Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Recommended Cleaning Procedures for your Manual or Electric Wheelchair

Elderly woman in wheelchair

You spend practically all day in your wheelchair, which is why maintaining proper cleaning procedures is crucial to its overall care. Whether you drive a manual or electric wheelchair or scooter, making sure to disinfect its surfaces and wheels can greatly lengthen its lifetime. While it may not seem like it, dirt and grime can greatly affect the efficiency of your chair or scooter’s wheels and brakes, so it is important that you wipe down its frame often depending on how often the wheelchair or scooter is used. While cleaning your wheelchair may seem like a long and burdensome task, it is actually quite easy and typically takes only a few minutes! In this blog, we will go over how to clean a wheelchair and keep it in prime condition!

All you need to effectively clean your chair is a washcloth or rag and a nonabrasive cleaner. Keep in mind that wax-based cleaners are usually more effective because it makes the metal parts shinier and more resistant to scratches or other superficial damages. Do not use abrasive cleaners like furniture polishes. These cleaners can wear down the wheelchair cushions and can harden the frames or footrests, making them more prone to dirt and grime accumulation.

Cleaning a Manual (Non-Electric Wheelchair)

The vast majority of those with disabilities use manual wheelchairs, which are simply wheelchairs that do not run on electricity. Maintaining these chairs is typically easier than electric equipment because you do not need to worry about damaging cords or other digital components. The best place to start cleaning is the wheels. If you use your wheelchair outdoors, it is likely that dirt, mud, or even leaves build up in the spokes and crevices of the wheels. This buildup can affect the riding capability of the chair and make it much harder to get the proper traction. To clean the wheels, simply take a rag and a nonabrasive cleaner or soap and gently scrub away at any dirt on the wheels. If there is dirt in the small crevices of the wheels, you can use a cleaning brush to gently dig in and release any built up dirt easily. Once the wheels are squeaky clean, you can move on to the chair’s base and metal components.

During this part, take a clean rag or cloth and a nonabrasive cleaner and wipe down all surfaces of the metal. As aforementioned, wipe down these parts gently and be careful not to scratch the metal surfaces. Also, be sure to focus cleaning around any bolts or screws—the accumulation of dirt around these areas can make future repairs much more difficult. You will instantly notice the difference your cleaning has made and your wheelchair will begin shining as if it were brand new!

Next, focus your attention on the chair’s footrests. These areas are prone to grime because they are regularly exposed to the bottoms of your shoes. Use nonabrasive cleaner or mild disinfectant spray to wipe away any grime that may have built up over time.

Finally, it is time to clean the seat and cushion! Wheelchair cushions and seats often get an odor after periods of extended use even if there were no spills on the chair itself. Both mild and severe odors can build up from sweating or spilt food and drinks if the wheelchair cushion is not properly maintained. Keep in mind that chairs featuring waterproof cushions are much more likely to develop odors due to their ability to absorb moisture and liquids. The end of the day is the best time to clean a chair’s cushion, for this is when the user is typically finished with the wheelchair and you can be sure there is enough time for it to dry out completely. Cleaning is a cinch and can be done in a few seconds or minutes. Simply take the wash cloth and once again cover the surface with the same cleaner or soap and water solution. Scrub the cushion cautiously being sure to avoid causing rips or tears. Be sure to give the cushion time to dry before using it again—no one wants to sit on a wet seat! 

Cleaning a Power Chair (Electric Wheelchair/Scooter)

