This product innovation from TGA will help protect care teams and wheelchair attendants against back injury, muscle strain and poor posture as the trend towards heavier wheelchair occupants continues. Over and above relatives and friends in the community sustaining injuries from over exertion, staff sickness in the commercial care sector is a major concern in relation to wheelchair propulsion. If carers are subject to undue risks, behavior practices and care levels can be compromised. Care home managers and healthcare groups are also then exposed to higher levels of financial loss through potential lost ‘man hours’ or even costly litigation issues.
The heightened capabilities of the new TGA Powerpack PLUS have been developed in response to significant evidence, that continues to build, regarding the moving and handling risks associated with carers pushing manual wheelchairs. As an example, the ‘Keeping the Wheels Turning’ white paper produced by the University of Dundee in association with NHS Fife, states why powerpacks significantly reduce pain and health-related difficulties for attendant carers: ‘….shoulder pain for example is over four times as common for carers propelling attendant propelled manual chairs as for those where the user has a powered chair. It is also noticeable that carers propelling manual wheelchairs are very much more likely to report heart, breathing or balance problems than those supporting powered wheelchair users….’
This report also highlights that the Health & Safety Executive advises that a carer should not manually propel an occupant weighing more that 20kg – the average weight of a six-year-old child. Hence the manual propulsion of an adult that typically weighs 80kg, plus the weight of a ‘standard’
In addition to its remarkable higher user weight capacity, the new Powerpack PLUS incorporates several additional pioneering features to enhance both the occupant and attendant’s mobility. These include advanced ‘soft-start’
The Powerpack hardware and software have been re-engineered to ensure powered activation is smooth and gradual, irrespective of how the control lever is operated. This will now provide a more comfortable and relaxing transfer experience for occupants. The PLUS has a reduced top speed of 3mph so that steering heavier occupants is safe, manageable and strain-free even on cambers. When the Powerpack reverse gear is selected, an automatic restrictor limits power output to 60% so that manoeuvring is hassle free. The new 24v motor and high-grade tyres deliver greater torque for better traction and the 2 x 14ah batteries provide an impressive range of up to 10 miles, even with a bariatric occupant. Each PLUS is supplied with a two-year warranty and when off board charging is required, the battery pack can be quickly removed from the chassis without the need to disconnect complex wiring.
The clinical benefits of the Powerpack for wheelchair attendants have been clearly recognised by numerous leading Occupational Therapists. Ailsa Reston of RKS, a Private OT Practice in Chester, has already commended the launch of this new 32 stone user capacity model. Ailsa said: “When we have previously prescribed the TGA Powerpack, we have had complete confidence it is the best solution for propelling an attendant wheelchair. It is obvious from a clinical point of view, its design has been carefully considered to ensure unhindered walking as all TGA models fit further underneath wheelchairs than competitors’
Ailsa continues: “We receive countless visits and enquiries from people with disabilities and their carers who are looking for powered assistance with propelling a wheelchair. With the growing trend towards larger care home residents and private individuals requiring propulsion, the new more powerful TGA model will make a significant difference.As Occupational Therapists, we are fully aware that there are many benefits for people to be able to access the community they live in. The ability to socialise with other people improves their well-being and lifts their mood. This pioneering TGA Powerpack PLUS will
enable far more members of society to access these facilities and therefore improve quality of life for countless larger people. I would recommend it to all fellow healthcare professionals, care home managers and carers.”
Daniel Stone, TGA Managing Director concluded: “The TGA team and I are extremely proud to be launching this new, 24v Wheelchair Powerpack PLUS at Naidex National. We have pro-actively listened, reviewed and understood the needs of both wheelchair users and their carers so that a trusted solution could be introduced to solve bariatric mobility issues. This new product is the culmination of extensive R&D and investment that will now resolve a current challenge healthcare professionals face on a daily basis. The new PLUS will once again further reiterate our engineering prowess and 30-year proven heritage for manufacturing quality products, which deliver mobility with peace of mind. The TGA Powerpack is regularly copied but will never be equaled.”