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Archive for May, 2012

Scooters vs. Power Chairs: When to Use Each

Posted on: May 31st, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

Not many people know the differences in usages for power chairs and mobility scooters, often lumping them together. But in the ever-changing world of mobility equipment and products, power chairs and mobility scooters are two completely different pieces of equipment that are made for different uses. So, before you decide on one or the other for your mobility needs, you need to understand the proficiencies and limitations of each when it comes to preferred use, maneuverability, adjustability and security and safety.

Preferred Use

Power chairs are meant for in-home use because of their smaller size, while scooters perform better outdoors and while traveling.


With smaller turning radiuses and larger front wheels, power chairs can navigate narrow hallways, tight spaces and door thresholds easily while being controlled by a joystick-like control. On the other hand, scooters usually have around a 32-inch turning radius, perform better on even surfaces, and are controlled by levers and handlebars connected to a steering tiller and front wheel.


One of the biggest attractions of power chairs, the armrests, footrests and seat back angle can all be adjusted, providing a comfortable position for the user. Scooters have limited seat modifications, though the handlebars are adjustable for reach and height. While most scooters come with baskets attached to the front, there are very few medical-related accessories.

Safety and Stability

Most power chairs feature anti-tip wheels and a safety harness for protection, while scooter-users can set the maximum speed for the scooter for a safer ride.

While power chairs have more features and are more luxurious than scooters, this is because they are meant for in-home use for those with greater disabilities. For those of you needing better mobility outside of your home, a mobility scooter is the correct choice for you. Whatever your mobility need, LA Medical has the power chair or scooter you need to get around more safely and efficiently!


Finding the Right Ramp

Posted on: May 29th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

If you use a wheelchair, power chair or other mobility device, you may need a ramp to access your home or the homes of your family. However, there are a few questions that need answering before you go out and get a ramp. How long of a ramp do you need, and how sloped should your ramp be? The answer can be found by simply using a tape measure and a calculator.

In order to find out how long your ramp needs to be, simply have a family member or friend measure the height of your steps or incline from the top to the ground. The Americans with Disabilities Act’s standards for the correct slope of a wheelchair ramp are 1:12, meaning that for every inch of rise, you need one foot of ramp length. So, a 6-inch rise means you would need a 6-foot ramp, and so on. There is also the 2:12 standard, meaning that the total rise of the stairs or incline is divided by 2, so a 12-inch rise would require a 6-foot ramp. This is the steepest incline that an occupied wheelchair, power chair or scooter can be used on.

Once you have this simple math figured out you can then begin to decide which kind of ramp is most suitable for you. You may want a ramp built for your home to the specifications of your measurements. However, for more flexibility and mobility, you could also choose a portable ramp. LA Medical carries a variety of portable ramps in various lengths for any elevation changes you may encounter. The Suitcase Ramp from Drive allows for a portable accessibility solution at a range of lengths from 2’ to 6’. With a weight capacity of 600lbs. and coming in a convenient carry bag, the Suitcase Ramp is an extremely portable ramp. For longer ramp length needs, LA Medical also carries the Trifold Ramp from EZ-Access in lengths of 7’ to 10’.

When it comes to being able to get into your or a family member’s home, having the correct ramp is essential to safety and efficiency. Have a family member or friend help you get your measurements, then visit LA Medical Retail to get the ramp that best suits your needs!

For the Sake of Your Skin

Posted on: May 24th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

Incontinence comes with its own stresses and difficulties. Can people tell if I’m wearing an adult diaper? Will this adult diaper really stop leaks and odors? Can I make it to a bathroom in time? You may not be able to control these and other issues related to incontinence, but one thing you can control is the health of your skin. Incontinence and using incontinence products can wear on your skin and cause chafing, contamination, bed sores or decubitis ulcers.

That’s where incontinence creams and washes come into play. These products, like the Ca-Rezz Incontinence Cream and Wash offered by LA Medical, help rejuvenate your skin so that you have one less thing to worry about. These products allow you to keep your skin healthy so you can focus on other aspects of your life.

Incontinence washes work to clean the skin with antimicrobial ingredients that are kind to sensitive skin. The wash reduces odors, the potential for cross-contamination and removes the microorganisms that can cash rashes, bed sores and decubitis ulcers. The wash also removes feces, diarrhea and urine and their odors to leave your skin clean and ready to be moisturized and soothed.