You generally use the same methods practiced with cleaning a manual wheelchair in cleaning a power chair or scooter, but extra care must be taken to prevent any damage to its electrical components, including its battery or power outlets. Begin by removing any protective cover shielding the battery and then remove the battery itself to avoid any possible damage from cleaning solutions or water. Blow or gently wipe away any collected dust from the hard-to-reach areas near the battery and any other crevices on the wheelchair’s base. Similarly to manual chair care, use a cloth and a nonabrasive cleaner to spray and wipe down the wheels and spokes. Again, be sure to clean away any build-up that may impede the chair’s mobility functions. Spray the remaining metal surfaces with the same cleaner and cloth, being sure to avoid any electrical areas or scratching the paint. Once done, move on to the footrests and follow the same steps. Next, use a small bristled cleaning brush (or toothbrush) to scrub the joystick area. Either vacuum or spray the seat cushion thoroughly. If the chair has a vinyl cushion, consider hand washing it with a mild dish detergent and warm water. If the seat cushion is made of leather, try spraying a mixture of three-quarters vinegar, one-quarter water onto its surface and wipe thoroughly with a cloth. An optional step that may preserve the appearance of your chair for an extended time is applying a thin layer of nonabrasive wax to the power chair’s paint. This will achieve a long-lasting shine that will keep your chair looking brand new!

Whether you have a manual or electric wheelchair, maintaining the proper cleaning care is extremely important in ensuring it stays in optimal working condition for a long time. Being diligent about wheelchair cleaning can make your experience with your chair more pleasurable and can prevent future problems—both technical and mechanical—from occurring. Have your own wheelchair care methods? Share your knowledge in the comments section below!







Monday, April 24, 2017

Understanding the Difference Between a Mental Illness and Dementia



Did you know that there is an estimated 43.8 million adults in the United States that suffer from mental illnesses and about 9.8 million with a serious mental condition? From psychotic disorders to anxiety, mental illness has the potential to affect anyone and it is becoming more common as health professionals improve their understanding of a myriad of different disorders.

Since 1949, May has been known as Mental Health Month. It’s a time when people from all across the country band together to spread awareness for mental illness. Introduced by the national organization Mental Health America, Mental Health Month is about providing support and educating the public on how mental health affects people, how others can prevent stigmas from growing and how to advocate for better care. At Preferred Health Choice, mental health awareness is an important cause that is dear to our hearts. Through this blog, we hope to educate people on what mental illness really is and how it differs from other cognitive impairments like dementia. First, we must understand what it means to have a mental illness.

What is mental illness?

According to Psychiatry.org, mental illness is classified as “a health condition that involves changes in thinking, emotion and/or behavior.” Many people who suffer from mental illness also have problems functioning in social, work or family situations. There is a variety of different mental illnesses, and they can take different forms. Some may be more serious than others, causing low or high levels of daily productivity. These can range from anxiety disorders and phobias to bipolar disorder and severe depression. We’ve listed the most common types of mental disorders below:

·        Anxiety and behavioral disorders
·        Eating disorders
·        Mood disorders
·        Obsessive-compulsive disorders
·        Personality disorders
·        Psychotic disorders
·        Substance abuse disorders
·        Suicidal behavior
·        Trauma and stress-related disorders

However, mental illness is treatable and an early diagnosis is crucial to alleviate symptoms and save lives.


How is dementia different?

The line between identifying dementia and mental illness can be blurry. Many people believe that dementia is a mental illness because of its effects on the brain. However, dementia is not necessarily a mental illness; it is a cognitive disorder that deteriorates memory connectors in the brain, effectively causing memory loss and trouble with communication or bodily function.

The loss of memory could prompt some erratic behavior normally associated with a mental illness like mood swings, confusion or difficulty communicating. Severe cases of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may also cause physical changes, such as the loss of mobility.  Oftentimes, patients suffering from a later case of dementia will need a wheelchair or require home care services to help them with daily activities. Unfortunately, dementia cannot be reversed and treatment is rarely reliable. While there are medications that may improve symptoms, there is no cure or treatment that can consistently and effectively slow the progression of this illness.

Though it may be hard to see the difference between dementia and a mental illness, we hope our blog helps you recognize that they are similar, but separate conditions that deserve awareness. 

If you think you or someone you love is suffering from a mental illness or dementia, it is imperative to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. We recommend contacting your preferred health professional to discuss the next steps.


