New wheelchair using the middle way

4.3 out of 5 stars

So first of all, the middle way. In some areas of the country the new Personal Wheelchair Budget (PWB) has been introduced. This process allows your wheelchair OT to create two prescriptions, what she feels is your clinical requirement and the other what you actually want. You then pay the difference between the two at the reduced NHS rate obviously less VAT. The chair is then still provided and maintained by wheelchair services. It is also possible for adult services and the like to contribute. For example if you needed a facilities grant to rework your kitchen but a seat riser on the chair would meet your needs at a much cheaper price then adult services can pay for that part of the chair for you. I've done it and it works!!
And the chair. I'll get the negatives out of the way first.

It is slightly wider, longer and higher than my previous Spectra TDX2 some of this is entirely due to my specifications. In reality this means that we're glad all our doorways at home are widened.

I have a Drive From Wheelchair/Passenger upfront WAV and it's a bit tight to get into position either side. The MWD is a bit trickier for getting in and out both because of size but also functionality of the side entry lift.

The cost of the bracket for my QLK150 auto lock down system in the car was an eye watering £800 fitted.

Being a MWD not RWD the reduced amount of chair at the front is brilliant but I do keep forgetting about the casters sticking out at the back. This will change the more I use it.

You cannot work the indicators on the chair unless you are in a stationary position.

Some of the extras on this chair are very expensive.

These things are a small price to pay for the overall life changing characteristics of the rest of the chair.

Regarding driving and passengering in the car, it is much more stable in the lockdown positions with much less side to side movement, less suspension after shock and less pitching. Some of this is down to the improved lockdown bracket but also the six wheel configuration and better suspension contribute.

Being able to upgrade the batteries to 2x73.5 amp will give me much better range even allowing for the extra battery consumption of some of the extras on the chair. The motor upgrade also allows for more speed if you want it. Distances travelled are more important to me though. You do need to allow for this taking the chair into class 3 territory so you will need to register it with the DVLA and pay for the optional road lights.

The touchscreen of the REM400 is very intuitive and simple to use. Being able to swipe and lightly tap as opposed to pushing down on buttons has made a difference in how I use the chair and has made life much easier for me. The almost infinite control of speed this system affords is brilliant. There is an option to increase or decrease the area covered by the tap motion. Glove mode can be turned on or off. The brightness of the screen is adjustable. All of the adjustments to the seat are included on the touchscreen.

The gyroscope option has made a huge difference to my fatigue and physical symptoms because I am no longer having to fight slopes and cambers all the time. You just point the chair where you want to go and it does it automatically. This is an option that should be standard for everyone. At the moment you would need to meet certain criteria with certain conditions for this to be supplied as standard on the NHS.

The ability to turn on a sixpence and general manoeuvrability afforded by the MWD configuration is, to me, much better than RWD configurations. Despite not having a kerb climber it tackles them better than my previous XTR2. Now having central leg lifters and footplates instead of side ones makes moving around less damaging to white goods and skirting boards.

Being able to check on the health of the chair, battery status on the MyLinx app is not essential but nice to have.

The seat appears to be much more adjustable than my old chair in every direction and when tilting the seat it is not as necessary to recline the back.

The SP2 is much more comfortable than the XTR2 on all surfaces and when going up and down kerbs and slopes. So far I have been on smooth, cobbled, bumpy, dirt track, grass and gravel. It is more comfortable on all of them.

The general comfort of the chair is superior in every way. The waterfall arms are more deeply padded and softer. There is more padding and adjustability to the thoracic supports. The back cushion being fabric instead of plastic in more comfortable on warm days. The calf supports when your legs are lifted although firmer are more supportive. I am finding the central leg lift and footplates better than the side ones.

The seat lifter is amazing, I can now see over sea walls, reach things from top cupboards, walk along with people at eye level, reach items in the supermarket, access the kitchen worktops. The only restriction is whether you can get close enough. I have even managed to reach to clean the car in stages throughout the day.

The lights are very handy especially with the clocks about to change. Essential with motor upgrade but they also look quite good.

And the looks. I've gone for bright orange shroud and rims but with the ability to special order on top of the standard shroud and wheel insert combinations you can make your chair very personal to you.
The chair really does look something special whatever colour combination you choose. The recent change from grey to black wheels is a great aesthetic improvement. I've even had a bespoke bag made for the back of the chair with orange highlights.

I am very lucky in that I have a very high spec chair to meet my needs. Adult Services have funded the seat riser option. I funded the road lights, the difference between the prescribed manual leg lifter and the powered option and finally a quick release for the control centre so I can remove it to allow access to the hand controls on my car. The price I have quoted below is my contribution to the chair. The total for the NHS contribution £5254. The cost to adult service £534. Retail for the chair including Varilite cushion is in the region of £12,000

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4 out of 5 stars

5 out of 5 stars

4 out of 5 stars

Invacare TDX SP2

Other

Invacare

Other

£1414

Widely available on both the NHS and through a network of retailers. Most retailers will of course bring a selection of chairs for you to try all together at home. I really would recommend doing this even if you're getting the chair on the NHS.

I can't give the chair a full 5 stars because if you're buying privately it is, in the specification I have cost you around £12,000. This sort of price is far from accessible for many people.

With a wide range of controllers available for this chair it should be easy for most people to work and use.

Such a wide range of seating options means many people should be able to be comfortable using the chair.

My OT and I have yet to sort out connectivity but the REM400 bluetooth controls can support up to three devices at once. For example your cell phone, iPad and laptop.

I've only had the chair a couple of weeks but so far so good. I have been advised by Wheelchair Services that the chair is pretty reliable. Remote diagnostics and the MyLinx app should also help where reliability and down time is concerned.

I can't give a chair at this price point full stars. That said, what price a life changing chair that can make a real difference to your independence.

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Product Specifications:

-Compact indoor and outdoor manoeuvrability

-Supportive and comfortable

-Functional and stylish

-Selection of shroud and rim colours available

-Max seating system and tension adjustable backrest as standard

-Manually settable seat tilt and reclining backrest as standard

-Reinforced depth adjustable bracket armrest with arm pad as standard

-VARI F hangers with fixed footplate as standard

-LiNX control systems with standard bracket as standard

-Centre driving wheels with black tyres as standard

-Suspension and sure step technology

-4 pole motors and autolock, adjustable lap belt as standard

-4 point tie down system as standard

-Wheel lock/ parking brake as standard

-Minimum seat width: 380mm (15″)

-Maximum seat width: 530mm (21″)

-Minimum seat depth: 410mm (16″)

-Maximum seat depth: 510mm (20″)

-Minimum seat height: 450mm (17.75″)

-Maximum seat height: 775mm (30.5″)

-Minimum backrest height: 480mm (19″)

-Maximum backrest height: 560mm (22″)

-Minimum overall height: 1010mm (39.75″)

-Maximum overall height: 1170mm (46″)

-Overall length: 1160mm (45.5″)

-Backrest angle: 90° to 120°

-Minimum footrest length: 290mm (11.5″)

-Maximum footrest length: 460mm (18″)

-Battery size: 73.5 Ah

-Speed: 4mph (6kmh)

-Maximum range: 19miles (31km)

-Turning diameter: 1120mm (44″)

-Maximum kerb climb: 75mm (3″)

-Maximum safe slope: 16%

-Wheelchair weight: 154kg (24.25 st)

-Maximum user weight: 180kg (28 st)