Containing a variety of moisturizers and soothing vitamins, incontinence creams protect irritated skin tissue while it regenerates. These creams are non-greasy, pH balanced for ultimate skin health and easy to apply to help you fight the effects of incontinence. They also work to remove and keep away the microorganisms that can cause rashes and bed sores. Using both a wash and a cream can drastically reduce the irritation and infection of your skin, leading to better overall health.

For those with incontinence, worrying about your body is a daily occurrence. One thing you shouldn’t have to worry about is the health of your skin. While having the right adult diaper or brief is essential in dealing with incontinence, it is paramount that you also choose the right wash and cream to keep your skin healthy and avoid other health problems.

The Case for the Cane

Posted on: May 22nd, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

If you are struggling in walking around your home or neighborhood, or are afraid of losing your balance while at the grocery store, then a cane may be a good option to add some stability to your walking. Yes, a cane, but not one like your father or grandfather had. Canes today have come a long way from the wooden J-shaped canes of yesteryear. Today’s canes come in a variety of sizes, shapes, materials and colors, and are made to help solve a variety issues.

A single-tip cane, the most common kind, can help provide more balance if you feel like you are constantly in danger of falling. With a single-tip cane you can go for an evening walk around your neighborhood without fearing of falling. However, if you need something to bear a little weight along with adding balance, then a quad-tip cane would better suit you. As is evident from its name, the quad-tip cane has four legs in contact with the ground that attach to a wider base to give you stability and something to take some of the weight off of your own legs.

Today’s canes are also adjustable and can be fitted with a variety of grips to reduce stress on your body and unlock the full benefits of using a cane. The Mayo Clinic recommends that for a proper cane fit, your elbow should bend 15 degrees while holding your cane. Not only are canes more functional now, but also more fashionable.

Cane customization is becoming more popular as more of the population reaches an older age. There are websites like this one that offer canes in a variety of patterns and colors, and some places will build you a cane from scratch to meet your medical and fashion needs.

So, not only will a single or quad-tip cane give you added stability and take some of the weight off of your own, but they’ll give your life a little added color as well!

Protect Yourself Against Bathroom Injuries

Posted on: May 18th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

If you are a person who is 65 years or older, the bathroom may be one of the most dangerous places in your home for you. Not only does the slickness of the shower and tub pose a problem, but a study by the Center for Disease Control released last year show that sitting down or getting up from the toilet is just as large of a problem.

The study showed that as age increased as a factor, so did the likelihood for an injury to occur in the shower, tub or getting off or on the toilet. The type of injuries most common for those age 65 or older, such as contusions and fractures, are injuries are serious enough to need costly emergency medical or long-term medical care.

One way to help prevent bathroom accidents from happening is to invest in bathroom safety products to help you in the shower, tub or getting on and off the toilet.

For in the shower or tub, L.A. Medical Retail offers sturdy aluminum benches with gripping tips on the legs to help with stability while you clean yourself. Adjustable tub rails or bolt-on shower grab bars can help you ease your way into your tub or shower and provide a safe way to exit when you are done.

For after the shower, a transfer bench gives you a place to safely dry off without fear of slipping or falling. Most transfer benches feature an “A-frame” construction and suction cup-style leg tips for stability to get you out of the shower or tub and on your way safely.

We also provide several options when it comes to toilet safety. Elevated toilet seats allow for less strain on your body because of the reduced distance between sitting and standing, and some elevated toilet seats come with arms to assist in sitting and standing. There are also free standing toilet rails that fit around your toilet and provide you with stability when getting on or the toilet.

When it comes safety in the bathroom if you’re 65 or older, you shouldn’t take any chances. LA Medical can provide you with the safety products mentioned above and more to ensure that your bathroom experience is a safe one.


The Proper Power Chair Fit

Posted on: May 17th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

So, you’ve made the decision to get a power chair that comes with all sorts of great features like a swivel and reclining seat, adjustable footplates and adjustable padded armrests. But all of those features don’t mean a thing without the power chair fitting you correctly and comfortable. A power chaircan have all the features in the world, but if it doesn’t fit you correctly you could be headed for more medical issues.

