Best Picks 2013

In an industry as customized and individualized as seating & mobility, “favorites” can be a loaded word. What is a wonderful solution for one client may not work at all for another — even when diagnoses, prognoses or clinical conditions are similar.

But while a complete consensus about a product may be impossible, among ATPs and clinicians who spend their days working with complex rehab clients, there are trends — products that have worked repeatedly, or ones that have proven to be especially easy to adjust, particularly convenient to service, blessedly durable even for active clients.

This year’s “Best Picks” as named by clinicians and ATPs certainly have those traits in common. Many of them also multi-task — they accomplish more than one function — or they put independent mobility within reach for more clients. Our thanks to the professionals who shared their experiences…and if you have a “Best Pick” of your own, just let me know.

— Laurie Watanabe


SmartDriveSmartDrive

This is truly an innovative design/solution for individuals striving to stay independent in a manual wheelchair. The design is lightweight, easy to put in place and remove by the individual, and provides the speed to truly engage in outdoor mobility.

— Lois Brown, MPT, ATP/SMS, Rehab Clinical Education Specialist, Invacare Corp.

Great alternative to power assist for many people. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and easier to load into a vehicle than many of the other systems out there.

— Lauren Rosen, PT, MPT, MSMS, ATP/SMS, Program Coordinator, Motion Analysis Center, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital of Tampa

We have seen exceptional outcomes paired with a great consumer response. This power-assist device is quite universal, lightweight and intuitive to use.

— Ryan Hagy, MOT, OTR/L, ATP, Area VP of Sales, Numotion

Max Mobility
(800) 637-2980
max-mobility.com


Quickie QM-710Quickie QM-710

I love the smooth ride of this chair, and it handles rough terrain, curbs and obstacles beautifully. The SpiderTrac suspension is incredible. One of my clients is driving this chair with a Peachtree head control unit, and the smooth ride is perfect for that driving mode.

— Tamara Kittelson-Aldred, MS, OTR/L, ATP/SMS, Community Medical Center, Missoula, Mont.

Sunrise Medical
(800) 333-4000
sunrisemedical.com


HeadPodHeadPod

This is a wonderful device for children who struggle with head control. It off ers gravity relief to help kids hold up their heads, without propping and doing it all for them (like more traditional collars). It can actually help develop stronger head control while letting kids participate in activities with their heads up! This is the most positive option for kids with challenging head control situations that I have seen in ages.

— Tamara Kittelson-Aldred, MS, OTR/L, ATP/SMS, Community Medical Center, Missoula, Mont.

Pacific Rehab (distributor)
(888) 222-9040
pacificrehabinc.com


TRAMTRAM

The Rifton TRAM is an amazing all-in-one transfer and mobility device. The features that make the TRAM so unique are the versatility and easy-to-use design.

For example, one customer needed a lift device that she could use alone to care for her mother. She also wanted to give her mother the opportunity to safely bear weight. With standard lift devices she would need another caregiver to assist. Lift-tostand transfer devices would not work due to her diagnosis; however, the TRAM was versatile enough to adapt to her daily needs.

Another customer needed several devices such as a transfer device, stander, gait trainer and scale. His large stature and instability had halted gait training, required two to three staff for transfers, and weight monitoring was impossible. The TRAM has allowed him to resume gait training, transfer safely and be weighed, all while being safely supported in one device that can be operated with one staff instead of two or three. The scale also allows physical therapists to measure weight-bearing progress.

— Kelly Mackenhausen, RTS, Wheelchairs Plus, Grand Rapids, Minn.

Rifton
(800) 571-8198
rifton.com


F-SeriesF-Series

The new Motion Concepts F-Series gives clients up to 12" of lift for environmental access without any sacrifice in seat-to-floor height. Systems with tilt, recline and 12" power elevating seat can now have seat-to-floor heights as low as 17" with no sacrifice in function.

— Lois Brown, MPT, ATP/SMS, Rehab Clinical Education Specialist, Invacare Corp.

Motion Concepts
(888) 433-6818
motionconcepts.com


F-SeriesRodeo

The folding and tilt features are very convenient for parents of special needs children who cannot afford a van and need to put the chair into the back of a car.

— Joe McKnight, ATP/ SMS, VP Business Development, Aero Mobility, Anaheim, Calif.