Monday, March 27, 2017

The Advantages of Long Term Care Hospital Beds for Patients and Caregivers


Whether you’re a patient or a caregiver, long term care beds can provide unparalleled comfort, safety and convenience for more than a few reasons. Using one of these beds can ultimately improve the quality of life of the patient and minimize potential physical strain for the caregiver. Before we get into the advantages of using these adjustable beds, let’s explore what these beds are and what they can do!

What are long term care beds?
Also known as nursing home beds, these beds are typically used in assisted living facilities, rehab centers, and long term care facilities, but can also be used in the privacy of one’s own home. These beds come in a variety of sizes, including larger and more durable beds for bariatric patients. Some of those beds have the ability to support up to 600 pounds.

Unlike traditional hospital beds, nursing home beds fit the needs of their patient and can be adjusted accordingly. For instance, these beds may be lowered or raised to provide personalized comfort and ease of use for caregivers.


Candidates for Long Term Care Beds
So, who would be an appropriate candidate for a long term care bed? These beds are typically used for patients with debilitating cognitive or physical conditions, which may include, but is not limited to:
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Paralysis
  • Amputation
  • Arthritis
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Old age

Keep in mind, if you think yourself or a patient may benefit from using an adjustable nursing home bed, it’s important to first speak with a physician or caregiver. They can help you decide what type of bed may be most useful for your condition or ailment.

Benefits of Home Care Beds

There is a long list of benefits to having an electric nursing home bed for both patients and caregivers.  

For patients, these beds can provide optimal comfort for a variety of conditions. Because nursing home beds are ordered and sized specifically for the patient, they prove to be a cushy place to rest. When positioned up or down, these beds can facilitate healthy blood flow and improve circulation for patients with limited mobility or those who spend long periods of time in bed. These adjustable beds may also be accessorized for the patient. Whether it’s an upgraded mattress or custom handrails, long term care beds are designed to fit the safety and comfort needs of the patient completely.

Long-term care beds can help eliminate some of the physical stress for caregivers as well. These beds are typically motorized, which provides an easy way for caregivers to move patients in and out of bed or position them throughout the day. This can help minimize the amount of physical strain and “caregiver burnout.”

At Preferred Health Choice, we offer a variety of long term care bed solutions to meet all your needs. If you think that purchasing one of these beds might be the right decision for you or your patient, please take a moment to browse our selection.

Have you used any of these beds or have experience with a long term care bed? Share your thoughts in the comments!




Monday, May 2, 2016

What is a Medical Air Mattress?

A medical air mattress is a therapy support surface designed to prevent, manage and treat patients at risk for or with skin breakdown.

There are several types of therapeutic support surfaces and they are classified in Groups: I and II.

A Group I Mattress is the least desirable support surface. Group I therapy includes:
  • Gel overlays: designed to distribute pressure and reduce friction and shear with gel bladders encased in a foam base.
  • Foam mattress: multiple layers of foam for pressure reduction.
  • Alternating pressure pad: Alternates the air inflation and deflation of the cells to constantly change pressure points and to promote circulation. These are typically a few inches in height with a pump to circulate the air.
Group II Support Surfaces are designed for pressure ulcer therapy and provide a therapeutic benefit of pressure relief and skin moisture management. They are:
  1. Non -powered reduction mattress: Channels the air circulation through maximum patient immersion.
  2. Alternating Pressure: Alternates the inflation and deflation of cells to constantly change pressure points and to promote circulation.
  3. Low Air Loss: Floats the patient on air-filled cells while circulating air across the skin to reduce moisture and help maintain a constant skin interface pressure "True Air Loss" utilizes 100-150 liters of air per minute to maintain normal skin temperature and moisture levels, yet will not dry out therapeutic dressings. True low air loss mattresses are typically 8" in height. The more liters per minute, the more effective the mattress.
  4. Lateral Rotation Mattress: A rotating air mattress is a must-have for bed-bound patients suffering from a variety of ailments requiring them to have assistance in turning and shifting their body weight while lying in bed. Without this capability, a long list of health problems can occur, including bed (or pressure) sores, breakdown of skin tissue and infections affecting various internal organs. A turning mattress, also known as a lateral rotation therapy mattress, provides regular lateral movement of the user through the use of air pressure to create an angled plane that causes the body to turn.
Some air mattresses combine alternating pressure, low air loss and lateral rotation. This type of mattress combining all three therapies is the most ideal for patients who have difficulty turning, have stage 3-4 pressure wounds and need to improve circulation.

