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ATPs & Clinicians Share Their Best Picks for 2017

Best PicksIt’s time again to reveal the complex rehab technology (CRT) products that ATPs and clinicians named this year’s Best Picks.

We asked ATPs and occupational and physical therapists specializing in seating and wheeled mobility to name the rehab products that impress them.

As always, the Best Picks list of rules is short. We did not provide a list of products or manufacturer names to choose from; Best Picks are not multiple choice responses. Respondents were free to name as many or as few products as they liked, in any CRT category, so long as the products are currently available for general distribution in the United States and/or Canada (see sidebar). ATPs and clinicians employed by manufacturers or distributors were not allowed to nominate products sold by their companies. That’s it.

ATPs and clinicians have the freedom to nominate a recently launched product that’s newly impressed them, or one that’s produced successful outcomes for years. And of course, ATPs and clinicians self report their favorites. They receive no incentive from us, aside from our request to contribute to the story.

Here, we include their 2017 choices and their explanations, in the hope that opinions from your peers can help you in your own clinical settings. Our gratitude to the industry professionals who took time to nominate products they believe are making a big difference. — Ed.

Helio Manual Wheelchair

Helio C2The Motion Composites Helio line is great in that with just changing the center brace, you can have a heavy-duty weight capacity of 350 lbs. with no additional weight of the chair. The chair already is the lightest K0005 I’ve ever used, so having an ultralight heavy-duty unit is nice. Also, the parts compatibility is really good across the Helio line. The carbon upgrade is competitive with titanium upgrades of other chairs, but cuts a huge amount of weight from an already light chair. This material is a game changer for weight: Titanium wasn’t really any lighter than the newest aluminums, but carbon is way lighter.

— Jeff Decker, ATP/SMS, CRTS, National Seating & Mobility

Motion Composites
(866) 650-6555

M3 Corpus

M3 CorpusThe integrated mouse/Bluetooth module allows mounting to the rear, which allows alternate drive clients to interact with their environment when funding sources are limited. The caster wheels’ new shape allows changing direction without a lot of unintended movement, which is crucial for an alternate drive client.

— Jeff Decker, ATP/SMS, CRTS, National Seating & Mobility

M3 is a great progression of Permobil’s mid-wheel-drive chair that users find very appealing functionally and aesthetically. The anterior tilt Active Reach options are changing the way we can view transfer solutions, and it also allows users to accomplish activities of daily living in a safer and easier way, including reaching into high cabinets and beyond obstruction.

— Robert Houston, ATP, Numotion

(800) 736-0925

TR Wheelchair

TR WheelchairThe fixed titanium TiLite (TR, pictured) is my go-to chair mainly with spinal cord injury (SCI) clients. There is no need for growth or major adjustment with post five-year-plus clients, so getting rid of the numerous adjustments allows for a much lighter chair and no excess wear/slop in the fixed chair from years of use. They hold up to the rigors of an active SCI client for years with little or no wear/breakage.

— Jeff Decker, ATP/SMS, CRTS, National Seating & Mobility

(800) 545-2266

multiCHAIR 6000

multiCHAIR 6000I use the Nuprodx line [multiCHAIR 6000, pictured] of bath transfer equipment mainly due to the ability to adjust for varied bathroom layouts, the narrow width of the transport section, and it’s made of metal vs. plastic. This allows for very little wear/breakage with years of use, and it can handle additional support pieces, such as trunk laterals and headrests.

— Jeff Decker, ATP/SMS, CRTS, National Seating & Mobility

Nuprodx Inc.
(707) 934-8266

Alber e-motion & Twion Power Assists

Alber e-motion & Twion Power AssistsI look at power assist in two categories: push assist and self propel. [With] push assist, I think the e-motion wheels are the standard, with the ability to adjust how much it amplifies your push. And now with the smaller, Bluetooth-enabled Twion set, it cuts weight in half.