Convaid
(888) CONVAID
convaid.com


RogueRogue

This is pretty innovative, especially with the relaxposition back angle.

— Joe McKnight, ATP/SMS, VP Business Development, Aero Mobility, Anaheim, Calif.

Ki Mobility
(800) 981-1540
kimobility.com


M300M300

We like the M300 for its compact size and tight turning radius. It has a climbing and traction link system that gives it excellent maneuverability, and it has a quick-access design that makes it easier to service. We had a patient with a very tight 90° turn in his home who also needed power tilt, and this unit was able to make the turns and meet his medical need.

— Jennifer Bithell, Rick Graver & Randy Morris, ATPs, Medtech Services, Reno, Nev.

Permobil
(800) 736-0925
permobil.com


TRU-Balance 3TRU-Balance 3

The new TRU-Balance 3 Power Positioning System provides a clientfriendly seating system that off ers the option to easily add additional seating in the future. The system provides everything an individual could need from a power tilt, recline, or scissorlift elevating seating system. The ease of adjustability is a feature that therapists and ATPs will truly appreciate. Features of the TRU-Balance 3 include the ability to order seat width independent of back width; the ability to make fine adjustments while the client is in the chair (depth, armrests, back angle); width packages of 4" with ease of adjustability; seat sizes of 12"x12" up to 28"x28"; a weight capacity of up to 450 lbs. The client can pick two no-charge accessories at the time of order.

Quantum Rehab
(800) 800-8586
quantumrehab.com


Touch Drive 2Touch Drive 2

The Switch-It Touch Drive 2 is a proportional touch pad that allows a user to drive a power wheelchair. The benefit to this device is that the user continues to have proportional control over the power wheelchair with use of a joystick-type device. This device is based on the user providing touch to the device, not pressure, and offers a large touch pad size for someone who uses more of a gross motor type of movement. Any location on the touch pad the person initially touches becomes the start point on this device, so accuracy for a starting position is not critical for use. The Touch Drive 2 can allow individuals with weakness but who still have movement with their fingers/hands to independently drive a power wheelchair.

— Jay Doherty, OTR, ATP/SMS, Clinical Education Manager, Quantum Rehab

Switch-It
(800) 376-9888
switchit-inc.com


Micro MiniMicro Mini

ASL’s Micro Mini is an isometric joystick that requires almost no force to activate. If a consumer with very limited movement can rest a finger on the top of the joystick, just a slight deflection in any direction will allow them to operate a power wheelchair.

— Stephanie Tanguay, OTR, ATP, Clinical Education Specialist, Motion Concepts

Adaptive Switch Laboratories
(800) 626-8698
asl-inc.com


EvoflexEvoflex

The Evoflex pelvic support has a more “rigid” attachment and proximal aspect of the belt. It can make a tremendous difference in keeping the belt accessible to a consumer. I have always been frustrated with the webbing/strap being so pliable that the pelvic positioners can drop down away from the user… difficult to retrieve for many people, especially when you are sitting in the chair.

— Stephanie Tanguay, OTR, ATP, Clinical Education Specialist, Motion Concepts

Bodypoint
(800) 547-5716
bodypoint.com/evoflex


Lower-Extremity ComponentsLower-Extremity Components

Seating Dynamics, home of the Dynamic Rocker Back, has been busy with some new dynamic lower-extremity positioning/ support components. I love the variety of wheelchairs these items are available on. They have improved some of their designs and increased the number of manufacturers they are working with. Unique lowerextremity supports!

— Stephanie Tanguay, OTR, ATP, Clinical Education Specialist, Motion Concepts

Seating Dynamics
(303) 986-9300
seatingdynamics.com


Agility BackAgility Back

This solid positioning backrest can be used on any wheelchair: manual or power. Due to its unique attachment style, installation and adjustments can be done quickly and easily — even with the client in the chair. Additionally, clinicians can be assured that where they set the backrest, it will stay for years to come because of the grooves/teeth in all of the adjustable hardware. Furthermore, the backrest material is made of an upgraded composite that is even stronger and lighter than aluminum. Altogether, this equates to an extremely strong and stable back support for the user. Within the backrest are adjustable air-filled ROHO cells for improved comfort and a customized fit! The backrests come in a variety of sizes and heights, and can even be flipped top to bottom to ensure the most appropriate fit for individual users. One of my favorite things is the color swatch options that are in the backrest! These can also be changed to coordinate with an outfit or special occasion, which makes it more fun for users, too!

