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VA Approved Power Wheelchair - Any idea what brands or kinds they provide?

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Tbird

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The past few months have been medically challenging. One of the things going on is that my Orthopedic doctor says we have reached the end of what we can do for my knees and shoulder. Because of various risk factors, I am not a suitable candidate for a TKR.

The arthritis will continue to get worse, and currently, the pain is so bad I cannot walk; I was on anti-inflammatory meds that helped. Had another ulcerative colitis attack, so no pain meds for me. They don't want me taking anything that has ulcer risks. 

They said someone would call me to schedule an appointment to see which chair would work best for me. Just curious what I might be looking at. I've heard it can take 3 - 6 months actually to get the chair. We will see. Any input is appreciated.

 

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40 minutes ago, Tbird said:

The past few months have been medically challenging. One of the things going on is that my Orthopedic doctor says we have reached the end of what we can do for my knees and shoulder. Because of various risk factors, I am not a suitable candidate for a TKR.

The arthritis will continue to get worse, and currently, the pain is so bad I cannot walk; I was on anti-inflammatory meds that helped. Had another ulcerative colitis attack, so no pain meds for me. They don't want me taking anything that has ulcer risks. 

They said someone would call me to schedule an appointment to see which chair would work best for me. Just curious what I might be looking at. I've heard it can take 3 - 6 months actually to get the chair. We will see. Any input is appreciated.

 

My hold up has been the lift for the car so I could take it with me to the VA and any trips I wanted to make. 

Mine was ordered months ago.  Almost a year.  The wheelchair is at the deliverer who will install the lift on my car. March 18 is the day the lift is to arrive.

When you go to your appointment, you will get lots of choices.  Scooters to heavy wheelchairs.  I am sure you will find a fit for you and where you live.  I am getting the six wheel that turns on itself for tighter turns.  Operates by a joy stick so with arms and hands degenerating, it seems to be the best choice for me.  It will be heaver than a scooter. Scooters are nice, but I can afford one if I decide I would rather have it part of the time.

They can put you out the door on a manual.  The electric ones require a visit to see the accessibility of the place you are and where you will shelter the wheelchair and plug it in. 

If you need a ramp or a threshold ramp, check with OT before you do a Benefits side house revision.  You use the benefits side up quickly.  Best save it my OT suggested.  The guy who will install my ramp to the living room entrance and its threshold ramp will be at my place tomorrow.  The one from OT.  I would still be waiting for approval from the benefits side to get a ramp I applied for nearly a year ago.  The ramp being installed with have handrails and be 16 ft long aluminum because it is uphill to the step up to the landing and then a threshold jump to get in the door.  Has to have a wood threshold ramp so the storm door will be sure to open unless the have an exact fit.

Take a look around your place and decide where it is going to go and how much ramp you need.  The advantage of the OT ramp is they have them and will pick them up and remove them if you leave, move to a bigger place or what ever.  And they come in all kinds of shapes.  I saw one in Cheyenne that went in a bend around the house to get high enough for the stoop.

Hope this helps.  I think you are in a better area to get set up faster than I am going to be. 

 

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Site still will not let me in.  I will try re-registering tomorrow.

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Posted (edited)

If you want to be pro active, my advice is to go to your local medical supply store that sells them.  Explain VA has apparently ordered one.  ASk them if they have equipped them for Vets.  Then, pick a chair (you probably can even test drive them) that is comfortable, and has features you like, similar to if you were buying a car.  

You need one that works for YOU.  First, Im sure you know how much you weigh, so some chairs work better for more/less weight.  Then, since I think you have a van, that means you want one that will work with that.  The weight of the chair is important, I have no idea if you will have help to lift the chair when you travel or not.  Nor, do I know how much your helper can lift.  

The max speed of the chair, battery life, will be different things to think about that are different for different people.  

Look them up:

https://www.forbes.com/health/medical-supplies/best-electric-wheelchairs/

https://www.usnews.com/360-reviews/services/best-electric-wheelchairs

My advice, as always, is to do your homework, and remember the 5 P's. Proper Preperation Prevents Poor Performance.  

Using the sources I listed, or others, I recommend you narrow it down to at least 3 choices:

1.  Your favorite.  Has all the goodies you want.  But it may be too expensive for VA.  

2.  Your "budget" favorite.  In case VA says, "Oh, we wont pay xxxx, yu have to find one for yyy".  

3.  At least one or two backups, in case the order time of the above is too long.  

BEST:  Stay with models "in stock" locally, where they can/will service and fix the chair, and not put it on a boat to China for 3 years for repairs.  The service is super important because "stuff breaks".  Batteries go bad, wheel bearings fail, parts go bad, electronic contorllers fail, etc.  Avoid ordering from catalog when possible, and order models in stock from your local company.  Ask them if they work with VA.  

Extra credit:  Call or visit your local VAMC proshtetics dept.    Ask them.  If you can, go tot he waiting area, ask other Vets the wheel chair they have, and if they like it.  

Source:  I did my homework when I got my Total knee replacement.  I investiged the doctor, the knee, spoke with other vets and people waiting to see the doc.  They raved about the doc and how good he was about knee replacements.  I got a great result with my knee replacement, as I did my homework well, and applied the 5 p's.  

Try for an "A" in powerchair selection.  

Edited by broncovet
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They just finished measuring form the ramp for my wheelchair to go to door to the living room instead of the solarium.  Takes about two months to delivery.  That would make it super-fast compared to VABA house modifications.  And for those renting, much easier to get landlord approval.  When you leave, the ramp leaves, back to the way it was.

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