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Wheelchair vouchers

Hi all, I hope I can get some reassurance/advice? I’m hoping to get a new wheelchair/trike hybrid, but am a bit afraid to ask for vouchers towards one. I’ve had an NHS chair before, but it was uncomfortable and nigh impossible to self-propel (which I need to do as my partner left me some time back). I’ve currently got a folding chair, but it too is uncomfortable as it doesn’t give the back support, and leaves me in the wrong position to self propel. What I’m after is a lightweight fixed frame chair - an RGK chrome. Thing is, I want to get it from a specific supplier, as they have it with a variable camber axle, for a particular reason - you can get a docking front powered wheel and handlebars to turn it into a powered trike. (Team Hybrid is the company) I can self propel short distances and that’s fine, but need the option to turn it into a robust motorised unit for off-road longer distance. I don’t have space to store both a chair and a scooter, and to be fair, want the ability to go on wooded paths to walk the dogs and play with my nieces. It’s a one shot package that is us uniquely adaptable and meets all my needs, it kills two birds with one stone - but I’m afraid if I go to NHS wheelchair services, I’ll get shot down by them saying it doesn’t suit you, or it’s too expensive, etc. I’m ashamed to have had to resort to crowd funding and raised 3k towards the 7k total cost {that’s chair and front unit, though I can buy separately). Can anyone allay my fears about being shot down? Or give me any advice? Thanks!

Do it. And don’t be afraid"

I started my wheelchair journey by going to wheelchair services, (back in 2013) but having hired one for a holiday - and at the time needing someone to push; realised we needed one with back brakes that attendant can operate. NHS wasn’t offering one so got a voucher for part payment and bought a Karma Ergo. Roll on 6 mths and I saw, at a Mobility Show, a bloke with an add on motor. Long story short…http://www.benoitsolutions.co.uk/light_drive.html

It was @ £3000 and I paid through grants. Partly the MS Society, partly others try Get Support - Turn2us

The add on motor fits on the back of the Karma. (see the video)

It does not do off road, so recently, and with the aid of a legacy, I finally bought a Trekinetic GTE. VERY expensive, but worth it. THAT does do off road http://www.trekinetic.com/ Storage was an issue for us too. Advantage being both the Benoit and Trek come apart and so we can fit in a large cupboard (just)! It a bit like playing jenga, but it does work!!

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Thanks for the reply, that sounds amazing - just looked up the Trekinetic, and that’s quite an animal! I guess what I’m afraid of is them saying that I’m not disabled enough. I have secondary progressive, and I can get to the end of the street with a cane, but after that it’s a chair. I’m worried they’ll turn me down flat or won’t help because it’s a particular chair and attachment I want from a particular company. My friends and family have been amazing - it’s 3k for the chair, and 4k for the front attachment, but I’ve managed to raise 3k through GoFundMe. I only found the company through me approaching a random stranger in town who had one! The one I’m looking at is http://www.teamhybrid.co.uk/product-category/handcycles/full-electric-powered-handcycles/ I’m in a block of flats, and I stow mine in a locked cabinet in the lobby, but there’s no room for a scooter, not there or in my actual flat. Besides a diddy little scooter doesn’t quite give the freedom this would…

I think all you can do is approach your wheelchair services. After all, they can only say yes or no!

My wheelchair services (Coastal West Sussex) have, I think, discontinued the voucher scheme. And in any case only used to give you the value of the chair you were entitled to, depending on your needs. In my case, I can only walk a few steps with a walker, use a wheelchair indoors and out, but am able to use a self propelled chair indoors. That means I am entitled to a self propelled wheelchair only. And the model to which most people are entitled in similar need is an Action 2. Basic and cheap.

So a voucher scheme would only give me about £300 or so, depending on whether I wanted a chair I bought myself to be owned and maintained by me, or owned and maintained by the NHS!!

So not really much help. Sorry.

Sue

Oh, that doesn’t sound promising, as I’m West Sussex too (Worthing). Because I’ve such a small flat, I don’t need to use indoors, but only for outside. Ideally I wanted one that will adapt to my needs as my condition progresses, looks like they don’t take that into account. After all, there’s no point having to get a new one each time you get a new symptom. Was hoping to get my own, I don’t want to be beholden to them with a leased one, which was why vouchers would’ve been the best option. Guess I’ll apply, get knocked back, and have to try and find the money somehow. The GoFundMe appeal I set up has made some, worst comes to the worst and I can’t get a grant, I’ll have to sell some of my possessions. It’s so damned expensive having this wretched condition.

My experience, has been good. I am a SPMSer too.

We have NHS Wheelchair Budgets in Surrey (not vouchers). NHS Wheelchair Service is run by Virgin Care.

I had and full assessment (took 3 months) and was prescribed a Quickie Salsa M2 powerchair and an Invacare Active 3 manual wheelchair
whichI need to be pushed in as I have arm and hand weakness. I am please with both. Ideal for my needs - maintained by the NHS. Free. I will get a new one in 5 yrs.

https://www.sunrisemedical.co.uk/powered-wheelchairs/quickie/power-wheelchairs/salsa-m2

If you need a powerchair for home use to be safe from falls and are home alone I would ask about one. If not now, when you do.

Phone and get an appointment anyway - as wheelchair budgets are now national. And in my experience, if you have SPMS
and cannot cope with a manual chair without help, and can’t walk safely at home, they will offer a powerchair and manual one.

