too much, or whether that's just my internalised ableism speaking - haha!

  • kazzza
    kazzza Member Posts: 12 Connected
    Also don't forget the second hand market....If you know the model you need, and all the measurements, and can hold out for a bit, the exact chair can come up...and sometimes they are in fantastic condition (I got one that had been used part-time, just inside their house). There are also quite a few suppliers that sell shop display models or customer cancelled sales at knock down prices, just sometimes takes time again for the right size chair to show up x
  • laura222
    laura222 Member Posts: 84 Pioneering
    Thanks @kazzza that's a great tip! I'm hoping to go to Naidex and try a few chairs out so that I can get a good idea of what I need. Will keep a lookout!
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,565 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @laura222, I was offered something very similar. They aren't very light are they?

    I hope it doesn't go too badly, but I would definitely recommend going back if it doesn't work out. Like you said, you need something that supports your back. 
    Scope

  • kazzza
    kazzza Member Posts: 12 Connected
    If you work, could Access to Work help you? I don't know if they help with equipment like chairs?
  • laura222
    laura222 Member Posts: 84 Pioneering
    I'll have to look into that, I'm self-employed and mostly work from home with the occasional meeting to travel to. To be honest I end up going out to more meetings for voluntary work so I'm not sure they'd cover it.
  • kazzza
    kazzza Member Posts: 12 Connected
    ah yes, sounds tricky. Im certainly no expert though so may be worth double checking? x
  • laura222
    laura222 Member Posts: 84 Pioneering
    Hi @pollyanna1052. Glad you got sorted! My Mum has that chair too and it's worked out really well for her. :)
  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
    I have 2 wheelchairs and also a scooter but technically do not qualify for a NHS chair as, as I was told, I can walk more than 3 meters. It seemed even then a stupid qualification level as there is nothing in reach of even 2 steps (4m there and back). Originally I tried one out to use part-time through a charity group who lent out chairs and were very cheap to try out. I decided it was very useful in certain situations and finally purchased it cheap. However, as my condition deteriorated I needed a lighter chair than the classic wide wheeled steel chair and purchased an all aluminium one which I could still lift in and out of the car for a while. Now I mostly use the scooter and a boot fitted hoist system but I still keep the lightweight chair in the Motability vehicle, just in case. Having recently had a battery in the scooter fail at a bad time it seemed only prudent to carry an option. I can't remember the make of the lightweight chair as it's in the car and I don't use the car much especially since the battery fail. Too terrified of it happening again I suppose. I purchased the chair from a local company called TGA Mobility who are also online but in their showroom I was able to try out a number of chairs for comfort and ease of use.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • laura222
    laura222 Member Posts: 84 Pioneering
    Hi @Topkitten

    It's so awkward when you don't fit into one of the tick-boxes isn't it?

    It feels like it's going to be a long journey to find the right thing, and save up the money. I'm starting to think of mobility aids as shoes; I need a different pair for different situations. But unfortunately we can't just carry a spare pair in our bag to get out when the situation calls for it. If only life were like computer games and you could easily 'equip' the right thing at the click of a button!

    I'm sorry to hear that your worries about the reliability of your scooter battery are stopping you from using your car. Is it possible for you to have the company you bought it from have a look? Or provide a spare battery?

Brightness