Technology Series

Bright Ideas

ATPs & Clinicians Name Their Assistive Technology Favorites in Our 6th Annual Best Picks Contest

ATP and Clinician Best PicksFor the sixth straight year, we asked seating & wheeled mobility professionals for their “go-to” solutions in complex rehab technology.

The Best Picks celebration has always been a little free-wheeling, no pun intended. We don’t provide a ballot pre-populated with manufacturer names and products; this isn’t a multiple-choice exercise. Instead, ATPs and clinicians organically choose products they want to mention. Best Picks, while not all inclusive, do offer candid insight into the product traits and qualities treasured by today’s professionals.

The success of each year’s Best Picks project rests entirely on the ATPs and clinicians willing to offer their opinions on the industry’s technology… on their own time and without compensation. Some Best Picks come from ATPs and clinicians who work for manufacturers — and sometimes, those professionals actually nominate products developed and sold by competitors.

We’re grateful to every ATP/clinician who devotes time to our annual project, and we’re especially sensitive to those who go out on a limb to point out a competing product. Where you don’t see a name attached to a Best Pick, we’ve kept that person’s identity confidential. But be assured that they are industry professionals with clinical and/or ATP credentials, and that they, like all our participants, must truly have consumers’ best interests in their hearts.


F3 Power Wheelchair BaseF3 Power Wheelchair Base

It just works!

— Jeff Cupps, ATP, Numotion

Permobil
(800) 736-0925
permobil.com


Focus CRFocus CR

Secure and smart tilt: These features make uncontrolled tilting no longer an issue. I used to hang onto wheelchair push handles to make sure that when tilt was activated, the seated individual would not be “dropped” or jolted into tilt. Very scary when that happens!

Ki Mobility
(715) 254-0991
kimobility.com


Smart DriveMX2 Smart Drive Power Assist

Smart Drive is my Best Pick for power assist because of ease of use for my clients. It is the lightest weight and most portable power-assist device that I have seen. It can be used wherever the client goes without any restrictions. It does not add any weight to the client’s wheelchair and can be used when needed and not used when not needed. It is so versatile and easy to use for the client as well. It is very intuitive and I think every active manual wheelchair user should have one!

— Erica Walling, PT, Brooks Rehab

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


Little Wave FlipLittle Wave Flip

A great transition for the kiddos and their parents who still want a stroller concept, but have outgrown the appropriateness of a rehab stroller. Can put any seating on it, and love the way it folds!

— Anne Kieschnik, ATP, CRTS, Numotion

Ki Mobility
(715) 254-0991
kimobility.com


Acta-Relief BackrestActa-Relief Backrest

The product that has most impressed me this year is the Acta-Relief back from the Comfort Company. It seems that I have struggled, throughout my 30-year career as an ATP, to find a back that accommodates a kyphotic posture well, and allows provision of lateral supports. This back allows both, and provides comfort and support for this population. I have had great success with it.

— Mala Aaronson, OTR, ATP, CRTS, National Seating & Mobility

Comfort Company
(800) 564-9248
comfortcompany.com


Jazzy AirJazzy Air

The Pride Mobility model Jazzy Air is a non-coded motorized wheelchair that comes standard with a power seat elevator that adjusts up 10" in 16 seconds. With the Active-Trac suspension providing stability, it will drive 3.5 mph when elevated. Being able to drive and use the power wheelchair in an elevated position raises the user’s eye level, helping with many social and environmental tasks.

— Rick Graver, ATP, Medtech Services Inc.

Pride Mobility Products
(800) 800-8586
pridemobility.com


Titan Power ChairTitan Power Chair

The Titan power chair is the ideal solution for providers facing the challenges of Medicare competitive bidding. Helping to maximize profits, the chair is attractively priced and coded with Medicare as K0816, K0821, K0822 and K0823. The K0821 codes means the Titan can be disassembled, without tools, so that no single component weighs more than 55 lbs.

Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare
(877) 224-0946
drivemedical.com/devilbiss


Focus CR Power TiltFocus CR Power Tilt System

So many other power tilt systems reduce the range of tilt when they’re added to manual wheelchairs. The Focus CR’s power tilt system preserves the entire range of tilt for maximum clinical efficacy.

