The Wheelchair Enhancement Center At The Boston Home
The Boston Home’s Wheelchair Enhancement Center opened in 2012 to extend to clients The Boston Home’s deep expertise in maximizing wheelchair functionality, especially for people living with progressive neurological diseases, primarily Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This video shows Director Don Fredette with Jack, one of the Center’s clients. Clients live in the community or other long term care facilities and receive customized enhancements for their wheelchairs to increase comfort and personal independence, both of which are essential to their quality of life. The Center provides cost effective solutions in a timely manner. Staff members also provide referral information to seating clinics and other therapy services for clients.
For individuals who rely on power wheelchairs, comfort and functionality are critically important. Customization might include attaching an iPad or reprogramming the drive software for improved control.
Services Offered Include
Wheelchair Modifications — Fashion custom designed modifications around the specific needs of the client, including but not limited to seating components, lap trays, footplates, head rests, etc.
Wheelchair Assessment — Assess existing wheelchair set-up and provide solutions for improving functionality and safety, making adjustments and reconfiguring components. Provide referral information to seating clinic and equipment vendors when the needs or chair repairs are beyond the Center’s scope.
Electronic and Social Media — Design and install custom devices to attach cell/smart phones, iPad, tablet PCs, laptops, e-readers, etc. to wheelchairs using both commercially available and in-house manufactured solutions.
Power Wheelchair Programming — Adjust and refine electronic profiles with manufacturer controller programmer pads for safer, more responsive, and user appropriate drive settings.
Alternative Drive Controls — Explore and implement an array of possible methods to operate powered wheelchairs.
Training — Provide training to individuals, families, support staff, therapists, organizations in the operation and troubleshooting of powered mobility, proper positioning, basic adjustments, preventative maintenance and repair.
Wheelchair Repair — Provide limited repair services and referrals to Durable Medical Equipment vendors when necessary.
For more information about the Wheelchair Enhancement Center contact Don Fredette at 617.326.4278 or visit thebostonhome.org.
Transcript of the Wheelchair Enhancement Center at The Boston Home Video
Don: So Jack has come to The Boston Home for some enhancements to his wheelchair, things that he hasn’t been able to get his wheelchair vendor to do. He doesn’t have the resources and the hands, quite frankly, by anybody else to make the changes that he wants to his chair. There have been some seating modifications that we’ve done. And the important thing is that sometimes it’s just little tweaks, little adjustments and you need someone who can really take the time to listen to you and make those little changes, be patient, adjust and readjust and readjust until you get it right, because that comfort is critical. Especially when you’re driving with a head array like Jack’s driving and position is so important. So, we’ve been able to help Jack out at The Boston Home with those kinds of modifications. But the other important thing for Jack is staying connected, and having his computer equipment on his chair. This is an eye gaze system that was mounted with a fairly conventional commercially available environmental control mounting device, however there is a lot of small modifications that were made to it and powering that device is done through the wheelchair.
Kirsten: So Jack, what do you do with all these devices that you have here? What does it give to you in terms of independence?
Jack: Communication, telephone, email, speech synthesis, the internet. Also where I live it helps me with elevators and doors, lights and all. I actually have three different devices and I do some programming testing on them to help work some of the interfaces. I’ve always been kind of a geek, an early adopter of stuff, gadgets.
Kirsten: So you found a like mind here?
Jack: I like tinkering.
Don: I think one of the things that happens is that we speak the same language in a sense. So if I say to Jack that I’m going to use a number ten bolt or I’m going to put a cord of twenty thread in something, he understands. And likewise when he’s explaining something to me I sort of get the lingo that he uses. I’m not an engineer, so I don’t have that level of sophistication, but in terms of the mechanical interfaces I think we speak a common language.
Jack: Being an engineer isn’ t that important. It’s having the hands on field experience. Just knowing how to turn a wrench – which engineers can’t do!
Kirsten: That’s my quote!