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Wednesday, January 13, 2010
The WE-GO An answer for those people in wheelchairs that need
to be pushed, usually by much smaller wives. I can't tell you how many times I've delivered a scooter to a large man who says he got it because his wife, who usually weighs in around a hundred pounds soaking wet, can't push him anymore. Many times she has disabilities of her own. You also see people who work in the hospitals, men and women, pushing patients around. The WE-GO is designed to answer both of these situations. It is an attendant controlled powerchair. The patient sits in it and his wife or the hospital employee uses the attendant control handlebar to drive the chair where they need to go. Here is information direct from Rascal about the WE-GO development.
Background of the Rascal We Go Development
Purpose of Development of New Technology
For over a century manual wheelchairs have been the primary way to move temporarily or permanently disabled people in healthcare facilities. The New Rascal We Go is designed to replace manual wheelchairs, manual transport chairs, power wheelchairs with expensive companion controlled joysticks, and, in some situations, cumbersome gurneys and stretchers, as a means of transporting people who require mobility assistance. The patent pending Rascal We Go provides top level convenience, comfort and safety for patients and caregivers/companions alike.
Risk of Injury from Existing Technology
The number of healthcare workers who experience painful back injuries from transferring and transporting patients in wheelchairs is well documented (“Big Patients, Higher Cost”, Philadelphia Inquirer March 10, 2008; Safe Patient Handling and Movement: A Practical Guide for Health Care Professionals, Nelson, A. Ed. (2006); Patient Safety Center of Inquiry of the Veterans Administration Medical Center (www.visn8.med.va.gov/patientsafetycenter/)). Hundreds of thousands of hours of lost work time occur each year due to the multitude of neck, shoulder, leg, and back injuries caused by employees pushing patients in manual wheelchairs (A Back Injury Prevention Guide for Healthcare Workers, Cal/OSHA; US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, News Release, “Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away from Work, 2006,” November 8, 2007. Accessible at www.bls.gov/iif/).
Because most manual wheelchairs are designed to be self-propelled and not designed to be pushed from behind, the handles for attendants are not ergonomically positioned. In fact, the handles should be turned 90º for comfort. Carpel Tunnel injuries are one symptom of this poor position for manual wheelchair’s push handles. Most caregivers must bend over to reach the handles to push a wheelchair. As a result, back, neck, and shoulder injuries are common.
The Rascal We Go has an automatic parking brake so it won’t accidentally roll away like a wheelchair, without their wheel locks engaged. Hills and inclines are a breeze for The Rascal We Go’s powerful electric motor. The automatic regenerative braking provides another level of safety because it automatically and instantly brakes when the attendant releases the power lever, even on inclines.
The manual wheelchair is also a source of ankle injury for caregivers and transporters. Because the attendant’s feet end up under the wheelchair as the attendant walks behind it, the outside of the ankle bone hits against the ends of the wheelchair frame. This type of injury is painful.
Because the manual wheelchair’s push handles are part of the seat frame, the pushing and turning forces of the attendant are conducted directly to the upper torso of the patient. For anyone in pain, these forces are magnified and cause even a short trip in a wheelchair to be an uncomfortable experience for the patient.
The wheelchair seat is obvious as a poor ergonomic design. The canvas or vinyl material is slung between the two side frame members to form a back and bottom seating surface. This puts the body in a hunched forward position and transfers most of the body weight to the area of the buttocks most prone to bed sores.
Manual wheelchairs are also dangerous for patient transfer for both the attendant and patient. Because each wheel must be physically locked, one at a time, wheels often go unlocked. When a transfer is attempted without the wheels locked, patient may fall and attendant strains may often occur.
In addition, most manual wheelchairs have fixed armrests and their seats are 17” – 19” off of the floor. Healthcare workers must physically lift non-ambulatory patients in and out of their beds which sit about 26” – 28” off the floor and into the lower wheelchair seat at 17” – 19”.
Inhibitors to Use of a Wheelchair as a Patient Transporters
Some electric wheelchairs are equipped with joystick controls behind the chair for use by companions or transporters. Unfortunately, trying to control a joystick while seated is hard enough, but, controlling one while walking is nearly impossible. Electric wheelchairs with attendant controls are very expensive starting at $6,000 for basic models.
Temporary or permanently disabled or injured people do not like being pushed around in a wheelchair. The stigma of their disability and the guilt caused by their dependence on their relatives and friends to push them is demeaning. Therefore, the manual wheelchair is disliked by both the companion and the individual with a disability.
Many elderly people are fearful of crashing an electric scooter or powerchair and, as a result, are afraid to use them. The Rascal We Go eliminates the fear many people have of operating power mobility vehicles, especially in crowds found in malls, sporting events, and in larger public venues. Often this leads to inactivity outside the home and increased danger of accidental falls from walking inside their homes. These falls lead to even greater injury and disability for the patient.
People who suffer vision loss are often pushed around in manual wheelchairs especially in supermarkets and shopping malls where falling accidentally is a problem. Because most electric wheelchairs require the patient to also be the operator, powered mobility has never before been an option for people who suffer vision impairment.
Rascal We Go - The Best Transport Solution
Healthcare workers, especially nurses who are in great demand, recognize the risks of pushing people around in manual wheelchairs and gurneys. Airport and Healthcare Facility wheelchair transporters fear jetways and inclines inside terminals because of the potential for injury to themselves and the traveler. Until now, there hasn’t been another solution.
The Rascal We Go Companion Controlled Portable Power Wheelchair fills the gap between the wheelchair and the electric wheelchair with rear-mounted controls. In fact, it is easier to maneuver than both a manual wheelchair and an electric wheelchair. Not only does the Rascal We Go improve the comfort and dignity for wheelchair users, it also saves injuries to both the patient or rider and the transporter/companion. The Rascal We Go is the “Companion’s Mobility Solution”, and the “Transporter’s Mobility Solution”.
The Rascal We Go is designed to be easily transported by disassembling without tools and DOES NOT REQUIRE the removal of your rear van seat or the multitude of scooter travel accessories like electric trunk lifts and carrier racks. When disassembled, which takes only seconds; it fits in the trunk of most compact cars with ease. It also meets airline FAA regulations for free shipping as a power mobility vehicle.
The Rascal We Go uses mobility scooter technology which is mass-produced so its price is reasonable and affordable. The savings alone from the elimination of transporter/caregiver injuries or expensive trips to emergency wards from a manual wheelchair run away on a ramp will pay off quickly for healthcare and airport facilities, as well as, consumers.
The Rascal We Go is patent pending because of its unique technology.
Born about 15 miles from where I was living when I started blogging, at the Norwich NY Hospital. Grew up in Oxford and Tyner NY, we moved to South New Berlin. We had lived in town in Oxford until my father decided he wanted to be a farmer. So we moved to a farm in Tyner. The house burned which is when we moved to South New Berlin onto another farm. Then to Southern Calif. in Fullerton, went to Buena Park High School. My Aunt lived out there in Anaheim, had from her time in the service (WWII). My interest in the occult (it means unknown) stemmed from hearing her talk about Edgar Cayce.
Lived there for next 30 years or so. Got into sales f/t.
Moved to NY in 12/91 figuring to stay awhile and go back to Calif. Still here 18 years later, selling Rascal scooters in home in 98, then the new VA div selling to VA hospitals in 99. Still there covering 98% of upstate NY. Working on raising the money to get back to Calif. 2011, finally back to Calif couldn't take another NY winter. Living in Fullerton again, still in sales, a great job in Orange.