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Power Wheelchair Advanced Features

Power Wheelchair Advanced Features
Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
March 22, 2021

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Editor’s note: This text-based course is a transcript of the webinar, Power Wheelchair Advanced Features, presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS.

Learning Outcomes

  • After this course, participants will be able to apply knowledge about 3 non-driving features that can be controlled through the driving method.
  • After this course, participants will be able to apply knowledge about 3 devices that can be controlled through power wheelchair Bluetooth using the driving method.
  • After this course, participants will be able to apply knowledge about clinical indicators for interfacing external AT devices through the driving method.
  • After this course, participants will be able to apply knowledge about SMART wheelchair technologies.

Introduction

Thank you for joining us today for this webinar on Power Wheelchair Advanced Features. We have two hours of intense content. If you are not overly familiar with a power wheelchair, the electronics, and how that works right now, that is okay. I hope that this provides some new information that helps you help the clients you serve.

For my disclosures, I have received an honorarium for producing and presenting this course. I also provide education and consultation to two companies that produce power wheelchair-related technologies, Stealth Products and LUCI. Despite this, I attempt to provide all of this information as objectively as possible and use various equipment from different manufacturers' products myself. This learning event, as such, is not going to focus on a particular type of product or manufacturer.

What We Will Be Covering

  • Non-driving power wheelchair functions
  • Bluetooth
  • Infrared
  • Interfacing
  • SMART technologies

Today, we are going to be covering non-driving power wheelchair functions. You can do quite a bit with these power wheelchairs besides drive them from point A to point B. We will talk specifically about Bluetooth features of a power wheelchair, infrared, interfacing, and some of our newer smart technologies that are just becoming available to power wheelchair users. In addition to a PDF of the PowerPoint, I have included a chart that compares the features of the four main power wheelchair packages that are available on the market.

Non-driving Power Wheelchair Functions

We are going to start with non-driving power wheelchair functions.

Power Wheelchairs - The Main Goal

  • Power wheelchairs are designed to provide an alternative means of moving throughout the environment for people who cannot ambulate or self-propel any manual wheelchair.
    • Ambulation:
      • The client may not be able to ambulate at all, is inefficient, or is unsafe (i.e., fall risk).
    • Self-propulsion
      • The client may not be able to functionally self-propel.

The power wheelchair's main goal is to provide a means of moving through the environment for people who are either unable to ambulate or unable to self propel any type of manual wheelchair. Some people use a power chair with limited ambulation, but this ambulation may not be efficient or safe. Perhaps, they are a fall risk. Some clients might use a power chair who have some ability to self propel a manual chair, but it may not be functional, meaning it takes up too much time or effort. In these cases, we would want to explore a power wheelchair.

Power Wheelchairs – What Else Do They Do?

  • In addition to Driving (varies by PWC electronics system):
    • Power seating
    • Bluetooth (BT) Mouse emulation or switch output
    • Interfacing to external AT devices
    • Infrared transmission
    • Charging port for USB devices
    • Some information provision
      • Battery status, speed, miles traveled, clock, diagnostics
      • Monitoring: i.e., daily drive time/distance, how many hours PWC on, power seating activity
      • Notifications: reminders

Power wheelchairs can do lots of things. This varies by the specific power wheelchair electronics system. First, there is power seating. This includes power tilt, power recline, elevating leg rests, seat elevators, and stand features. All of this allows the client to change their position and shift their weight for pressure management within their power wheelchair.

We also have the ability to emulate a mouse or switch output using Bluetooth. This provides control of several devices outside of the wheelchair, such as smartphones, tablets, or other communication devices

...

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michelle lange

Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS

Michelle is an occupational therapist with over 30 years of experience and has been in private practice, Access to Independence, for over 15 years. She is a well-respected lecturer, both nationally and internationally and has authored numerous texts, chapters, and articles. She is the co-editor of Seating and Wheeled Mobility: a clinical resource guide, editor of Fundamentals in Assistive Technology, 4th ed., NRRTS Continuing Education Curriculum Coordinator and Clinical Editor of NRRTS Directions magazine. Michelle is a RESNA Fellow and member of the Clinician Task Force. Michelle is a certified ATP, certified SMS, and is a Senior Disability Analyst of the ABDA.

 



Related Courses

Power Wheelchair Advanced Features
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #3990Level: Advanced2 Hours
Power wheelchairs do far more than drive – the driving method can be used to navigate and control other features including Reverse, Speeds, Power Seating, or an Interfaced Assistive Technology device (i.e. a communication device). Power Wheelchairs can send Bluetooth signals to control devices such as tablets and smartphones. Finally, new SMART technologies are making power wheelchairs safer and more efficient for everyone. This course is directly related to the practice of physical therapy and is therefore appropriate for the PT/PTA.

Positioning for Function: The Trunk and Extremities
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #3992Level: Intermediate2 Hours
This course will present common trunk asymmetries seen in wheelchair seating with suggested strategies to address each challenge. Providing as neutral a trunk position as possible improves overall posture, stability, and function. This course will then systematically address potential upper and lower extremity positioning challenges with suggested interventions. By specifically positioning the extremities, the seating system provides stability, function and even protection from injury. This course is directly related to the practice of physical therapy and is therefore appropriate for the PT/PTA.

Wheelchair Positioning: Postural Care
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #3596Level: Advanced1 Hour
The goals of wheelchair seating include managing posture and pressure as well as providing stability for function. Postural care addresses positioning outside of the wheelchair, particularly during sleep, and can be used to improve the quality and duration of sleep, promote health and maintain safety during sleep, as well as to minimize, prevent and even reverse orthopedic changes.

Wheelchair Mobility: Optimizing Driving in Power Wheelchairs
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #3622Level: Advanced1 Hour
Power wheelchair evaluation determines appropriateness for power wheelchair use and then determines the optimal power wheelchair base, power seating, driving method and other needed components. Optimizing power wheelchair driving is critical to improve outcomes and includes choosing the best drive wheel configuration, utilizing tracking technologies, and programming.

Wheelchair Mobility: Power Wheelchair Alternative Driving Methods
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #3627Level: Advanced2 Hours
While some clients require a power wheelchair to achieve independent mobility, not all will be able to use a standard joystick. Clients with paralysis, muscle weakness, increased muscle tone, and uncontrolled movements can often drive a power wheelchair successfully when matched to the most appropriate alternative driving method. This course will systematically explore various alternative driving methods, including specific features, to match these complex client needs. Case studies will be used throughout.