I am fortunate to live in a country and a time with the NHS. It is a brilliant institution. Any failings are more to do with political decisions on funding. I can’t fault the wonderful caring staff.
My wheelchair (shown in the photo) a Quickie Salsa M2, is supplied by the NHS, it took a long time to get, but it is excellent. It fully supports me and enables me to recline.
Let me describe its brilliant functions:
My wheelchair has two electric reclining functions, operable via the front or rear (attendant) controller. The backrest can tilt and the whole chair can tip. When both are at their maximum the chair is as seen in the photo, it is almost flat. Due to clever design it is in no danger of tipping over and the speed automatically drops to a very slow crawl.
The legs are also electric they can raise separately or together and go straight up. The photo shows them up.
Another great feature on this chair are the raising arms. They flip up out of the way. This means that in a situation without a hoist, the wheelchair can be lined up to a bed, profiled to match, a banana board (plastic board used to transfer people) used to transfer me with assistance from others. Or the arms can just be moved away to get closer to a table.
The arms also have extra wide indented rubber tops so that my arms can sit in them. This is to help them stay in place if I have a collapse in the chair.
The seat is high backed and has a wrap around back for support. The seat cushion is a battery powered ripple cushion that I added with money from donations. The NHS will only supply mains powered ripple cushions for wheelchairs or ordinary pressure cushions.
The main seat belt is a car type lap belt, then it has additional shoulder straps to keep me in place in a collapse. I have added a neck brace because my neck also loses function and the neck brace holds my head securely against the head rest. The combination of seating and straps hold me securely even on a bumpy van journey, apart from my arms. Mary has recently made arm restraints for these.
The NHS no longer provide lighting for wheelchairs if you live in a town. Even though we live down a dark alley. So we have added bicycle lights, an led strip light (also for fun, this one) and strips of reflective tape. Best to be seen at night.
The six wheels on this wheelchair keep it secure even over rough ground. At worst the front two leap up, four always stay firmly on the ground. The articulating suspension and springs are not perfect (its still bumpy) but they are an improvement on my previous wheelchair. I notice the biggest improvement on uneven ground. Where before, I would have skidded left or right or just lost all traction, the Quickie Salsa M2 seems to cope and keep going. I have managed to get through some pretty tough ground conditions, gravel, sand, mud, leaves, very uneven ground and potholes in the path.
You will see on the photo I have added side bags for my bits, a drink holder (hidden the other side) and a rear bag (hidden behind) that holds my waterproofs. Waterproofs are the one thing I have struggled to get for this wheelchair. I cannot find one that fits such a big chair from head to foot. So I have a separate head and leg covering.
Mary has also made me removable cushions for the arm rests and head rest.
All in all I am really pleased to have such an incredible chair.
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