Invacare Crossfire T6A
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Nov 01, 2008
For newly injured spinal cord patients, the world can be full of unknowns, including how much function they will regain and how the next chapters of their lives will play out.
Mindful of that – and needing to be financially responsible – clinicians and rehab technology suppliers frequently choose folding chairs for clients who are able to self-propel.
“For a newly injured person, most clinicians and providers want to have adjustability, so you can adjust the chair as (clients) become more comfortable and confident with their positioning,” says Jud Cummins, product manager, rehab marketing, Invacare Corp.
Unfortunately, that adjustability comes at a price, Cummins says.
“What happens with adjustability is that when you add moving parts, you add weight,” he explains. “And you also have to add adjustability in the areas of the wheelchair that take the most beating.”
The best-of-both-worlds answer would seem to be a rigid chair that is also adjustable. And that’s what Invacare’s new Crossfire T6A manual chair aims to be.
The T6A’s design – a seat frame over a side frame — provides the positioning adjustability that a new user might need, without impacting performance. When adjusting the seating, “you don’t have to adjust your front casters,” Cummins says. “You don’t get toeing errors when you adjust the chair, because of the seat-frame-over-the-side-frame design. You’ve got a side frame which is truly for performance; the geometry of that frame relative to the ground doesn’t change. And then you have a frame that’s attached with two strut welds on the front of the frame that you really position the consumer with.”
At the same time, the T6A offers the considerable benefits of a rigid chair. “I think most clinicians would want to put the consumer into a rigid chair,” Cummins says. “They realize that the lighter weight the chair is, the better in the long term, the easier it will be to push, the more compact it is and often better for transport.”
Because rigids have traditionally been more expensive than folding chairs, Cummins also knew the T6A had to be cost conscious.
“Our goal was to make chairs that will last until somebody’s going to get a new one, and to give them as many options as possible that aren’t upcharges,” he says. The T6A’s standard features include adjustable-tension upholstery with a mesh cover, anodized accents and a back that folds down and locks in place.
That locking back – which can make it easier to grab the chair and transfer it into a car — has become a favorite feature among consumers who’ve tried the T6A. That speaks volumes for Invacare’s understanding of what consumers want, as well as what providers and clinicians need.
“We really have three unique customers in rehab,” Cummins notes. “We have the consumer, the clinician and the provider. The provider and the clinician are worried about the funding, but ultimately, it’s the consumer who’s affected. If (consumers) do Internet research or they see somebody in a chair they like and they can’t get it, I can’t imagine anything more dejecting.”
By balancing adjustability and performance, the Crossfire T6A hopes to remove some of the uncertainties especially faced by newly injured users and to instead provide happier endings.
One Invacare Way
Elyria, OH 44035-4190
This article originally appeared in the November 2008 issue of HME Business.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at email@example.com.