Mid-wheel drive powerchair with 2 large drive wheels and 4 smaller castor wheels, 2 at the front and 2 at the black. Black frame with a medium height back rest that covers 2/3 of my back, push handles, central footplate, headrest, flip up armrests and a black joystick/controller with various buttons and a small screen.
Battery Life: Upto 16 miles
Source of wheelchair: TBC
Diagnosis: Marfan Syndrome
I spent many months researching different powerchairs before I arranged any demos, but I focused on the 2 big names I knew which were Quickie and Invacare. But, I was eventually introduced to Quantum by a couple of friends online and after looking at the specifications of their chairs it seemed that on paper, it ticked all my boxes. I still tried out the other chairs, but they didn’t even come close to the Quantum Q6 Edge 2.0! It’s a slim powerchair for what it offers, which was one of the most important things for me because my front door is only 64cm wide, so it needed to be able to comfortably get through tight spaces.
In addition to this, I also required an electric tilt and recline. Tilt wasn’t so much of a problem as most powerchairs in that price range offered something similar, but when it came to the recline function I needed something that would go flat enough to relieve my chronic back pain as if I was laying on a bed. Out of all the powerchairs, the Quantum one offered the biggest degree of recline and truly relieved my pain in the way I needed it to. I was also able to drive the chair at full speed whilst tilted back, so this meant I could manage my pain without needing to stop completely.
The next thing on my list of non-negotiables was that I needed something with a very small turning circle, so I only looked at mid-wheel drives and with a turning circle of 52cm, the Quantum powerchair ticked that box. It appears to be a large powerchair but I get on the bus and trains with ease, so much so that I’m regularly complimented on my parking when I’m on the bus but it’s the small turning radius that deserves the credit!
Something that I wasn’t looking for originally was a rise/elevate function designed for social and independence benefits. Quantum is well known for its iLevel function and when I tried it for the first time it was incredible, I could see myself being able to independently reach high shelves rather than struggling to find a staff member or just giving up. This electric function is not offered on any NHS so isn’t a common thing in the UK, but I think everyone should have the opportunity to have this function because it’s given me more independence and makes things a lot easier, things I’d just accepted I’d always have trouble doing, or things that I couldn’t do at all!
Something I hadn’t thought about when researching different chairs was how easy it would be to adapt, everything from minor changes you can make yourself right up to big adaptations that would need to be made if your health changed or got worse. This is something that Quantum has thought about and with a set of allen keys I’ve been able to make minor changes to my chair at home. Everything from the angle of the armrests to the length of the footrests, or even changing the headrest bracket. All things that for other chairs you might have to ring your representative to do! I also reassuring to know that if my health gets worse I won’t have to get a new powerchair either, as mine can be adapted in so many different ways to support my change in needs.
Comfort is also key and even though I have quite a basic cushion and backrest, I can be in my powerchair all day and comfort is never a problem. My backrest comes in a little around the sides, a very small contour, which helps to make me feel secure. Yet another small adjustment that makes a big difference.
My powerchair also has a few accessories that make my life a lot easier; for example, the backpack clips on the back of my chair have made a big difference. I used to hang bags off my controller and armrests on my old powerchair, but because they would stick out I had to pile them all on my lap when getting on and off the bus. Whereas now, I can hang bags on the back of my chair and not worry about them, as they are secure and can’t just be lifted off. I also have a cup holder and phone holder that securely attaches on to the end of my left armrest and whilst these are extras, they are incredibly useful and helpful. In addition to this, I also recently had a USB charger port added underneath my left armrest, so I can charge my phone on the go without using up too much of the battery. This is very handy because my phone is my map, it’s my medication alarm, it’s my contact with family and friends, all of which becomes important if I’m out of the house! You can also get a vent tray, transfer bars, tablet holder, rear-view mirror, clothing guards and more, all of which are easy to install.
The controller/joystick is incredibly easy to use and the way the buttons are set up allows me to change speed with ease, without needing to stop and use 2 hands. It has a large screen that is easy to navigate and separate controls for my electric functions, which I really like as this makes it even easier to tilt, recline or rise. Perhaps the only thing I’d change is how big it is and how much it sticks out, I’ve caught it a few times especially when getting on the bus.
So far I’ve taken my chair over grass, gravel, cobbles and more with ease, the suspension and large wheels really help. On wet grass I sometimes get stuck, but this is a common problem with mid-wheel drive chairs and for me, maneuverability is more important than it’s outdoor capability since I live in a city and rarely go over any rough terrain. Something else that really drew me to this chair to is its ability to climb small steps and kerbs; I’ve taken it up some pretty big kerbs when the dropped kerbs have been blocked and not once has the chair been unable to meet the challenge.
Because of the size and weight of the chair, you need a WAV with a ramp or lift to get it into a car; but since I don’t drive this wasn’t a problem for me. However, I struggle to fit in taxis unless they are rear access taxis, although I can just about squeeze in a black cab when it’s the only option.
Overall I would 100% recommend this wheelchair and have done to many people, some of whom have set up demos and even gone on to fundraise/buy this powerchair.
Quantum is somewhat of an unknown company in the UK it seems and I think that needs to change because what they offer, for quite a low price in comparison to some brands, is amazing. I refer to my powerchair as being life-changing, but even that is an understatement. I’m starting to live, enjoy and experience life again, rather than just surviving and enduring every minute I spent out the house as I did beforehand, struggling to manage my pain and as a result having so much of the world cut off from me. Now I’m able to take on more volunteer charity work, especially in London. I can enjoy my love of the theatre, seeing enough musicals to more than make up for not being able to go for 2 years! Even simple things like going shopping in town, or to the supermarket are so much easier now. My life is unrecognisable compared to just 7 months ago and I couldn’t imagine going back to how things were before.