A New Decade of ME Research: The 11th Invest in ME International ME Conference 2016
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Manual Wheelchairs with Power Assist

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by nettle_tea, May 28, 2018.

  1. nettle_tea

    nettle_tea

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    Has anyone here tried a manual wheelchair with a power assist attachment, like this one?



    I'm just starting to look at wheelchairs, and in many ways this seems like an ideal solution for my needs. I could have the power of an electric wheelchair, the maneuverability of an ultra lightweight chair (which I would need inside my house and on public transit), weatherproofing, and a total weight of only about 30 pounds. I've heard amazing things about the Smart Drive from people with POTS and EDS, but I've never seen a review from anyone with ME.

    The price tag is the scary part - $6000 for the attachment alone, plus $1500+ for the wheelchair. And my insurance probably wouldn't cover it. But if it allowed me to keep my job for a few more months, it would basically pay for itself.

    Here's a review post covering several power assist devices, by someone with POTS and EDS.
     
    alkt likes this.
  2. Silencio

    Silencio Senior Member

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    Have you looked at the Whill Ci? It is also portable, about $4000, and available in UK only in Europe right now. I would love one! http://whill.us/
    I looked at this option too, the smart drive, but I worry with my brain fog that the operation of it would be difficult. Do users rest their hands on the moving rims? I feel like all that sensory feedback would be difficult.
     
    alkt likes this.
  3. Sundancer

    Sundancer Senior Member

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    Holland
    i have been looking at this one



    friend of mine (wheelchair user himself) warned me about the too small actionradius.
     
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  4. nettle_tea

    nettle_tea

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    Yeah, I think the SmartDrive would be better for people who can get around a little bit on their own, as using the power mode in very small spaces looks impractical. Users don't have to put their hands anywhere in particular, you just need to make a tapping motion to control it via the wristband. In terms of functioning, I have been mild and I'm now dipping into moderate territory, but I still work part time. I am alert enough to feel comfortable operating something like that, but my legs are more severely affected than the rest of me!

    Those Whill chairs look are cool! I hadn't seen them before. I see a lot of people say good things about the KD Smart Chair, but like the Whill, it would still be too heavy for me to set up myself. There are about 5 steps to my front door, so I'd need something extremely lightweight that I could take inside and outside.

    My other big concern is winter! I live in Boston, where the sidewalks are a mess of snow, slush, and salt for up to 5 months. I need something seriously weatherproof. And when (not if) I get stuck in a snow bank, I'd want to be able to un-stuck myself.
     
    alkt likes this.
  5. nettle_tea

    nettle_tea

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    Well, I'm out on medical leave now. I've decided to get the ball rolling on a wheelchair assessment while I still have my awesome insurance. I don't have my hopes up for getting the power assist attachment paid for, but if I'm lucky, hopefully I can get a nice chair covered.
     
    Misfit Toy and Binkie4 like this.
  6. nettle_tea

    nettle_tea

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    Update: My insurance APPROVED my wheelchair and Smart Drive. I didn't even have to appeal! Now I'm just waiting for the chair to be delivered. Hooray!

    I'm solidly in moderate ME territory now, and unable to continue working. I'll be back in touch with how the wheelchair is working out! I'm hoping to visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston!
     
    CJB and Judee like this.
  7. Cath

    Cath

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    Australia
    Wow @nettle_tea, that’s fantastic that your insurance approved everything for you.

    Enjoy the museum!

    Cheers,
    Cath
     

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