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Topic Walker to wheelchair? Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By lynn On 2009.09.23 16:18
My husband is having a hard time with the ustep walker. it has prevented the falls but he is using it backwards, not releasing the hand gears when he needs to stop, etc. I wonder if he is too far gone cognitively to use it. Can others share their experiences regarding this?

By annwood On 2009.09.23 16:58
Not really - my husband had pretty far advanced dementia but was able to use the U-Step (if he remembered). We had an OT work with him initially. Do you think that might help?

By LOHENGR1N On 2009.09.23 19:04
Good question lynn. I will be interested in responses. My legs have been concerning me a lot lately. I'm going to throw another question in with yours if you don't mind? Has anyone had experience with going from a cane to wheelchair? Skipping walker? Or is the insurance protocol cane, walker, wheelchair? So far my cognition is still ok, however with other medical problems (back, shoulder, neck, hip) it seems like a walker might do more harm than good as I've only got one side that works well enough to put weight on to get up or lean upon. Is a fight against the system looming? Has anyone dealt with an issue like this? Whadda ya think? I know it's kind of generic the way I've phrased the question, any thoughts or experience is appreciated. Thanks, take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By Emma On 2009.09.24 05:31
My suggestion would be the same as annwood's, try having an OT or PT work with him on use of the walker. My husband has dementia too and they have helped him a lot with using it correctly. He still doesn't want to use it, and sometimes he sits on the seat and tries to use it like a scooter, but he does much better than he did before. Having said that, it's still hard for him to walk, even with the u-step but it's a whole lot better than nothing.

Lohengrin, for what it's worth, a while back I looked up the Medicare requirements for a motorized wheelchair (is that what you were thinking of?) thinking that was what my husband really needed. He too has other medical issues involving his neck, hips, back and legs. What it said on the Medicare website is that you have to be non-ambulatory for Medicare to cover the cost of an electric chair. I would be interested to know if anyone else has experience with this.

By annwood On 2009.09.24 12:07
My experience is a motorized wheelchair that is sitting in the basement. It was used twice. I thought that this would be the perfect solution for my husband until he tried to ride it down three steps. From that point on he was terrified of it. I still think it is a great solution for someone who does not have cognitive problems but if the dementia is there the controls seem to be way beyond their ability. Now I am just waiting for someone who needs one and I will give it to them. By the way, Medicare did not cover any of the expense.

By SandwichMe On 2009.09.24 13:54
We didn't use the U-Step, but that was a pride issue for my FIL. He did use a wheeled walker around the house and a wheelchair anywhere else that we went. The biggest problem he had with the walker was that he wouldn't be able to pace himself correctly and he'd end up with it way out in front of him so he'd be nearly falling trying to catch up.

The wheelchair became our primary method, but not a motorized one. We thought about trying one, but then the tremors in his hands were so bad, picturing him wiggling through the house only made us laugh. He'd not be able to get anywhere! He'd just wobble back and forth in it.

Medicare covered the wheelchair and hospital bed under a rental type of thing.

By bandido1 On 2009.09.24 15:00
Everybody: (you too Al! LOL). Once again communication accuracy may be the solution to a problem. This patient,Bob C aka bandido1 has two canes, a wheelchair walker combination, and motorized scooter. I use all of them from time to time. The wheelchair walker allows my caregiver to push me around when i am seated but I use it as a walker most of the time. I also have a Ustep walker used only indoors. It includes a locking brake feature. I chose to use one I have been previously cleared to use a power wheelchair by both Medicare and my private supplemental insurance carrier (requires a doctor's order). Use of an OT or PT is strongly recommended in this case because I perceive the patient has both motor difficuties and some cognitive impairment. Bob C

By LOHENGR1N On 2009.09.24 16:45
Thanks for the responses everyone, Bob, "communication accuracy" huh? Now You've got me wound up. Seems there is a lot of "Communication Accuracy" being used to navigate the system. From this point on I'll use My own acronym in this posting, "circumventing rules and programs" or crap for short. I see the use of this crap almost daily. As I stagger to, on and from the bike trail by my home walking my dog there are several examples of use of crap tooling along in electric wheelchairs beverage holders containing cold beers. One young man told me he had a couple of seizures from drinking so He got a chair. Now he spends his days drinking and cruising the trail. CRAP! Another has MS, He loads His scooter into his truck, drives to the trail, sets a couple planks on the tailgate, unloads and rides the trail. He as no problem scrambling up or down the riverbank along the trail to fish. CRAP! I could go on and on but. As Emma posted "What it said on the Medicare website is that you have to be non-ambulatory for Medicare to cover the cost of an electric chair." The above cases don't seem to fit that to Me. I know there are plenty of People who use and need these devises along with plenty of People who are denied these devises when quality of life would be improved greatly if they had them. These days it seems if you know someone who has dealt with using crap to get over the system or hire someone who's head is filled with crap knowledge, you can get about anything! If we need health care reform I think it should begin with cutting the crap and leveling the playing field. Communication Accuracy or Crap, six of one, half a dozen of the other! Sorry Bob you got me at a venty time. No offence my friend. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By bandido1 On 2009.09.25 16:56
Al: Don't you think all doctors are crap shooters? The remaining space is for your next vent. Bob C

By overwhelmedinFL On 2009.11.18 23:38
Thanks for sharing knowledge and experiences on this.

I too am now speaking with my mom's doctor about what is next... ustep has been with us for 60 days. I got it when she tried a regular wheeled walker and never pulled the brakes. Unfortunately, even with OT and PT she uses the u-step wrong too. She grips those brakes like crazy and won't ease off to slow down. I tried the bar option that you lean on thinking she would more naturally pull back when she was falling..but no.

She is falling with this thing like crazy, luckily no bad falls yet. I have seen her in a scooter and it isn't pretty. I think a wheelchair would be best but with her leg pain and lack of upper body strength she might not be able to move herself around very easy.

I am waiting for her doctor to give feedback on next step for getting around and also next step for her bed...she is sleeping poorly. I bought her a new bed to fit in her new place (king bed from house would not fit)...and she is having a hard time getting up and down. I need to know if I should trade matress set in for a nicer one or go through process of hospital bed.

I wish I read more of this board before putting her in ALF...I am seeing now how ugly could potentially get as she will need more care than they give i bet.

By in-faith On 2009.11.19 06:44
My MIL also has trouble with the walker getting ahead of her at times. She can't seem to remember to use the brake when this happens. She seems fine in the house, it's generally when we go out that this happens. I think a lot has to do with stress. I always walk right beside her where I can hold onto the walker if I need to.

By Mary On 2009.11.19 14:11
Dad used to lean to the right so badly that he'd just take the walker with him - like it was attached. The walker did not give him any support at all. Dad's doctor would not okay a motorized wheelchair, so we got a regular wheelchair. I was surprised how well he could get around in it and no more falls!

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