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Not as Prepared as I Thought
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Location: San Luis Obispo CA
Registered: 10-10-2005
Posts: 161
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I have become dependent on a powerchair to get around. My Permobile C300 has an elevating seat that raises the seat up enough that I can do a standing transfer off the chair to other locales. Great - but the elevator stopped working! I am now "stuck" in the full up position (I can raise the seat without weight on it) but I cannot use the chair in the up position with my ramp van - let alone get to the van safely with my high center of gravity.

My backup plan had been my local DME provider that specializes in adapted vehicles but does "whatever it takes" to support chair and scooter users. Normally I would be back up and running in a few days after some parts were FedEx'd in. However… it seems just about the entire DME industry takes off between Christmas and the day after New Year's day and my chair broke down the weekend before Christmas and my provider (and all other local resources) had left until next year.

Not much of a backup plan as it turned out.

Compounding the issue is the folks I bought the C300 from are out of business and the closest beknighted (Permobile protects its dealers by making difficult to get parts from anyone but volume qualified dealers) dealer is 200+ miles away.

I did have my eye on an older Permobile with elevating seat that could have been had for under $1,000 - I should have jumper at it as it turns out. I may still go that way. I am looking at a brand new chair since mine is 5+years old and should be covered by insurance in 2013 - if so my current chair will become my backup.

Too bad I love my C300 so much - the service/parts issue is a killer.

Any way - at least the chair still moves and I can get around my living space. If it does break to where it cannot move I'd really be in trouble!

If I continue to have a single chair (not easily replaced) I need to develop a more in depth backup plan. A second need for an alternate plan is what happens if I can't do a standing transfer? This happened when I broke my leg and I wound up spending a bunch of money at a rehab facility. A serious bought with the flu or other illness that sapped my strength would also be serious. A strong attended may be able to deal with these issues and I just that is my current "plan." I'm currently not in assisted living so an outside agency would be needed. I should be shopping for those resources now I guess….

What I'm thinking is something that I will need eventually any way - a patient lift or standing aid that an attended can use to transfer me. The most common device is the Hoyer lift but there are other options out there.

I ran across this device in a recent ad in the MDA Magazine (Quest):
Rifton TRAM



The Rifton TRAM not only does what the Hoyer does but it also has an option for the patient to stand and walk to whatever ability they have. It is also a powered lift so just about any care giver should be able to operate it with a little guidance. Looks like a good option to me! I don't need it at the moment but it is probably worth the $4,000 to be prepared so I'm not stuck in bed with a diaper on!

Comments? Suggestions?


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email:rheitzman at gmail
Picture of Bruce
Registered: 09-28-2005
Posts: 654
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Bob, my C300 chair lift broke a year ago. Yes, the thing I also found out was that repairs are not quick and cannot be done at home. Fortunately, my Permobil sales repr. was able to locate an older chair with a lift (not a Permobil) that I could use while the C300 was being fixed. He got it through the MDA Loan Locker. Have you checked with them yet? The MDA doesn't have a lot of them, but you might get lucky.
Location: San Luis Obispo CA
Registered: 10-10-2005
Posts: 161
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Finally got my chair fixed - took 3 1/2 weeks! Bad timing mostly. Once an order could be placed it was fixed in three days. Cost more a small fortune to bring someone in from 200 miles away...

I guess I have to look to other brands for my next chair - I'm in a Permobile desert. Most like a Quantum Rehab chair.

I really like the relatively small C300. The lower seat height of 18" and 9" lift are perfect for me. I'm not sure I can find that combo in another chair.

Any one have any recommendations?


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email:rheitzman at gmail
Picture of Lolo
Location: Arizona
Registered: 10-06-2010
Posts: 108
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Do you guys know that MDA will allow X-amount a year for repairs? My husband has had his batteries replaced and a new locking system put on his chair by MDA. (He bought the chair used but the key lock was broken.) They did allow $500/yr but I think it may now be $300 but every penny helps.
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