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My Father is in declining health. He has had a live-in care caregiver since April 2014, and after several TIA's and emergency gallbladder surgery, we found that it would be in the best interest to place him in a memory care facility.

He can no longer speak or control body functions; he can no longer perform any tasks, he needs to be fed. He has a private caregiver at the memory care facility at present.

Our Mom is in an assisted living facility. Expenses are piling and adding up.

We want to ensure that they are both being cared for and are comfortable, but don't know whether to spend $1,300+ on a custom wheelchair, that he ma not live to see. However, if we new he would live to use it, we wouldn't hesitate to purchase it.

Anyone have experience, or a similar situation?

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I hope you're able to make your father comfortable, with the help of his team. I found, in the last year or so of my mother's life, that hospitals were not good places for frail elderly people to be. Although I did take her in on at least three occasions during that last year, I found it consoling to remember that unless I could think of something useful I expected the hospital to do, no one would blame me for keeping her away.
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Hi All,

Thank you for your posts. After receiving the initial responses we had made the decision to get the wheelchair ( which is covered by Medicare & the add-on accessories.) We had given the provider credit card info.

Later that evening, he was taken by ambulance to the hospital, because after giving him a breathing treatment, he was still in distress.

The ER did swab him upon arrival and after 48 hours notified us that he has MRSA.

After much thought and discussion with his Primary Care Physician, these past few months and weeks, we have decided to go forward with hospice care as the quality of his life has diminished to the point where it could be argued that he has no quality of life.

He is pretty much non responsive and unable to speak and is not cognitive.

The Memory Care facility has been very helpful in securing a highback wheelchair and other necessary equipment; they have a Hospice Wing,

The hospital that he was taken to gave us a very bad feeling that they were definitely a for-profit hospital, swallowing tests were performed, even though 3 had been done so far this year. The nurse also said that he could not leave the hospital, and if we chose hospice, we would have to use the service that they use, but that is an entirely different story.

But again, thank you one and all for your responses. This is a journey my Father never would have chosen, but feared greatly; we as a family just want to insure that he is comfortable.
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Personally, I would buy the wheelchair if it would make him more comfortable and his quality of life better. As I always said to my parents, you worked hard for your money and saved it for a rainy day and now it is pouring outside. Also, I know that the va will cover the costs of a motorized wheelxhair if your dad was a vet. My dad was given the option of a regular or motorized chair recently. You may want to check into that, don't know if it will work or not. Best wishes with whatever decision you make.
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Does his bed have wheels? Can staff wheel him to the patio, community room?
Or transport him some other way? Can you visit more often instead of buying him something?
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He cannot use it on his own.
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Someone purchased an expensive wheelchair, motorized, he was afraid he would fall out and said it was dangerous, but doesn't mind the cheaper wheelchair rental in which he is accompanied by a caregiver.
Maybe you could focus on getting him rehab or physical therapy to improve his functioning after the T.I.A.'s, a miniature stroke. As well as speech therapy.
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I know from experience that's it tough getting insurance to cover a wheelchair. It's ridiculous, but they will in time.

For the immediate time, I would see if the Memory Care facility has one he can use. The one my loved one entered was able to use one they provided. She already had a nice pillow designed to protect from sores, but she is still in their chair. I would get that pillow that fits in the seat. It really makes her more comfortable.

Based on how you describe your dad, he will likely need a special chair that has a tray on the front. I have seen residents in them at the Memory Care unit where my loved one lives. I would discuss it with the place your dad will be staying.

Rentals are also available, if they are not able to accommodate you.
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Medicare would cover the cost of a wheelchair rental. I don't recommend any big purchases right now. We all want to do something to make them happy. When my mother got cancer, Dad bought her a new car and a fur coat. It made him feel better.
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The facility really should provide a reclining wheelchair or Geri chair and pressure relief cushion if he needs it. It won;t be truly "custom" but should not be just a standard upright manual chair if he can't sit up in one. But if not, I think Gershun has the right idea. No one can predict how long your dad has and you won't regret doing things that really enhnace his quality of life...if there is an occupational therapist on staff, or maybe the physical therapist, they could also advise how much help a better wheelchair would actually be.
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This is kind of a different situation but when my Mom was relocated to a new nursing home they wouldn't allow her to have her own furniture. I finally convinced the staff at NH to allow me to purchase a nice, new rocker recliner for my Mom thinking this would cheer her up.

My Mom ended up dying less than two mths. later. Do I feel bad about the expense? Not really. She enjoyed it while she had it and now it sits in my living room. Every time I look at it I remember how thrilled she was with it.
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What kind of wheelchair are you considering? Is it motorized? Is there no way that Medicare will pay for it?

If I were in your situation, I think I would ask myself not so much what the price is and whether it's worth it, but is it worth it rather for the time that my father could use it. If it would make life easier for him, I would get it, with the plan of selling it when that time comes. Yes, you'll some value to depreciation, but would that compare with the value of easing your father's life at this difficult stage?

I'm wondering though if you couldn't find a used one. That's a lot to pay for a wheelchair.

The other important issue is what the doctors say...what's his prognosis?
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