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When a beloved family member needs comfortable seating for long-term or complex medical care, it often feels overwhelming to sift through the endless lists of available options. It can be difficult to decide without in-depth knowledge of different products, so many people end up going with a recommendation from an equipment dealer or a care facility staff member.

The problem is that those recommendations can be ill-informed because of unfamiliarity with the many different types of seating options or the latest information on most clinically valid and popular products. Caregivers and families alike can be turned off by a bigger price tag, but without proper knowledge, this could mean they end up ignoring the true total value and proven clinical application of premium seating equipment.

The Comprehensive Costs of Low Wheelchair Prices

Wheelchairs that are less expensive from the outset are often only cheaper because of their lower quality and limited clinical functionality. These types of basic equipment typically require additional — and costly — cushions, padding, and add-ons to even begin to offer adequate comfort and support to users.

The seating systems and frame components of these low-priced chairs often break or wear down, which leads to frequent repairs or outright replacement. Studies have shown that up to 33 percent of falls, incidents, and injuries among full-time wheelchair users stem from component failure. By choosing high-quality seating equipment, families can ensure their loved ones don’t experience an unfortunate injury.

You might only pay around $600 for your basic complex wheelchair or geriatric chair compared to up to a couple thousands of dollars for one of Broda’s industry-leading tilt-in-space positioning or mobility wheelchairs, but those figures don’t tell the full story. The inexpensive models might seem like the logical fiscal choice, but the consequences of a budget chair are almost immediate for caregivers, users, and families. Residents might find it difficult or impossible to use the basic chairs for very long because of uncomfortable seating, and these cheap devices make it more likely that individuals will suffer pressure injuries — more than 2.5 million people develop pressure injuries every year in the U.S. alone because of inadequate durable medical equipment.

Additionally, once family members and caregivers get sick of required comfort upgrades or a seemingly endless cycle of repairs, they often regret not opting for a complete high-end option from the start. The benefits of a proven premium solution quickly outweigh the costs, and they realize that Broda’s chairs provide better positioning and comfort for their loved ones, which helps them enjoy a higher quality of life. Broda’s wheelchairs can come ready to go out of the box with integrated Comfort Tension Seating©, so buyers don’t need to spend extra money on comfort upgrades or constant upkeep.

Comfort and pressure redistribution have been a part of every single Broda product for more than 38 years. Broda’s team of seasoned industry experts carefully selects every component of our chairs to ensure quality and durability, and we are proud to stand by our products with a 10-year warranty. These factors combine to drastically reduce the stress, worry, and risk of incidents related to subpar, inferior, or faulty equipment.

What to Consider Before Making a Purchase

Before you think about choosing a chair for your loved one, it’s important to consider your desired functionality, condition, and care setting. Our product catalog, clinical resources, and intuitive chair-matching algorithm can help anyone match their needs with the correct products. If you’re feeling at a loss for how to begin your search, keep these three questions in mind:

  1. What are your holistic needs?
    A chair is only useful when it meets the user’s needs, so consider how the chair must address all of them. For example, the right product can simultaneously address fall concerns and increase a person’s tolerance for sitting. Improved support and comfort lead to better positioning, which reduces agitation, the need to shift the body throughout the day, and the risk of falls.The same is true for pressure redistribution and mobility. Wheelchair users need stable seating to propel themselves, but lower-quality seating is not able to distribute pressure properly. A chair with Broda’s proprietary Comfort Tension Seating© provides adequate stability and pressure redistribution.
  2. What specific medical condition are you trying to address?
    Your loved one’s specific condition determines many of the goals the right chair should accomplish and which features can provide optimal comfort and safety. Huntington’s disease, for instance, can cause high levels of agitation — patients who have this condition require a durable and stable chair that boasts sufficient padding to prevent injuries. Broda’s chairs have been recognized by the Huntington’s Disease Society of America for providing excellent comfort and pressure redistribution for individuals who have Huntington’s.If your loved one requires manual transfer or transfer via a mechanical lift, the chair you buy should have removable or swing-away arms to accommodate easy and safe transfers. Keep in mind that many healthcare conditions lead to declining mobility, so consider how you can modify a chair to address your loved one’s evolving needs.
  3. What are your total budgetary concerns?
    While we’ve covered the dangers of prioritizing price above all else, cost remains an important factor when weighing products. In addition to your immediate concerns, consider your long-term needs. Higher-quality equipment might require a more substantial initial investment, but it pays dividends through fewer repairs and product replacements.The benefits also extend to the quality of care that your loved one receives. Comfortable and durable equipment allows patients to enjoy their lives and experience fewer adverse consequences. In addition to saving money over time, your loved one enjoys many physical and psychological benefits from using the best equipment.

