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  • How do you manage wheelchair malfunctions?

    Posted by alyssa-silva on October 10, 2023 at 3:01 pm

    So my mini joystick broke on my wheelchair. 🙄 My dad tried using hot glue and tape to temporarily fix it but it fell apart at the first pothole my van hit. Thankfully, I wasn’t driving my chair. Now it’s being held together by superglue. It’s wobbly so I’m weary. But I’m hoping it’ll do the trick. If not, I have an additional joystick in the back of my chair for others to use. It’s not ideal, but I guess I don’t really have a choice. 

    My wheelchair company said it’s going to take 2-4 weeks for a new one to come in. Hopefully lol. 

    Have you ever dealt with wheelchair malfunctions before? How did you manage?

    mike-huddleston replied 6 months, 1 week ago 4 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • ari-anderson

    Member
    October 11, 2023 at 2:09 pm

    If my wheelchair repair company told my mom and I it would take 2-4 weeks to order something, we would demand a work around until then. They’ve tried to make us swallow the answer that we have to wait quite a few times in the past, but we just wouldn’t accept it.

    There’s usually more than one way to fix a problem quickly, but in my experience, sometimes you have to demand that a wheelchair repair company get creative.

    • alyssa-silva

      Member
      October 13, 2023 at 9:16 am

      That’s so true. I don’t understand what goes on behind the scenes at these places, but it seems as though if we don’t raise a little hell, nothing gets done. It has been a week since they came out to inspect it. I think I’ll call early next week. Has your joystick ever been broken before?

  • deann-r

    Member
    October 11, 2023 at 3:28 pm

    Is it the joystick or the joystick mount? Unfortunately it’s true what they say about the squeaky wheel. I’m guessing if you call them every couple days just to check it’ll miraculously show up sooner. Sometimes if the chair is inoperable or a safety hazard it’ll bump you up the priority list too. Then there’s the option to pay out-of-pocket. When a motor went out on a chair many years ago is was supposed to take months, so my dad offered to pay for it and it was there the next week. Go figure.

    My chair has lots of issues at the moment. Nothing major, knock on wood, so I’m biding my time. I kind of hate this chair, so I don’t feel like putting the effort into extending its life. I need to get two more years out of it, so I need it to function that long. The tilt is giving me issues again so that’s annoying. It’s like I have a rocking chair because the tilt won’t hold.

    • alyssa-silva

      Member
      October 13, 2023 at 9:23 am

      I hate this chair too. We have the same one, right? The F3? I just feel like it was cheaply made. Things feel flimsy on it. I have the same exact problem with the tilt too. I feel like it’s going to break at times, and then I’m going to go flying backward. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But it is really rocky. I also can’t find good armrests for it. What do you have?

      • deann-r

        Member
        October 13, 2023 at 9:47 am

        Exactly! For such an expensive piece of equipment it sure feels cheap. It is the F3. The only things I like about it are the things I forced them to change. I made them cut a gap into the footplate so I can pull up to the corner of a table easier. They replaced the joystick mount to the style I had on my previous chair. As far as armrests, I finally got the waterfall style I had been wanting. They did have to use an adapter and one actually fell off, but overall it is better than the factory ones. What do you use? Why don’t you like them?

  • mike-huddleston

    Member
    October 12, 2023 at 3:19 pm

    When I had a Quantum Q6 Edge, I had to replace the joystick several times. I had one die on me in the restroom at work. I was able to get it to stay in the slowest speed, but still drivable, like that for a few days by taping it in position. I also had an attendant joystick on the back for when it died completely another time. I was able to have someone pull that out of its holder and drive it from where I was resting it near my chair arm. I realize that may not be an option. I’ve had the wires fray completely on the current Permobil M3. After that was fixed, I found and bought another replacement wire online to have as a backup. If you tell the DME that you’re basically unable to move your chair, they should escalate that and resolve more quickly. I have found that they keep used parts and often have temporary replacements available until your new ones come in. This is usually not inventoried, and may come down to some of the technicians and what they have in their vans. And finally, I keep all of my parts when something is replaced and have actually MacGyvered a joystick. If your DME tells you they need to take the parts with them, that’s only true if it’s something being replaced under warranty.

    • alyssa-silva

      Member
      October 13, 2023 at 9:32 am

      These are all great tips. You also just reminded me I may actually have a mini joystick in a closet somewhere. I completely forgot! I discovered it in a box a few years ago. I’m going to have to dig through some stuff this weekend. Is your DME company usually good at providing temporary replacements? I have only ever used superglue in the past as a quick solution.

      • mike-huddleston

        Member
        October 16, 2023 at 2:22 pm

        Honestly, it’s hit or miss with my DME (NuMotion). Typically, and especially more recently, when the chair is not working at all, they were pretty good about helping quickly to resolve it. The frayed controller wires on the Permobil was September 2022. I had my old chair, but that has unreliable batteries and the elevator seat no longer works. They came out to my house the next day and installed temporary wires until the ordered ones came in a few weeks later. I believe it’s hit or miss as it depends on what they have available. In my case, the tech happened to have a serviceable and exact replacement cable. Not sure how much you can count on something like that.

        I would encourage you – and everyone – to not overstate the direness of your situation. If you can make due safely, don’t tell them it’s urgent as that will affect response time for everyone, including people who are genuinely in need of urgent attention. If you chair is DOA, tell them and let them know if you have a temporary replacement or need one. It also might be worth a call to your local MDA office to see if they have something temporary available in their lending closet. Doubtful for a power chair, but just another option.

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