Recent Articles

Manual Mobility: The Basics

17/12/2013

​This month, let’s go back to the basics and look at the different types of manual wheelchairs available.  As I have written in a previous Clinical Corner article, funding agencies for mobility devices vary province by province in Canada and each agency has different criteria on who is eligible to receive a manual wheelchair and which type or category of manual wheelchair can be considered for a qualified individual.  Each province also has its own classification terms.  For example, a particular model of a manual wheelchair may be in a certain category in one province and a different category in another province.  This month’s article will look at generic classification of manual wheelchairs at an introductory level.  The categories of manual wheelchairs include transport, standard, custom folding, custom rigid, and dynamic tilt.  Let’s take a look at each one.

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Weight Shifting and Pressure Management

22/11/2013

In the past, I have written about wheelchair cushions and how materials and product design affect skin protection.  This month, I would like to focus on weight shifting and its role in skin protection.

​Before we address the impact of weight shifting on pressure management, let’s have a brief review of what happens to our bodies when we sit, assuming we are sitting with a neutral pelvis; that is, that the pelvis is not tilted anteriorly or posteriorly.  When we sit with a neutral pelvis, the ischial tuberosities are the lowest point on the pelvis.

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Manual Wheelchair Prescription: Beginning with the Future in Mind

24/10/2013

In Canada, funding agencies for mobility devices vary province by province and each agency has different criteria by which a person may be eligible to receive a manual wheelchair and which type or category of manual wheelchair can be considered for a qualified individual. Therefore, it is difficult to make generalizations about funding programs, but, typically, funding sources consider funding the provision of a manual mobility device if a person is expected to require the device on a long-term basis (e.g., at least six months).  Please note that this is different from a temporary or short-term need, which is often accommodated through rental, which may be covered through a person’s extended health care benefits.  Thus, when looking at prescribing a mobility device for an individual for a long-term basis, therapists need to look at the future needs of the person.  Since funding cycles typically are a minimum of five years, therapists need to look ahead to anticipate a person’s future needs, in addition to immediate needs, to prescribe a mobility device that will work for an individual not only now, but also in the future.

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Early Intervention Devices

20/09/2013

​This month, I would like to focus on early intervention devices – also known as adaptive strollers.  We will look at what makes adaptive strollers different from mainstream, commercial strollers and why early intervention devices may be prescribed.

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Power Mobility: Comparing Mid-Wheel, Rear-Wheel and Front-Wheel Drive

13/08/2013

​If you have been following my blog, you will know that I previously have written a series of articles on de-mystifying power wheelchairs.  I wrote about batteries and motors, the controller, and selecting electronics.  These articles are available on my blog and can be found by using the Search feature in the upper right corner, or by looking through the “tags” section in the lower right corner of the blog if you would like to read more on these topics.  This month, I would like to continue to focus on power mobility, by comparing mid-wheel, rear-wheel and front-wheel drive power wheelchairs, as it is important to understand how drive base affects the performance of a power chair.

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Customizing Off-the-Shelf Seating

13/06/2013

​Off-the-shelf seating works well for the majority of people who use wheelchairs; however, there are some people who require either customization of off-the-shelf seating or, for those who have more complex needs, custom seating systems.  This month, I will discuss some of the modifications that are available in off-the-shelf seating that address skin protection, positioning needs, or personal choice.  Some modifications can be done by a therapist in the field.  For example, closed cell foam can be carved using an electric carving knife.  If done at the factory, many of the customizations involve no additional charge, but to be sure, check the order form.  If the customization is not listed on the order form, it does not necessarily mean it is not possible – it may simply mean it is not a frequently requested modification.  Checking with the customization department of the manufacturer will give you all the information you need about possibilities and prices.

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Specialty Controls for Power Wheelchairs

17/05/2013

​Recently, my colleague, Ron Claughton, Account Manager with Sunrise Medical, and I presented on specialty controls at the Canadian Seating and Mobility Conference (CSMC) in Toronto. Not only did we discuss various specialty control options, but we also demonstrated the use of specialty controls both live and through videos. Therapists and vendors were given the opportunity to drive power wheelchairs using alternate input devices. Hands on is a great way to learn, but of course, not everyone is able to attend CSMC, so I thought I would share some information on specialty controls in this month’s blog article.

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Prevention of Sliding in Seated Mobility - Part Three

06/02/2013

In my last article, I wrote about some of the common equipment and musculo-skeletal factors that influence the potential for sliding while seated in a wheelchair.  This month, I will discuss how features of generic seating and wheelchair configuration may assist in preventing sliding, depending upon the person’s clinical presentation.  Considerations for seating contour, correct angles, and gravity and how they may assist in preventing sliding will be discussed.

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