Ki Mobility
(715) 254-0991
kimobility.com


Acta-BackActa-Back

I like the Acta-Back for adults and pediatric clients who have some kyphosis/lordosis, but are not ready (or cannot get funding ) for custom seating. It also allows for easy add on of trunk laterals.

— Matt Wattenbarger, PT/ATP, Numotion

Comfort Company
(800) 564-9248
comfortcompany.com

OmnilinkOmnilink

The Omnilink is hands down the most durable, secure and stable lateral system which offers what seems like unlimited combinations of positioning. Finally, a lateral system which can accommodate for width, height, adjustability, change in patient position, address pressure relief at the trunk and stay in place when mounted. I cannot emphasize this enough. As a therapist assistant, I see clients with tone, both hypertonicity which has been known for bending, breaking and mispositioning laterals in the past, as well as patients who are hypotonic and cannot support their own torso, thus requiring aggressive support to maintain position.

The Omnilink applies to any type of client. I have yet to see a patient who is in need of lateral support who does not benefit from the Omnilink. The Omnilink’s range is unparalleled. A single Omnilink can accommodate for changes in weight, season, clothing, client progression, you name it. It only came out a couple of months ago, but already I can tell, I’m going to be saving my clients a lot in equipment costs with the Omnilink. As a physical therapy assistant, I spend the majority of my time troubleshooting and fixing seating systems and/or referring the patient back to the PT for equipment recommendation. The Omnilink has found a solution for age-old stabilization problems and given the world of wheelchair seating a much-awaited industry leader in a lateral system.

— Cathy Houston, PTA, Precision Seating Solutions LLC & Memorial Health System

Adaptive Engineering Lab (AEL)
(866) 656-1486
AELseating.com


Mo-Vis JoysticksMo-Vis Joysticks

The Mo-Vis line of joysticks offers compact, flexible functionality. The Multi Joystick can be used in traditional positions or elsewhere, such as the chin, finger or lip. The Micro Joystick requires just 10 grams of force to operate due to extraordinary sensitivity. The All-Round model is compact and has two jack inputs for switches. The versatility of the Mo-Vis line gives ATPs and clinicians a world of options.

Stealth Products
(800) 965-9229
stealthproducts.com


Solara 3G

Solara 3G

You can do the “tape” test, where you place tape on the person’s back at the level of the top of the back support. Then when placing this backrest angle into recline, the tape remains visible on the seated individual’s back. This indicates that the Solara 3G’s backrest angle and backrest contribute to the reduction of shear and friction. When seated in other similar manual wheelchairs, the backrest angle reclines/opens, and accommodation is not made during this movement. This results in the individual and the backrest no longer supported, with the head often coming off the backrest and the lateral thoracic pads becoming “earmuffs.”

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


M300 Corpus HDM300 Corpus HD

This heavy-duty power wheelchair [was] designed specifically for users up to 450 lbs. The M300 base is highly maneuverable and has been both extended and widened for the HD model, while the suspension has been strengthened for an overall more stable platform.

Permobil
(800) 736-0925
permobil.com


Zing MPSZing MPS

This stander is great with the early intervention population. It is easy to put the child into it in supine and then in one movement, without having to move hardware, tray, etc., you can go into prone. This makes it easier to place the child into the stander. Also, it is the only stander this small that has the ability to abduct each hip up to 30°. As hip abduction has been shown to be protective for hip dislocation risk, this is a real plus!

— Lauren E. Rosen, PT, MPT, MSMS, ATP/SMS, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital

EasyStand
(800) 342-8968
easystand.com


Squiggles Seating + Kimba BaseSquiggles Seating + Kimba Base

Love the positioning it provides for our little ones. It grows, it tilts and reclines, it’s crash tested, and most importantly it is therapist and parent liked and approved!

— Anne Kieschnik, ATP, CRTS, Numotion

Ottobock
(800) 328-4058
ottobockus.com


Tarta BackrestTarta Backrest

What can I say — this is pure genius. Adjustable. Customization to the max. From the custom graphics to the deep contour (great shape for trunk/thoracic support) and breathability, this is functional and beautiful.

