Permobil C300 Corpus 3G Power Wheelchair

Posted: May 13, 2013 in ALS Related
Tags: , , , , , , ,

There are many factors that go into choosing the right Power wheelchair for you. I’m going to focus on how I chose mine, a Permobil C300 Corpus 3G. Soon before I actually got the ball rolling with the process of insurance approval and all the hoops you have to jump (or fall) through, I did my research. It wasn’t easy; there are a lot more options than I expected. After being overwhelmed with information, I searched for the most common power wheelchairs used by pALS. I don’t remember where I read it but it was Pride and Permobil. I ended up choosing to go with Permobil. Some deciding factors in choosing  Permobil was that it has the highest seat elevation at eight inches, and most important is that Permobil has Corpus 3G seating which offers great back support that can be customized to your specific needs. That part was a no-brainer with my back issues. Also, I know a lady with a Permobil. It looked comfortable, she said she practically lived in it and loved it. She and her husband showed me and Tony how she drives up the ramp and into her van using the EZ Lock system which I was interested in. It’s much easier and less time-consuming than the 4 point locking system I had read about. She just rolled up the ramp and turned into where the passenger seat would be and a docking pin mounted under the chair locks into a docking base mounted to the floor. You hear it lock in and you’re finished. Here is a link to learn about it. http://www.ezlock.net/

So now I had the brand narrowed down but it didn’t stop there. The added features seemed endless, and did I want front, mid or rear wheel drive? I wanted a chair with a tight turning radius because I knew we would be moving to a much smaller place when we sold our house. I also wanted a chair that is good for outdoors so I could go for walks with Tony and go to the dog park.

These factors helped narrow it down to their M300 or their C300. Both models have the Corpus 3G seating system.  

The M300 is a mid wheel drive with the best turning radius of only 20”. That seemed great considering the majority of the chair use would be at home, especially as I progressed, and would be navigating tight spaces.

The C300 is a front wheel drive and considered better for outdoors. That alone made me want it because I so wanted to feel secure driving outside. I had to force myself to keep thinking ahead. There was a chance outdoors wouldn’t be as important by the time the chair arrived. That’s how cruel ALS is.

Before I get into other features, I’ll tell you what brought me to the final decision between these two models. After much searching and reading it came down to two factors. First I learned there was only a slight difference in the turning radius between them. They’re both great chairs but I learned with the M300 people were dealing with the large 8” front casters coming into contact with the mid wheel unless you have the leg rests as far in as possible. I didn’t want to have to make any adjustment to move the chair in any way so finally the choice was made. The Permobil C300 Corpus 3G would be my chair.  

Now it was time to focus on the features I would need. I think the most important feature is the seat elevation. While you can still lift your arms It is great to be able to lift up and reach things you need. It’s extremely important for any caregiver. It will save their back by being able to keep good form while caring for you. They can put you at the right level for them to accommodate their height enabling them to keep good form. It also makes transfers much easier because you can raise or lower the chair height to whatever you’re transferring to, be it from a reclining position in chair transferring onto a bed, or from a sitting position onto any height toilet. If Medicare is the only insurance you have then you need to be prepared that it won’t be a covered feature. Most local dealers offer to add this feature costing between $1,500 and $2,000. Most will also offer a payment plan. I know that is a lot of money to many people especially with all the other extra expenses adding up, but If at all possible to get this, you and anyone who cares for you will be thankful. You can go to alsguardianangels.com and fill out a grant request. They may be able to fully or partially pay for it depending on available funds.  

Another great feature is the attendant control. It is mounted on the back of the chair and your caregiver can drive for you.  This is a great feature early and especially later in progression. It is an electric control mounted on the back of your chair that can be kept down and out of sight when not needed. It gives your caregiver full ability to drive for you. You’ll want this to be someone you trust and they should practice a little without you in the chair to get used to operating it.

I also highly recommend the ROHO seat cushion. I can get lost in the specifics but mine is a four chamber air-filled system that is extremely comfortable and adjustable.  It greatly reduces the chances of pressure sores, I don’t want to start talking over my head so I’ll just say definitely check into it and I personally recommend it over a gel cushion. Learn about ROHO wheelchair seat cushions attherohogroup.com/products

I also have an easy adjustable and removable tray. It’s great for tablets and laptops and also for eating. I wouldn’t say it’s a must because you can roll under tables and bedside trays, and many people get creative and make their own custom tray. You can adjust the one I have to be flat or tilted. It’s a very nice feature.

The last I can think of is a simple cup holder. Something I didn’t think much of originally but if you stay in your chair a lot and are still able to drink, you most likely keep a drink with you to sip on. It’s also great for keeping up with your mobile phone if you can still use one. So this very simple feature is actually pretty important.

When you get your chair it comes with a tool bag full of what you’ll need to make any adjustments like the angle of your armrest or headrest height. It’s a nice thing to have on hand.

Another nice little gesture from Permobil is when you get your chair, a postage paid mailing card will come with it, you write the chair’s serial number on it, put it in the mail and they’ll send you a $50.00 Best Buy gift card.

I’m in no way trying to sell you on the Permobil brand or the model I chose. I’m just sharing my story of how I ended up with the chair I have. I’m very happy with it. The majority of its use has been outside. I did drive it around downstairs quite a bit in the beginning to help Abby get used to walking by it inside. Running over her is a huge fear of mine. One of the instructors at her behavior class pointed out to me she is at eye level with the wheels and watches them closely. I still use the command “watch wheels” if I can’t see her or we start moving to be safe as possible.