The best air mattress for the elderly depends on the patient's diagnosis, nutritional status, weight, mobility and skin condition. Typically if a patient has a stage 3 or 4 wound, a combination mattress of low air loss and alternating pressure is recommended. The more severe the pressure wound, or circulation issue, the more complex mattress is needed.

It is critical to educate and understand these therapeutic support surfaces so the proper therapy product be provided.

How it works.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Wonderful Benefits of the Jay 2 Wheelchair Cushion

Jay 2 Wheelchair Cushion Design

The wheelchair and chair cushion are a team, working together to provide mobility and comfort. They each complement each other and offer the user safe and relaxing support. No other wheelchair cushion does this like the Jay 2 Wheelchair Cushion available here on PHC. Its lightweight and low-maintenance structure make it perfect for those seeking a comfortable, hassle-free solution.

A good wheelchair cushion provides exceptional comfort, pressure management, upright positioning, increased sitting stability and reduced fatigue. The Jay 2 wheelchair back does just this with its exceptional gel component. A gel wheelchair cushion conforms to the appropriate pressure points on the buttocks and legs, which provides an even distribution of upward support. They are specifically designed to relieve pressure in certain areas by absorbing it into the gel packs. It’s not only incredibly important to sit correctly in a wheelchair, but users should also be comfortable when they do so. The Jay 2 does just that.

This incredible cushion comes with many amazing benefits. It is fantastic for users who frequently move themselves in the wheelchair. The mobility of the gel allows for quick adaptability between movements. With more than two inches of Jay Flow fluid contained in the cushion, it conforms to bony areas and provides maximum pressure distribution and reduction. This cushion is also designed for users who have a high risk of skin breakdown. If there is an area of skin that is broken down or on the verge of being harmed, the relief of pressure from the gel can reduce the chances of further damage. Furthermore, the Jay 2 is easily customizable, able to accommodate any specific needs the user may have. With a variety of secondary supports, the cushion can address both fixed and reducible orthopedic deformities. Finally, to prevent bottoming out after long-term use, there is a firm foam base beneath the gel. This base is contoured to provide the best pelvic positioning possible, which helps the user with posture and energy levels.

The Jay 2 Wheelchair Cushion is durable, comfortable, adaptable and built to last. It’s a popular product among our customers, and we are proud to offer it at an incredible price. Having an appropriate seat cushion in your wheelchair is essential to remaining upright and relaxed. Without a good cushion, the user can become fatigued, achy, develop severe pains and even wiggle out of place. Stay away from useless wheelchair cushions. Use the Jay 2 Wheelchair cushion for optimal support and comfort.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Best Technology Solutions for People With Disabilities

Part of living with disabilities is learning the best way to adapt to the rest of society. In an ideal world, there would be an option for special needs everywhere we go and for everything we need to use, but it’s simply not the case as of yet. However, there are great strides being taken in technology focusing on the inclusion of people struggling with motor skills and limited mobility, and we’d like to highlight just a few innovations and accommodations we’re particularly impressed with!

Transportation

If you can’t operate your own vehicle, public transportation is the best alternative for independent transit. The MetrO mobile and tablet app allows you to download maps of over 400 cities all over the world and search by bus, tram, subway and railway routes. Once a city is downloaded, you can even access the map without an Internet connection. And if you happen to be a New York City resident, the Wheely NYC disability app can provide an in-depth wheelchair-accessible subway map of the city.

So, it looks like the “how” is covered, but “where” exactly can you go? Wheelmap is an online map that you can use to find wheelchair-accessible locations, and users even contribute their personal experiences through photos and comments. In the case that you arrive at a certain location and a handicap parking spot is occupied illegally, the Parking Mobility accessibility app helps you report the violation to the city. You can also search for and add accessible parking spots through this application as well.