— Jeff Decker, ATP/SMS, CRTS, National Seating & Mobility

Invacare Corp./Alber
(888) 426-8581

SmartDrive MX2 Power Assist

SmartDrive MX2 Power AssistI have a client who couldn’t push his manual [chair] more than 40 feet and needed power, but didn’t have a vehicle to transport the power. The new SmartDrive MX2 power assist has solved that problem for him. He is so excited to be able to keep up with his friends and even go faster than them. They now have to keep up with him….

— Toby Bergantino, ATP, Numotion

I look at power assist in two categories: push assist and self propel. The [best] self propel is without a doubt the SmartDrive. With the new model having connectivity to an app on the phone, it’s really expanded its capabilities in customization and tracking.

— Jeff Decker, ATP/SMS, CRTS, National Seating & Mobility

MAX Mobility
(800) 637-2980

Acta-Relief Back

Acta-Relief BackI have been using the Acta-Relief back with my geriatric population in skilled nursing home facilities with phenomenal results. The back accommodates to the typical kyphotic posture of many of the geriatric population, provides adequate lateral support without laterals most of the time, and my customers find it comfortable. It satisfies the PT/OT positioning goals and satisfies the comfort requirements of my geriatric clients and their families. It is a win-win.

— Jeffrey Cupps, ATP, Numotion

For an off-the-shelf back, it gives you the most adjustment for severe kyphosis, etc. It utilizes “Boa” technology. I had only seen it on hiking boots before this back. You pull a button on the back to release tension, position the person in the back, push the button in, turn the button to tighten some wires, and it is an almost exact mold. Very simple. Change is just as simple. Pull the button, remold.

— John Zona, ATP,CRTS, Reliant Medical Group

Comfort Company
(800) 564-9248

Zing MPS

Zing MPSSet-up friendly for ATP/therapists with a lot of growth potential to meet the needs of the kiddo.

— Kathy Fallon, ATP, Kennebec Pharmacy & Home Care

I love this product because it provides a way for my clients to stand with hips in abduction, and to work in prone as well as upright. By working in prone, I have been able to help kids become stronger that don’t enjoy being prone on the floor — helping them make motoric changes much faster because they enjoy prone in their standers so the parents will use it more. I also love that I can order this product for my little ones as early as 9 months and know that it will grow to 44” or about kindergarten to second grade, depending on their size. As a therapist, I feel good about ordering a quality product that will grow for that many years!

— Mary Miles, PT, DPT, ATP, White Bear Lake B-2 early intervention

Stander allows for easy supine transfer. Once positioned, the client can be raised upright and even into prone position without changing or replacing parts. Easy to adjust for positioning and growth. Best part are the colorful positioning component covers.

— Lindsey Rea, ATP, Numotion

(800) 342-8968

F3 Corpus

F3 CorpusThis is (again) a game changer. This will allow users all the features of a great base that have been substantially enhanced, but it now has anterior tilt for the user for transfers, pressure relief, spasticity control, functional reach and a whole host of other considerations. Why would you not (as an ATP or therapist) consider this in your portfolio of choices?

— Joe McKnight, ATP/SMS, CRTS, Numotion

(800) 736-0925


Virtual Seating Coach

Virtual Seating CoachWe know that keeping people focused on using their tilt and recline, tracking that data and reporting back to our therapists will change the face of rehab and how we do, what we do. More importantly, it will keep patients out of the hospital because they will be using the equipment properly. This tool is a vital game changer in the rehab industry. Outcomes are everything. Virtual Seating Coach is one of the best new products offered.

— Joe McKnight, ATP/SMS, CRTS, Numotion

(800) 736-0925

Ortho-Shape OBSS Back

Ortho-Shape OBSS BackOttobock has a great new product out in their lineup — the Ortho-Shape back — that is very cool.

— Joe McKnight, ATP/SMS, CRTS, Numotion

(800) 328-4058

Custom Molded Seating

Custom Molded SeatingRide Design’s custom molded seating is an amazing product for certain clientele. It was developed by a physical therapist and an orthotist in Colorado, and it can help people sit in their mobility device in ways that other devices cannot.

