Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neuromuscular disease that causes neurodegeneration of the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control the muscle movements of the body is lost. Due to the documented sudden decline in function, a person with ALS can go from using a walker to needing a power mobility device very quickly.
Often, people with ALS require the assistance of power mobility very quickly due to the rapid progressive nature of the disease.
In the beginning stages of ALS, a client may require a power chair with a high-back support to assist with positioning and performance of Mobility Related Activities of Daily Living (MRADLs).
If the individual has adequate hand movement for controlling the power chair, then a joystick should be used since it provides the most direct control for driving a power base. It is often advised to provide a client with a hand controller that has switch jacks. As the user’s ability changes, switches can be added to operate on/off and mode operations.
As the disease progresses, the individual may find he or she has a limited amount of time during the day when a joystick can be operated. It is at this time that more advanced electronics, such as a mini-proportional joystick, head-array or chin control may need to be considered to operate the power chair.
The individual will most likely require the use of postural support components and power positioning functions to assist in pressure relief, postural realignment and function.
These components may also help with transfers, sitting tolerance and comfort. The power positioning options for consideration include power tilt and recline systems, power adjustable seat height, power articulating leg rests or a power articulating foot platform. Providing a power base that can accept oxygen, and eventually a ventilator, is also very important.
Based on the mobility needs of an individual with ALS, they may benefit from a power base with the ability to accept full seating and positioning options, various drive controls, power positioning, and can accommodate a vent tray and oxygen holder.
As the condition progresses, vent trays and TRU-Balance® 3 Power Positioning Systems (Power Tilt, Power Recline, 10” Power Adjustable Seat Lift with iLevel® and Power Articulating Leg Rests/Power Articulating Foot Platform) can be added. All TRU-Balance 3 Power Positioning Systems are highly adjustable to meet the changing needs of a client with ALS.
TRU-Comfort 2 Seating, which provides excellent comfort and pressure management, in addition to having an aesthetically pleasing look, is another seating option. To meet the ever changing needs of the client with ALS, consider the line of Synergy® seat cushions and back rests that provide significant pressure distribution, positioning, stability and comfort.
The TRU-Balance®3 Power Tilt gives you the option of ordering angle-adjustable towers and adjusting the angle of the back canes, which provide optimum positioning and comfort during MRADLs. Since changes in muscle tone can occur with MS, a power tilt system allows a change of position without causing an increase in spasticity, which can cause changes to the client’s seated position.
TRU-Comfort 2 Seating, which provides excellent comfort and pressure management, in addition to having an aesthetically pleasing look, is a seating option available to a client with MS. Synergy® Cushions and Backs have a variety of seat cushions and back rests to meet your client’s individual needs. They provide significant skin protection to help your client maintain skin integrity, yet still remain seated on a stable surface.
A Q6 Edge® 2.0 and Q6 Edge® base also has the capability for expandable electronics. Since ALS can quickly progress, this is essential. The client with ALS can start driving with a joystick and when fatigue becomes a factor, can switch to an alternative drive control option like chin control, head array or switched driving. As the client develops greater challenges and requires alternative drive controls, a Q-Logic 2 Enhanced Display can be added for continued independent control.
The Enhanced Display not only provides the individual with the ability to control the power base, but also has a built-in wireless Bluetooth mouse emulator to allow for continued independent use of a computer through the power wheelchair’s electronics. The Enhanced Display can further augment independence with use of the infrared capability to control a television, stereo or X10 technology.
For individuals who utilize switch-input drive controls, our optional Accu-Trac® Advanced Tracking Technology, available on the Q6 Edge®, delivers enhanced straight line tracking to optimize driving performance. This can help decrease the client’s overall fatigue level by requiring fewer steering corrections.
Pictures can also be downloaded into the Enhanced Display to provide the client with another means of basic communication when he/she can no longer verbally communicate or when the individual’s communication device is not available.
The Q6 Power Chair Series has a proven track record of quality, reliability and customer satisfaction.