Health & Nourishment

Let’s face it. If we’re leaving the house, at least half the time it’s probably for food. Download the LocalEats app and easily filter your local restaurant searches for handicap access. Or take it easy and filter for locations that deliver!

When it comes to physical activity, people with disabilities must confront the challenge of customizing exercises to fit their needs. Physiotherapy Exercises is a library of over 600 types of exercises, and you can search by conditions such as old age, motor delay, hand injury, spinal cord injuries and more. While the app is geared towards physiotherapists and medical professionals, as it heavily uses medical terminology, it can still give you an idea of what key areas to focus on.

Most importantly, put the state of your health in your own hands instead of the exam room. Track your daily activity with the help of Azumio’s health and fitness applications. Monitor everything from your sleep and heart rate to fitness routines and even glucose levels.

Fun & Work

With vast changes being made to mobile and tablet devices at an alarming rate, these devices are not always user-friendly for people with disease or disability. Tecla Access makes it possible for an adapted external switch or wheelchair control to translate actions on an interface users are comfortable with to their tablet or smartphone.

Apps aside, tools such as the Limitless Stylus, a comfortable stylus attached at the wrist, and the MagConnect, a magnetic wheelchair tablet mount, are wonderful starting points in terms of adaptive technology solutions.

Have some favorite tools or apps of your own? Feel free to share the knowledge and give us a rundown in the comments below!

Note: Android app versions also available.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Aquatec Beluga Bath Lift for Safety and Relaxation

Having full independence with limited mobility is a constant struggle, and the freedom to take care of oneself is all the more important when it comes to personal hygiene. Thankfully, there are specialized aids, such as bath lifts, available for disabled, injured or elderly patients to take advantage of. Even caregivers can benefit from a bath lift, since lifting someone in and out of a bathtub puts a great deal of strain on the back.

When it comes to choosing a bathtub lift chair, the Aquatec Beluga Bath Lift is a popular choice here at Preferred Health Choice. It’s safe, it’s a breeze to operate, and - the most vital element of all - it’s absolutely relaxing!

Check out some features below:

All White Aquatec Beluga Bath Lift Chair

Sturdy and Comfortable

The Aquatec Beluga is sturdy in frame yet soft in material. Its frame is made out of tough stainless steel and reinforced plastic that can withstand a lot of pressure as well as wet conditions. The overlaying cover is made out of a flexible rubber mesh that can easily be removed and thrown into the wash for cleaning. In order to cater to a wide variety of people, the bath lift can lift up to 300 pounds and is even latex-free for people with latex allergies.

As if this doesn’t make you want to sink into the bath already, the Aquatec Beluga descends an impressive 2.5” from the tub’s base and reclines 35 degrees for ultimate leisure.

Easy to Use, Easy to Love

In most cases, this battery-powered bath lift will fit in any standard home bathtub, but there are other options in case it won’t. The Wide size has a spacious 35” seat rather than the standard 28” for larger garden-style and whirlpool tubs, and the Extra Large size has a 400-lb weight capacity rather than the standard 300-lb capacity.

It can also be taken with you during travel on vacations, as it collapses into a size comparable to a small suitcase. And because it runs by battery, there’s truly no fuss in regards to portability or installation. Simply pack it up, store it in the trunk of your vehicle and unfold for use at your destination!

Keeping You Safe and Sound

Call us old fashioned, but the most appealing part about the Aquatec Beluga bath lift is its design for safety. Once you’re seated on the device, any concern about accidentally slipping or falling will wash away. With an attached, floating pushbutton hand control at your side, you can easily raise and lower the bath lift on your own without putting any stress on your hips, knees or shoulders. And its smart safety system won’t even allow the lift to descend without enough battery power to also ascend (5-6 lifts/charge), ensuring the patient will not be stranded in the tub.

This convenient bath lift chair is only a step in achieving full independence, but it’s certainly a rewarding one! In need of something else? Visit our store, and find your preferred mobility solution!