— Frank Lane, ATP, CRTS, National Seating & Mobility

What about the new technologies around scanning for custom molded seating? Very quick scanning and no more plaster molds for them. No slinging plaster anymore on a Ride mold; I love this.

— Joe McKnight, ATP/SMS, CRTS, Numotion

Ride Designs
(866) 781-1633

Firefly Playpak

Firefly PlaypakI love this product because it gives children the support they need to sit upright by themselves to play. What I have seen with children using this product is they are able to learn to sit upright sooner on their own if they have that ability, and children are able to become more independent with their play because parents don’t need to be right there supporting them. It gives parents a sense of progress, and a break to let their child play independently while they tend to other siblings or household activities.

— Mary Miles, PT, DPT, ATP, White Bear Lake B-2 early intervention

Firefly by Leckey
0044(0)28 9267 8879

Switch-It MicroGuide Joystick

Switch-It MicroGuide JoystickI have had great success using the MicroGuide mini proportional joystick. I have used it with spinal muscular atrophy, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis customers. Worked well on rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive and mid-wheel drive. I have not had a failure yet.

— Ralph Booker, ATP, CRTS, National Seating & Mobility

Sunrise Medical
(800) 333-4000

ROHO Smart Check

ROHO Smart CheckWhen you feel you need a ROHO cushion under someone, but are not sure they can maintain the air in it, this is the way to go. Once the cushion is inflated properly, the patient can check inflation by simply plugging in the Smart Check, and if it is “green” the cushion is still properly inflated. If not it, will tell you to put air in or take air out.

— John Zona, ATP,CRTS, Reliant Medical Group

Permobil | ROHO Seating and Positioning
(800) 851-3449


RideWorksSo far I’ve only used this new system to capture a back for client, but I love the technology. I know a few other brands have come out with similar systems, but I haven’t gotten to try theirs yet, so Ride Designs gets my vote. Finally, no reason to pull out the plaster anymore. This new system is easy to use and super fast to capture. I love the move to a camera-based capture. It will save us lots of time in both the molding and the clean-up when we use Ride Designs products.

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

Ride Designs
(866) 781-1633

Edge 2.0 with iLevel

Edge 2.0 with iLevelI really enjoy using the Quantum Q6 Edge 2.0. I love how easy it is to adjust in the field. It makes my job a whole lot easier when I can deliver a power chair and do adjustments in minutes for the patient! Truly a remarkable chair!

— Joel Perez, ATP, QRP, National Seating & Mobility

Great frame with lots of features and looks stylish with the newer covers for the joystick, etc. Easy to program and make changes over time.

— Kathy Fallon, ATP, Kennebec Pharmacy & Home Care

Quantum Rehab
(866) 800-2002

F5 Corpus VS

F5 CorpusPermobil F5 VS Group 4 power wheelchair with multiple power options including a standing feature: The reasoning behind it is it is very beneficial for specific patient diagnoses and very difficult to get funding sources to pay for them, so it gives us RTS’s purpose and cause.

— Frank Lane, ATP, CRTS, National Seating & Mobility

(800) 736-0925


ROVI X3Narrow wheelbase that is great for old houses; offers multitude of options for seating functions to make it as customized as each person requires.

— Kathy Fallon, ATP, Kennebec Pharmacy & Home Care

Motion Concepts, LP
(888) 433-6834

Matrx MX2

Matrx MX2I really like this new entry in the carbon fiber market. The back is really lightweight and has some flexibility in the shell so you can have some movement without adding any type of dynamic hardware. The hardware is also small/light, which helps decrease overall weight and lessen the profile of the system.

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

Motion Concepts, LP
(888) 433-6834

Focus CR

Focus CRVery adjustable seat-to-floor heights, growable seat pan, self-propel axle plate.