When it comes to fitting a power chair, there are eight measurements that have to be taken and analyzed:

  • Seat width- taken from hip-width or widest part of the body.
    • Problems resulting from bad fit: create pelvic tilt or rotational deformities
  • Seat depth- should be slightly shorter than length of upper leg/femur.
    • Problems resulting from bad fit: create posterior pelvic tilt or increase pressure on IT bands (thick tissue that runs from hip to knee)
  • Seat height- many factors to take into account: 2” clearance between footrests and ground is considered the minimum, accessibility to controls and transfer heights.
    • Problems resulting from bad fit: Poor accessibility for travel, more likely to get stuck on objects if ground clearance is too low.
  • Legrest length/footplate height- should be set so that thigh is parallel to seat cushion surface when feet are resting comfortably on footplates
    • Problems resulting from bad fit: leg edema, cause abnormal hip abduction
  • Back height- measured from person’s buttocks to top of shoulder
    • Problems resulting from bad fit: kyphotic posture (bending or bowing of back)
  • Back width- typically determined by seat width
    • Problems resulting from bad fit: impeded arm function, rotational deformities
  • Armrest height- needs to meet the height of the flexed elbow when seated
    • Problems resulting from bad fit: pressure/pain in shoulder, kyphosis or scoliosis
  • Armrest length- measured from elbow to wrist or fingertips
    • Problems resulting from bad fit: limits desk/table clearance, impair sitting/standing up

While your brand new power chair may have all the bells and whistles of a luxury car, it needs to be fitted to help you more than hurt you. Be sure to ask a certified power chair fitter for assistance when purchasing your new power chair.

Incontinence: Symptom of a Larger Medical Problem

Posted on: May 10th, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

The subject of incontinence is never an easy one to talk about, whether you are the one suffering from it or have a loved one who is. However, incontinence is not a disease, but rather a symptom that can be caused by everyday habits, underlying medical conditions or other physical problems. It’s important to know the medical conditions that urinary and fecal incontinence are symptoms of so that you and your caregiver can act accordingly.

Most often, urinary incontinence is caused by aging and the decreased capacity of the bladder due to bladder-related health problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, the best way to curb this is to practice good overall health practices such as quitting smoking, keeping your body weight in a healthy range and treating high blood pressure. Unfortunately, urinary incontinence can also be caused by more serious conditions, particularly in men. Enlarged prostates or prostate cancer in men can cause urinary incontinence, and neurological disorders in men or women such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, a stroke or any tumor in the brain can cause urinary incontinence.

Similar to urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence can simply be the result of the muscles of the body weakening with age. However, fecal incontinence can be the direct result of a medical disorder or physical problem. Those who have been diagnosed with diabetes or multiple sclerosis, for example, are at a higher risk for fecal incontinence because those diseases can affect the nerves in the rectum. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rectal cancer or any disease that stiffens the walls of the rectum can lead to fecal incontinence.

If you or a loved one are experiencing urinary or fecal incontinence without having been diagnosed with one of the conditions discussed above, you need to contact your doctor immediately. While incontinence is an embarrassing problem to talk to a doctor about, it is worth it to know if you or a loved one is at risk for a more serious health problem.

At LA Medical Retail, we work with patients to help them live with incontinence through our full product line of disposable briefs, antimicrobial cleansers and more.  Explore our site for more on incontinence products that could help you or a loved one live with incontinence.

Oximeters: Helping California Runners Reach Performance Max

Posted on: May 1st, 2012 by LAMedicalBlogger

Any fitness coach or trainer will tell you the best way to know how you need to improve your performance is by recording your results. The same can be said for knowing how your body is functioning before, during and after running. When it comes to knowing vital signs like heart rate and blood oxygen levels during a run, the more information you have the better.

To get this information, more and more runners are using oximeters during exercise to see how their body is functioning. Oximeters read heart rate and blood oxygen saturation, giving the user two critical pieces of information while they are running. The heart rate is a good indicator of how hard the body is being pushed. Blood oxygen saturation refers to the ratio of oxyhemoglobin to total hemoglobin present in the blood stream. Hemoglobin transports oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body to be used, such as from the lungs to your legs when running.

The benefits of using oximeters before, during and after training are numerous. By knowing your heart rate and blood oxygen saturation, you can better plan your nutrition for pre- and post-training. Since the oximeter gives you by-the-instant numbers as you run, you know whether you can push your body a little bit harder or if you need to back your pace down. Also, feedback is critical in knowing how you can better improve your performance, so using an oximeter during your running will better help you to train for higher performance.

The Health-Ox Fingertip Pulse Oximeter from L.A. Medical Retail is the perfect training aid for any runner, whether you are training for a 5k or marathon, or just enjoy running in general. So, whether you’re cruising down the median of San Vincente Boulevard or running the trails of Runyan Canyon Park, the Health-Ox Fingertip Pulse Oximeter from L.A. Medical Retail can help you improve your performance and run stronger.