This was my Power wheelchair experience. The last thing I want to stress is to not put it off. ALS is very sneaky and it can be a lengthy process from the first appointment to receiving the chair. It can take several months, and that’s if everything goes smoothly. I hope this is helpful to someone.

Please visit my website: http://thealsexpress.com

April

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Comments
  1. You made the right choice – for those with ALS, Permobil is THE BEST chair. I’ve had ALS for almost 17 years and have had 3 power wheelchairs; the first 2 were Permobils, but my Medicare “advantage plan” wouldn’t cover a Permobil so I got another brand that ended up costing just as much as a Permobil, but it’s uncomfortable and has had all kind of mechanical problems. I am seriously thinking about paying cash for a used Permobil on Ebay and stick this chair in the garage!

    • aprilals says:

      I am very happy with my choice. I would do the same in your situation. I’m assuming here I know, but with you having ALS for 17 years, I imagine you spend a lot of time in your chair, and it must really suck being in an uncomfortable one. I would check Craigslist, Ebay and http://www.alsforums.com/forum/used-als-equipment-sale/ daily. I wish you luck in finding a Permobil.

      • Thank you for the link, April!
        I am in my wheelchair about 15 hours per-day. A Permobil is more comfortable than this chair, but even a custom-built Permobil will begin getting uncomfortable after 8+ hours, especially when you’re paralyzed and cannot shift your weight around to adjust pressure-points etc. I have always gone a step further after receiving my new chairs; I buy a bucket seat cover (cloth) and 2” thick memory foam and cut the foam to fit and then stretch the seat cover over the foam to keep it in place.

  2. aprilals says:

    Hello, I hope you’re doing well and have had luck in finding a permobil for your comfort. I have been meaning to get back and ask about your seating. I’m sure you’ve become quite the pro at it. I don’t spend much time in my chair right now because It’s sitting in my empty den 14 stairs down and I won’t have a wheelchair van until the house is sold. I do go for rides in it outside when possible to get out of the house and I couldn’t imagine sitting in the chair for long periods without the ROHO seating, but I can’t say from experience how well it will feel after 8 hours, and certainly not 15 without the ability to shift any weight as you explain. I have the ROHO quad. Do you have any experience with this seating?

    • portll says:

      Hi April,

      I thought I’d reply as you’re missing a bit of info in your posts that may be very relevant to people reading it to make buying decisions.

      – The M300 comes with 6″ castors if these are preferred
      – The M300 doesn’t have the EZ Lock system available
      – The attendant control is an additional cost extra, so make sure it’s specified if you’ll need it
      – The Best Buy gift card is either US only or no longer applicable
      – The M300’s castor wheels don’t (and can’t) touch the drive wheels. It worries me that you’ve posted this article multiple places with this fact so incorrect – it would put people off purchasing a chair that might otherwise be a perfect fit for them.

      If you have limited trunk control, paraplegia or are spending more hours in the chair with less activity than most, an air cushion such as the Roho will be the likely best option. If you’re a more active user or have the ability to shift weight around, the standard Permobil hybrid air/gel cushion may be great. If you’re a very active user, can redistribute your weight on the seat, need postural support from the cushion, do a lot of kilometers/miles or have deep/sharp seat bones, a gel and foam cushion such as the Jay 2 Deep Contour is likely to be the best option. Most cushions can have a layer or more of soft, extra soft or super soft foam cut to size and added where needed – this can help spread forces into an air cushion, but is more useful to prevent bottoming out in a gel cushion. All cushions should be correctly sized and inflated/adjusted so you’re sitting in the cushion but not ‘on’ or ‘through’ the cushion.

      You don’t say if you’re using the actual cup holder, which is bulky, made of plastic with a foam insert, and easily broken, or the mobile phone pouch, which doubles as a cup holder and fits a 500ml bottle of coke quite easily, but will also break from stress on the plastic rim.

      Btw, the new X-Grip mobile phone holder is an incredible benefit for us wheelies, and can be mounted on the joystick side with a bit of love.

      It’s also worth mentioning that the C500 is a better chair if you’re going outdoors a lot, due to the better suspension system than the C300, and that the M300 can’t go up ramps as steep as the drive wheels can end up off the ground, while the C300/400/500 can climb more than 3″ if you abuse them a bit. This helps to get into shops and up kerbs that the M300 can’t quite manage, but isn’t usually a problem.

      • aprilals says:

        Hi, I appreciate your input. Choosing a power wheelchair is a very important decision.

        I don’t think 6″ castors were an option for M300 when I purchased my chair. Maybe they took note and changed that.

        The EZ lock system and attendant control didn’t come standard with my C300, and is something worth mentioning.

        If you’ve checked, they must have discontinued the Best Buy gift card and it may well have been US only. It was very easy to get when I received my chair. It was in no way meant to be an endorsement or a deciding factor for something so costly. If you chose Permobil, it was a little something nice to receive is all.

        I have ALS, so my wheelchair choices are geared to that. ALS is progressive leading to loss of trunk and all muscle control. This is why I chose and suggested the ROHO seat cushion.

        You mention the C500. Insurance to help with the purchase, Medicare specifically, won’t cover the C500 for ALS.

        There are many things to consider and what is great for one person may not be for the next.

        I’ve had my Permobil C300 for going on two years now along with ALS changes. I’m very happy with my choice.

        If you’re in the market for a power wheelchair, please do your research. I suggest going to the site of any make you’re considering and read about each model possible for your condition.

        portll, thanks again for your input.

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