Before you make a decision, ask these questions and take a few different wheelchairs for a trial run. If a chair isn’t comfortable, doesn’t address fall risks, doesn’t provide proper positioning, or doesn’t have the features your loved one needs, then it isn’t the right choice. A higher-quality chair can make a tremendous difference in your loved one’s life. Consider every factor at play — not only cost — and you’ll see that higher-quality chairs are a far better investment for your family member.

This is an important decision, so Broda is here to help! Contact us, and our seating and care experts will work with you to select the best chair or wheelchair for your needs. We will also identify a Broda Partner near you who will provide the best service and fair purchase pricing or rental options.

"The Broda Revive Tilt and Recline Shower Commode meets our patient's needs. He indicates he feels safe and his own care each morning. He is safe at all times while in the chair, and the caregivers are safe at all times while providing his care. All staff report being pleased with the commode and find it much easier to assist him."

Pam, Director of Nursing

"As a Social Worker in a long term care setting I want to ensure my residents have the ultimate in comfort. Upon actually getting to test one myself, I realize Broda is the ultimate in comfort for any geriatric population including ours. As the number of Broda's chairs grow, so does the comfort and improved skin integrity of our residents."

Colleen M., Social Worker |Brookfield, WI

"Our gliders [Tranquille Auto-Locking Gliders] are always disappearing out of our common areas and end up in our patients' rooms We don't know how they get there, but they love them and prefer sitting in them more than anything else. One patient with a back injury told us this was the only chair he could sit comfortably in. He wanted to take it home with him after his rehabilitation was complete."

Josiah D., Facility Administrator |Pocatello, ID

" My father, enlisted in the Air Force and trained as a machine gunner on B17’s during WWII. Photographs of the “Flying Fortress” grace the walls of his room in the Kansas Veterans' Home in Winfield, Kansas where he has been living for the past 6 years.

For the first 2 years in the Veterans’ Home, my father used a power wheelchair for mobility and independence. But at the age of 82, with advances in his Parkinson's and dementia, his power wheel chair was taken away for safety concerns. He was provided with a standard issue VA manual wheelchair with no tilt or recline. His posture in that chair was terrible ... he was very slumped over and leaning to the side. Even his breathing was limited as a result of his poor posture. All he could do was stare at the floor. It was so disheartening to see him this way. I would have to kneel on the floor to see him eye-to-eye due to his hunched posture from Parkinson's disease.

In a fortunate twist of fate, it was determined that my father was an ideal candidate for a chair from Broda. And as a vested veteran, he qualified for the VA to fund the chair. He has now had a Broda chair for over 4 years!

Since he's been in the chair from Broda we can now sit beside him on visits and look at each other face-to-face. Being able to tilt back in the chair and look upward, he can enjoy watching John Wayne westerns in the VA lounge. He can even use the Broda chair when he travels by transport for dental appointments. He can stay in his chair for the bus ride and in the office, since the chair can be tilted enough for the dentist to work on his teeth.

Broda's chair has been a blessing for my father, his caregivers and my family. The chair improves his quality of life and I can't imagine him not being in it over the past few years. We are fortunate that the VA will fund Broda chairs for Veterans like him who need them."

Kent P., Family Member

"Prior to the Broda chair [Synthesis Tilt Recliner], we had tried numerous positioning devices for the resident, which were ineffective. She had a tendency to lean forward and to one side. Once using the Broda chair [Synthesis Tilt Recliner], the resident's posture immediately improved. She, herself, was very thankful because she was "so comfortable". The staff couldn't believe the result. Besides this resident sitting in proper alignment, she could still self-propel with her feet."

Linda P., Restorative Coordinator |Joliet, IL