Has anyone used a rehab-type electric power chair for care of an Alzheimer's patient at home?


They can elevate, recline, tilt, etc. They have attendant controls in the rear for the caregiver to use. I wondered if they would be useful. I already have a Hoyer lift, sit-to-stand and ceiling lifts. The power chair would be used for field trips in a handicap ramp van and for moving around the house, transferring to bed, toilet, reclining lift chair, etc.

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My husband has a $49,000 custom built power chair that right now is sitting outside the master bedroom door and hasn’t been used for 3 weeks. The last time we used it, he made it out the door (barely), and down the ramp, I used the portable Hoyer to get him in my car and all was well. But when we came back home, we couldn’t get the chair back up the ramp. I am convinced he was steering it wrong. He kept hitting the side rails of the ramp. I wish I’d known about the caregiver controls because I had to push him (300#) and the chair (400#) up the ramp. It was a total disaster. He was supposed to be trained by the OT on how to operate the chair but the OT required a doctor’s order. He would have had to know how to operate the chair to get to the doctor in the first place and wouldn’t have needed the OT. Made no sense.

The way hubby panicked when the chair wouldn’t go up the ramp, if he had dementia it would ha e been much worse.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

I would be concerned about safety. My dad doesn't have dementia and we've had a few minor "oopsies" with his power chair, with both him and my sibling and I operating it. Even customized for his relatively small size (he's 5 feet 6 inches and slim/average weight), his chair weighs over 300 pounds. When it is in motion, it is powerful. I've learned the hard way not to multitask when driving it. I almost took a toenail off once when I was maneuvering it in our van!
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Reply to SnoopyLove

The person would need to be evaluated to see how advanced the dementia is in relation to ability to self drive the wheelchair. Otherwise there will be wall bumping, people bumping or even falls from the chair.
For use by a caregiver, You might want to consult a PT and ask what kind of chairs are out there. I recently saw a customized power chair for a semi quadleplegic that had a motor similar to ones built in customized bikes. I live near a bike shop that did some custom work for a hemiplegic. So that may be another site to inquire.  Also check with colleges that offer post graduate work in biomedical training.  MIT comes to mind ( in Boston)
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Reply to MACinCT