Stealth Products
(800) 965-9229
stealthproducts.com


Evolution CushionEvolution Cushion

When all else fails and we trial the Evolution cushion, it almost always comes up big. A foam and air cushion, the Evolution does not require a hand pump because it fills itself when the valve is opened and the foam expands. Sit on it, open the valve, let out air, close the valve and you have a “custom contoured” seat cushion that is very lightweight. Excellent for use on an ultralight chair when trying to reduce as much weight as possible.

— Chuck Hepler, ATP, Numotion

VARILITE
(800) 827-4548
varilite.com


Dual ProDual-Pro Head Array

Finally, a proportional head array with the ability to program different forces for each pad. It’s possible to use the back pad as a headrest, without having to power off the device… outstanding flexibility and application options.

— Ian Kingscote, ATP, Numotion

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


Touch Drive 2Alternative Electronics

Great representation from customer service, products work, and they are flexible with improvements and customizations.

— Jeff Cupps, ATP, Numotion

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


iLevel + Q6 Edge 2.0iLevel + Q6 Edge 2.0

iLevel is very functional, and the clients love it. Great product support from rep and manufacturer.

— Jeff Cupps, ATP, Numotion

Quantum Rehab
(800) 800-8586
quantumrehab.com


Embrace ATIEmbrace ATI

I like the Embrace ATI to accommodate mild/moderate obliquities that can be adjusted, but will stay in the desired position. I also like the simple option of covers.

— Matt Wattenbarger, PT/ATP, Numotion

Comfort Company
(800) 564-9248
comfortcompany.com


PivotFitPivotFit

I love the Bodypoint PivotFit harness because it gives my cerebral palsy clients a good amount of upper-body support and needed movement all at the same time. It is easy to put on and take off when going in and out of the chair, as well as when it needs to be completely removed for washing. It is a very well-designed product that provides flexible support and comfort.

— Michelle Frank, ATP, Ability Evolution

Bodypoint
(800) 547-5716
bodypoint.com


SuperStandSuperStand

Now you can use a stander for a person with knee flexion contractures while preserving hip range of motion. The new knee contracture brackets from Prime Engineering can be added to any SuperStand stander. Traditional sit-to-stand devices link the amount of hip and knee flexion so that you cannot bend one joint without bending the other. This new system allows for full adjustments on all planes and can accommodate severe asymmetries.

— Ginny Paleg, PT, DScPT

Prime Engineering
(800) 827-8263
primeengineering.com


Java CushionJava Cushion

We’ve been seeing a lot of success with this cushion for users of all sorts of diagnoses, such as spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and even Alzheimer’s. It does a wonderful job of protecting the skin by offloading bony prominences and improving air circulation, and it promotes upright sitting by preventing posterior pelvic tilt. For fans of Ride custom seating, this is the off-the-shelf cushion we’ve been waiting for!

— Desmond Wiles, ATP/SMS, Numotion

Ride Designs
(866) 781-1633
ridedesigns.com/java-cushion


Acta-Embrace BackrestActa-Embrace Backrest

For pediatric back positioning, I haven’t found anything that beats the Embrace back. The moldable bars in the backrest surface meet needs pre- and postspinal surgery, as do the ultra-adjustable/moldable lateral thoracic (and hip, if desired) support pads. They can be configured to even avoid arm interference when a child needs to self propel, and the upgraded headrest, swing-away lateral support hardware and backcane mounting hardware make it even more of a winner.

— Ian Kingscote, ATP, Numotion

Comfort Company
(800) 564-9248
comfortcompany.com


Evoflex Pelvic StabilizerEvoflex Pelvic Stabilizer

For pediatric or adult, this extra-strong, padded seat belt is an integral part of my tool kit in helping me manage those high tone patterns and keeping hips in place.

— Ian Kingscote, ATP, Numotion

Bodypoint
(800) 547-5716
bodypoint.com


KidWalkKidWalk

For more upright gait, [I use] KidWalk and appreciate the dynamic movement in all the planes of motion. Recently, [I] had some children with inseams that were 6” and less. KidWalk was just too high. [I] contacted Prime Engineering, and they told me about their extra-small early-intervention model. Now I have all the features I love, for my itty-bitty clients.

— Wendy Altizer, PT, ATP, Milestones Physical Therapy

Prime Engineering
(800) 827-8263
primeengineering.com

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Mobility Management.

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