— Amy Morgan, PT, ATP, National Clinical Education Manager, Permobil

The ROHO Group
(800) 851-3449
therohogroup.com


FlexLocFlexLoc

The Ride Designs custom back supports with their FlexLoc multiaxial interface hardware offer an amazing orthopedic approach to back support in an aesthetically sleek method.

— Stephanie Tanguay, OTR, ATP, Clinical Education Specialist, Motion Concepts

Ride Designs
(866)781-1633
ridedesigns.com


Swing-away Amputee SupportSwing-away Amputee Support

It is padded and adjustable with a swing-away feature. We have found it to be durable and a great value for the patient.

— Jennifer Bithell, Rick Graver & Randy Morris, ATPs, Medtech Services, Reno, Nev.

Comfort Company
(800) 564-9248
comfortcompany.com


M300 HDM300 HD

I love having another option for my bariatric clients. It’s a very clean-looking system, and so far my clients have been very happy with the chair.

— Lauren Rosen, PT, MPT, MSMS, ATP/SMS, Program Coordinator, Motion Analysis Center, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital of Tampa

Permobil
(800) 736-0925
permobil.com


Matrx MX-1Matrx MX-1

The Matrx MX-1 Carbon Fiber Back support with the new Super-lite hardware for rigid chair applications is the lightest of the four hardware options available for this product. When every ounce of weight matters, this product off ers great support with the least additional product weight.

— Stephanie Tanguay, OTR, ATP, Clinical Education Specialist, Motion Concepts

Invacare Corp.
(800) 333-6900
invacare.com


PivotFitPivotFit

I like the new Bodypoint PivotFit Shoulder Harness: I think it will provide a better contour and fit for a variety of trunk shapes. (I wish I had that option for my personal backpack as well!)

— Stephanie Tanguay, OTR, ATP, Clinical Education Specialist, Motion Concepts

Bodypoint
(800) 547-5716
bodypoint.com/pivotfit


Planar SeatingPlanar Seating

Freedom Designs has been our choice for planar seating systems for some time. The ability to integrate their seating with their frames makes the setup easier with fewer adjustments later. The quality of their seating is excellent, and the representation from the factory is among the best.

— Jennifer Bithell, Rick Graver & Randy Morris, ATPs, Medtech Services, Reno, Nev.

Freedom Designs
(800) 331-8551
freedomdesigns.com


Quadtro Select High-ProfileQuadtro Select High-Profile

The high-profile ROHO Quadtro Select cushion remains our choice of cushions for patients with existing skin breakdown or who are highly susceptible to skin breakdown. The Floatation technology provides excellent performance for pressure relief, and the Quadtro feature allows for fine-tuned positioning while the patient is seated.

— Jennifer Bithell, Rick Graver & Randy Morris, ATPs, Medtech Services, Reno, Nev.

The ROHO Group
(800) 851-3449
therohogroup.com


Quickie Q7Quickie Q7

We like this ultralight manual wheelchair because it is easy to configure and is among the lightest in weight. The ovalshaped 7000 series aluminum tubing gives this chair a strong, rigid ride at an affordable price.

— Jennifer Bithell, Rick Graver & Randy Morris, ATPs, Medtech Services, Reno, Nev.

Sunrise Medical
(800) 333-4000
sunrisemedical.com


Q-GripQ-Grip

I really like this alternative to plastic-coated handrims. I have a few friends who are using them now, and they find them more comfortable and more durable than standard plastic-coated handrims.

— Lauren Rosen, PT, MPT, MSMS, ATP/SMS, Program Coordinator, Motion Analysis Center, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital of Tampa

Out-Front
(480) 833-1829
out-front.com/qgrip/


Aero TAero T

I like having another aluminum option for my clients. The weight stats are really good, and for an aluminum chair, the ride is really comfortable.

— Lauren Rosen, PT, MPT, MSMS, ATP/SMS, Program Coordinator, Motion Analysis Center, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital of Tampa

TiLite
(800) 545-2266
tilite.com/wchairs_aerot.php

This article originally appeared in the July 2013 issue of Mobility Management.

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