Info here:

Video - Personal Wheelchair Budgets

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I’m pretty certain you will not get a powered chair of any kind. Nor therefore a voucher for one, even if they still gave vouchers. The best you can hope for is a bog standard self propelling chair, like I have. I had an assessment for a powered chair when I was suffering badly with pain in my arms (I still am). The powered chairs they provide are pretty much all the same. They are huge monsters. I decided that qualify for one or not, I didn’t want one. So I just put up with what I’ve got.

Luckily I do have an able bodied husband who is happy to push the ‘chair. If I didn’t, I’d be in the same boat as you.

Once again it is a postcode lottery. Coastal West Sussex CCG are a bit anti MSers I think. They don’t fund FES either - not for MS caused foot-drop anyway. Unless you are an ‘exceptional’ case, and since everyone with MS is that bit different, we are all exceptional. Therefore no one is.

We do have some good things, an excellent MS nurse service. A community neuro team, health services that occasionally communicate with one another, easy referrals to other services out of the area, and a brilliant neurological rehabilitation specialist in Chichester. (If you haven’t seen him and want his name so you could be referred for some expert opinion on rehab, drugs, other available services, PM me.)

Sue

You deffo won’t get the attachment from wheelchair services. But approach them, and go through their assessment.

Its one more step and bit of paper to prove to prospective grant agencies that you have explored all options. Do check out turn2us and apply for grants and approach the MS society. You need a letter of support from yur MS nurse as well.

Its a lot of paperwork and time, letters back and forth, but try - you’ve nothing to lose and may be surprised. The fact that you have raised some money on your own will count in your favour.

Have you tried an JORVIK ODIN ELECTRIC MOUNTAIN TRIKE?

A lot cheaper c.£1.999 and not specifically for the disabled.

Yep, figured I wouldn’t get the attachment, just thought I could get help with the actual chair - then I can use the funds I’ve raised for the attachment. Like you say, lots of paperwork, but my MS nurse is really supportive, she’s said she’ll back me however she can!

Does look rather cool! I wouldn’t be able to sit on a saddle though, besides I think the last time I sat on a bike saddle I had an epileptic seizure and crushed my head into a wall! That hurt, as did the reconstructive surgery, but I think I look better now :wink:

Ah, that wretched postcode lottery! It’s an absolute pain to be sure. You’re spot on though, the community neuro team here are a godsend, I wouldn’t have been able to cope without them :slight_smile:

Interesting personal experiences there, thank you! I can cope with a manual, but only short distances and a big powerchair is out of the question as I’ve nowhere to keep it (I live in a little flat). That’s primarily the reason for looking at a hybrid, as an adaptable middle ground. I’ve a suspicion I’m not going to be successful, but I’ll apply nonetheless, and just have to keep trying to fundraise on my own in the meantime. We shall see!

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Ouchie!! I am also epileptic and could tell some stories, but that tops the lot! Watch it with drs and letters then. I was initially refused a power chair because “I’d be a danger to be in charge of a machine” !!!

The fact that IF I had a fit whilst in a chair, my arm would automatically fall off the joystick and thus the chair would stop dead seems to have passed them by! Best of luck getting funds and the chair/ attachment. It may take take time, but hang on in there!

QUICKIE SALSA M2 OR R2

I am very happy with my Quickie salsa M2 powerchair, and would even like another one for more off-road use,

so I don’t have to keep cleaning the tyres before I bring it indoors.

I have been recommended a QUICKIE SALSA R2 RWD 6MPH ELECTRIC POWERCHAIR WITH LIGHTS. This model

has bigger wheels/tyres. It also has 4 wheels instead of 6, which I have on my M2. (The M2 has a mid-wheel drive, and the R2 has rear-wheel drive.)

https://www.sunrisemedical.co.uk/powered-wheelchairs/quickie/power-wheelchairs/salsa-r2

As these nero-powerchairs are specialised, it is a buyers market when it come to buying used.

You can find both the M2 and R2 cheaper on ebay c.£1500 used. They also come with JAY cushions. You wouldn’t need a scooter anymore.

Anyway, I would discuss all this with the NHS first, and if they say no, buy the R2. But try before you buy. If you go the NHS

route they will order and bring the powerchair to your home for you to try out. And they maintain the machine,

and give you a call out number to phone if it breaks down.

Good luck!

Thanks everybody for the advice - you’ve certainly given me a lot to think about as we head into a new year! In the meantime, Merry Christmas all!

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That’s a good safety factor about neuro-powerchairs the wheels stop moving when you take your fingers off the control.

These chairs are heavy and crash tested, so when you are strapped in you are safe. I’m not sure how safe

a hybrid set up would be though. And you do have to keep your arms raised on the handlebars, I couldn’t do that.

When making such an expensive purchase one has to think long-term - for how many years etc.,. will you be able to use this

hybrid set up?

Hi Tachikoma

You’ve had lots of replies, but thought I’d chip in my with my tuppence of thoughts as well. I’m on my second chair now through using vouchers, and am really pleased with the basic concept. I use a Quickie Helium now, which is a great chair. I’ve got a Jay 3 back rest for it, which is super comfortable. The great thing about the scheme is that you can top up the voucher to get something to better suit your needs. As others have said, the voucher will most likely be specified for a chair only, but nothing stopping you getting the attachment. The only thing to note with the scheme is that you have to buy the chair from a list of authorised dealers - you won’t be able to just go to any mobility shop.

Good luck!

Dan