Where can I find a one-arm drive wheelchair that is lightweight and portable?
March 24, 2007 9:54 PM   Subscribe

We would like to purchase a new wheelchair for our father, who suffered from a stroke some years ago and can only control the right side of his body. Main criteria: one-arm drive (or can be otherwise operated with only right limbs), portable and lightweight.

Unfortunately, as far as I have googled, one-arm drive and portability seem to be mutually exclusive. Price is not an issue right now, just because we are having trouble just finding such an elusive find.

I have seen someone use a wheelchair that propels forward using a small bicycle-wheel-like device, so maybe my father can use only his left foot for moving, though he prefers the more-familiar one-arm-drive (which allows one to both move forward and control direction using only one arm).

The reason why we are searching for this is because his existing one-arm drive wheelchair is too troublesome for our mother to handle when they have to travel.

Thank you so much for your help on this desperate search!
posted by leptin to Shopping (6 answers total)
Best answer: The one-arm drive option on this one is pricey, but it's lightweight and foldable. Your search might be less desperate than you think; I found others that fit the bill via google; this was just the lightest-weight one.
posted by Failure31 at 10:47 PM on March 24, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you so much Failure31. However, 28 lbs is the "base" weight and after installing the various add-ons it will probably become the same monstrous size our current also-foldable wheelchair is. Hence more help would be much appreciated.
posted by leptin at 12:23 AM on March 25, 2007

Best answer: no leptin, the add-on mechanisms are nothing overly heavy - purely mechanical, a few rods and chain.

the control lever is like a long shift stick with perpendicular hand grip section, long to minimise exertion and lessen the need for fine motor skills. it articulates with the larger wheels for propulsion and the smaller wheels for steering and has a stop action brake mechanism. the lever action for propulsion is push-pull (along one plane) and offers three gears: forward, reverse and neutral - adjustable cogs is all. the control lever also rotates on its axis for steering - easy. people with good sitting balance and reasonable spatial skills do well in these chairs and they're easy to fold and lift in and out of vehicles, no dismantling required.

sorry i can't find pics on-line

any physiotherapist in a (stroke) rehabilitation facility would have access to sales brochures and manufacturers' details. go do some test handling with both parents. cheers
posted by de at 1:13 AM on March 25, 2007

Best answer: Forgive me if I am mentioning resources you have already checked out.

Try spinlife.com. They have a lot of options and best of all they have a phone up service as well.

You could also post your question on wheelchairjunkie.com. There's a wealth of experience there. Mark Smith, the moderator works for Pride Mobility and may be able to help you if you email him.

Good luck.
posted by firstdrop at 7:40 AM on March 26, 2007

Best answer: You don't say where you're located but Robert's Medical has a lot of home medical equipment in the midatlantic area. If you call them and talk to someone there about your specifications I bet they will be extremely helpful. I had to do an assignment for school on choosing wheelchairs once - I spoke to a guy on the phone who was great. They may also know about various payment options - what medicare pays for, etc.
posted by selfmedicating at 9:01 AM on March 26, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you to de, firstdrop and selfmedicating!

de: Our current wheelchair has that mechanism and it's super-heavy--perhaps technology has improved now?

firstdrop: Thanks for the links! I'll definitely go check them out.

selfmedicating: I am located in Los Angeles, but I'll call them at any rate. Thank you so much!
posted by leptin at 5:37 PM on March 26, 2007

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