Wheelchairs?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
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  • #28556
    Jane
    Spectator

    My back has got to the point where I have to bite the bullet and find out about wheelchairs, so that I can get out more with my husband in particular. I’ll ask the hospital about borrowing one, but we may well hire one in the first instance and then look at buying one. I know they vary greatly and it would be good to have any hints about choosing a good one – for the pusher as much as the pushed.

    Trying to be positive about this but it feels a big an unexpected step, which I guess many people have to take to improve their lives.

    Thanks,

    Jane

    #28557
    susanliang
    Participant

    Hi Jane, you can hire a wheelchair free from the Red Cross for up to 4 weeks. Another option would be to sign up with Shopmobility, if you have one locally, and try out their chairs and scooters. Some disabled living centres will carry out an assessment of your needs. Factors to bear in mind are:
    Will you be self-prpoelling or do you need a chair which someone else pushes?
    Does it need to be light for you or someone else to fold and put into a car?
    Do you need a powerchair?
    Do you want a scooter, these can also be lightweight and foldable.
    What is your weight, and do you have any control of your legs, asyou must get a chair or scooter which is appropriate for you.
    Most supermarkets and garden centres now provide chairs and some have scooters, so you could try out a few there.
    Needing a chair is a difficult step psychologiacally but it can also be liberating.

    #28558
    Rob
    Participant

    Hi Jane

    You are about to purchase a whole new way to get around. There are several sites that go in depth and they are worth researching. Needs are so different, but divide the chair up into sections. The seating, the wheels (incl tyres) , the portability and the acessibility it needs to provide together with the overall width. Take a bit of time because it is your new legs and you know how you miss them and to substitute aint easy. When you think you know roughly where you are heading try plenty of suppliers and imagine the different applications that you require. It is important and the detail will make things so much easier. If you can borrow anything for a start point from your local health centre or somewhere do so. If you get it right first time you have done very well. There are thousands on the secondhand market relatively cheap which is where I started and you normally get back the money you parted with after you have found out…
    Good luck and all the best Rob

    #28559
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Might sound a silly suggestion but you might want to look on ebay and other type second hand places once you’ve decided what kind of chair you want. There sometimes will be hardly used cheaper ones which might be useful to you while you experiment which suits you best.

    #28560
    Jane
    Spectator

    Thanks so much, all of you, for your really useful (and not at all silly) suggestions. I can walk but not very far and only when I’m prepared to write off the rest of the day. Since my problem is with the upper back (thoracic spinal fusion gone wrong) it would probably be difficult to use my arms effectively to push myself. I shall start investigating!

    Jane

    #28561
    Rob
    Participant

    Just a small addendum Jane
    Look at both large and small wheeled as large are easier to push. Try both solid and air tyres and look for additions to aid the “pusher” like foot bars to make kerbs easier etc. My experience tells me that adding to afterwards is expensive as nothing much is universal, In my area a first secondhand wheelchair is around £50.00 and there are plenty to go at. Refining is the expensive time so that is the time to be clued up. You will be fine and the “stigma” soon evapourates into thin air. My only hint is that people are viewing you from above and little are they aware vice-versa!!!

    #28562
    organiclemon
    Participant

    Do remember that there are some grants available for purchasing wheelchairs. every locality has a disability action group who can advise you on how to get hold of some money towards this.Some groups actualy help you with your application as well.

    #28563
    Di
    Participant

    Don’t be tempted into buying a second hand wheelchair. You do really need to have one that fits you and you need to be measured.
    When social services referred me for one, the occupational therapists at the hospital said there was a 12 month wait before I could even be assessed. Howevere the practice nurse at my GP’s did the measuring and assessment the very next day, ordered a chair for me which arrived 2 days later. I could choose what kind I wanted and chose a lightweight one with removable wheels so it would pack in the car easier. There’s really no need to buy one if your GP will refer you for one. Mines a lovely sparkly racing red!

    #28564
    Jane
    Spectator

    Thanks, everyone. I gather I won’t be eligible for any assistance towards the wheelchair (or dla) because I’m not yet at the end of the medical investigations and treatment, so this gives me some valuable guidance for loans/cheapish options etc. Nice to think it might be temporary but I don’t think so, so might as well be able to get out. It is good to know one is not alone in this kind of situation.

    Jane

    #28565
    Di
    Participant

    You don’t have to be eligible as such for a wheelchair or get DLA. Speak to your GP about the benefits, tell him it will allow you to get out more and could actually increase your mobility because you could push it firther than you would normally try to walk, knowing you have a way to get back when the pain is bad. He can just get his nurse to fill in the forms. There’s no question of payment; it’s just a matter of whether you need it.

    #28566
    Rob
    Participant

    Di and Jane

    I am confused here. It could well be that your Doctors practice have provisions outside the NHS and benefits system as mine do. Normal practice for wheelchair measurement is for the condition and the application. This is not altogether physical body sizes but the easing of pressures on body parts as well and the passage throughout the main home and other frequently visited places. It is moving on to an extremely complex issue whereas my understanding is that Jane is looking to get short distances with the assistance of her husband for a limited period of time. My practice does wheelchair loan even long term, but specialised O/T measurement together with patients notes is entirely different and in all probability within the benefits system. DLA is not a means tested benefit and if Jane has problems getting around she should apply. How she then uses that award is up to herself.
    You are obviously well conversed with a system that certainly I am unfamiliar with. Is it possible to add further detail as I purchased my own?

    #28567
    Jane
    Spectator

    Rob – I don’t know anything much at all, this is all pretty much new to me, but understood that for dla you have to be sure that you won’t improve in the next 6 months (and get medical report to that effect). I have not been able to say this since the first surgery 18 months ago, and even now the hope is that after (eventual) physio/rehab’biofeedback I might be quite a bit improved, so it makes sense to wait until after that before I apply. That was what I was told at the practice anyway. I woudn’t want to apply for something I’m not entitled to, and it might mean that if I apply again later, at the end of the line of medical investigations, that having been refused previously might be held against me. It does all seem a bit of a minefeild.

    Jane

    #28568
    Rob
    Participant

    Hi Jane

    I have in the back of my mind that Di works hard in these areas and will possibly be able to help you further. I will opt out on the thread and hope that she can. I was intrigued because I paid for my wheelchair where it is apparent I may not have needed to.
    All the best Rob

    #28569
    Di
    Participant

    Jane, firstly a previous refusal for DLA will not count against you. The only criteria there is that once you have been refused, you can’t apply again within 6 months.
    The criteria for actually applying is the opposite to what you have been told. It’s not that you must have the condition for the next 6 months. You have to have had it already for at least 6 months so don’t wait- go ahead an apply. The forms are a nightmare and most people get refused first time. Just read the rules and appeal against their decision. When filling in the forms, don’t hold anything back. Tell what it’s like at its very WORST. It’s difficult for most people to write the very owrst down. We try so hard to manage and find ways round difficulties but you really have to tell it how it is WITHOUT any extra help or on a good day.
    As the wheelchair, what I worte is exactly what happened to me. OT told me they would be 12 months before they could asess me but suggested I go through my GP. He agreed it would help and his nurse simply had a form to fill in with a lot of questions and measurements. The chair arrived a couple of days later and the company have been out twoce to service it and fix the wheels. It’s all on the NHS and all free. My GP doesn’t have any special arrangements anywhere. It was a straightforward request from my GP.

    #28570
    Jane
    Spectator

    Di, thank you so much for putting me right – I realise I could have applied a year ago, when I first made enquiries and was misinformed. I’ll see about it straight away,

    Jane

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