— Kathy Fallon, ATP, Kennebec Pharmacy & Home Care

Ki Mobility
(800) 981-1540


MyOn HCGreat for active users, as it propels like a rigid-frame wheelchair, but folds for easier transport in a small vehicle. Lots of adjustability in axle position and multiple options for standard features, like front hangers.

— Kathy Fallon, ATP, Kennebec Pharmacy & Home Care

Invacare Corp.
(800) 333-6900

Solara 3G

Solara 3GFor end users who are harder on their equipment, the Solara 3G stands up to the hardest of users, and is still easy for caregivers to move around.

— Kathy Fallon, ATP, Kennebec Pharmacy & Home Care

Invacare Corp.
(800) 333-6900

Ginny Paleg: On Abduction & Early Intervention

The evidence that abduction can help reduce hip subluxation remains “Yellow: Measure outcomes,” but is approaching “Green light, go!”, according to a recent systematic review. This has enabled three manufacturers to offer standing systems that abduct 15-30° in each leg or 30-60° total. Because we do not yet know what the optimal amount of abduction is, therapists must continue to measure and palpate the hip to determine the appropriate degree of abduction on each side for each child. Spine, hip and knee alignment should always trump abduction. Children with cerebral palsy are at highest risk for subluxation between ages 2 and 3, so we need these devices to be very small.

The choices for abduction are Prime Engineering HLT SuperStand Straddle (prone/supine/upright); EasyStand Zing (prone/supine/upright); and R82 Gazelle (prone/supine/upright).

The SuperStand and Zing are available with fun fabric covers. The SuperStand HLT Early Intervention (EI) can accommodate the smallest child and can be modified with an abduction system to begin abduction at 9 to 12 months of age.

Early Intervention for Cerebral Palsy

We can tell with 90 to 98 percent accuracy which 2- to 5-month-old infant has a brain injury (cerebral palsy), and we can use the Hammersmith Infant Neurological Exam (HINE) to predict the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) level in infants, as well.

We also know that the motor and sensory pathways reach maximal plasticity at age 2 and that the spinal circuitry is laid down by 6 to 12 months.

All of this means we know which child will need assistive devices to explore their world, and we know how important it is to begin this intervention as early as possible, possibly at 9 to 12 months of age.

Three gait trainers can fit infants: Prime Engineering KidWalk Early Intervention (EI); Rifton mini Pacer; and R82 Mustang. All three can accommodate a 6" inseam, with the Rifton able to go even shorter by reversing the trunk support to be below the frame. The KidWalk is now available with fun fabric covers. The KidWalk is dynamic in all three planes of motion and may be indicated for children with dystonia. In a published study comparing these three models, the KidWalk and Pacer were the easiest to move on tile, and the KidWalk was the easiest to move on carpet. With all this great evidence, early intervention providers should consider using these products more often.

— Ginny Paleg, PT, DScPT, MPT

Joe McKnight: “Our Best Product Is CRT”

Joe McKnight, ATP/SMS, CRTS, is Numotion’s director of business development in California, Nevada and Arizona — and a member of Mobility Management’s editorial advisory board. As such, he offered several Best Picks selections this year.

And then, Joe added this:

Finally, the last product I want you to introduce is people. Being able to offer service, energy, thought and application of new products to new patients is a new mission. You need to write on the process of CRT, because we are our best product. We need to change the hearts and minds of Congress and CMS [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] to help them appreciate the great value that we bring.

Frankly, our best product of 2017 is CRT. I look across thousands of energetic smiling faces that are engaged with customers and work hard every day to make a difference, and that is a product I’m proud to represent, serve and support. Let’s find a way to illustrate the people who get this done. When I work with our staff, see how engaged they are and how passionate they are, they are the product we get to serve. A passionate person who serves others. I serve that outcome.

Well said, Joe. And thank you for the reminder that passionate professionals are behind all of CRT’s innovations, and also working every day to get those innovations in front of consumers. — Ed.

This article originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of Mobility Management.

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