We’re so excited about the recent launch of the TRU-Balance® 4 (TB4) seating system, which is available on the Stretto, Edge 3 and 4Front® 2 power chairs. One key thing to remember is that the TRU-Balance® 3 (TB3) seating system isn’t going away. Both Quantum wheelchair seating systems will be available based on the user’s needs. So, what does that mean? What are the differences in our TB3 vs. TB4 seating systems, and when would you consider one over the other?
Our TRU-Balance 3 seating system is what you may be most familiar with, as this system provides power tilt, power recline, a single actuator power articulating foot platform, and the option for power seat elevation. The new TRU-Balance 4 seating system provides a few added features:
- A dual actuator articulating foot platform that allows independent articulation of the footplate to the floor
- Positional feedback that allows for memory seating positions
- Ability for power anterior tilt
The Dual-Actuator Articulating Foot Platform
The dual actuator power articulating foot platform on TB4 provides the traditional feature of lower extremity elevation with articulation. It allows the footplates to lower towards the floor without the elevation component. This can be a great option to consider for those performing a sit-to-stand or squat pivot transfer from their chair but have difficulty flipping their footplates up and out of the way.
The footplate lowered to the floor is also helpful for caregivers when assisting with transfers, as this provides a way for the footplate to get to the ground, allowing a stable position to support the user’s weight while participating in a transfer. The dual-actuator AFP feature gives our end users customization over where their lower extremities are positioned when extending and elevating their legs. A user that has their legs extended out may want to articulate down or up a little more, and now that option is available to them.
The next major feature of the TB4 system is customized memory seating positions. You may be used to having multiple drive profiles on the chair for various environments, like an indoor speed profile and an outdoor speed profile. Now, memory seating offers four profiles that allow two positions in each profile, one forward and one reverse command. This means you can have up to eight unique positions saved on a Quantum wheelchair with TRU-Balance 4 seating.
Memory positions are highly customizable and make it easy for users to achieve unique functional positions that they use regularly. Some examples might be: a position for transfers, a position for watching television or relaxing, a position for driving into a van, as well as positions for cooking, functional reach and weight shifting.
There are two ways to set up memory seating. Synchronized is where each power actuator moves to achieve an identified position smoothly, all at once. Sequential is where each power actuator performs one power function at a time, which a user might use for their weight shift technique. Memory seating is great for helping users to improve efficiency and effectiveness of achieving the positions they need to access most throughout their day.
Power Anterior Tilt on a Quantum Wheelchair
Lastly, the biggest and most important addition to TB4 is power anterior tilt. You may ask why you should consider anterior tilt vs. just power seat elevation? The answer is that it comes down to individual needs. Many times, power seat elevation can help promote vertical access in a user’s environment, allowing more functional reach. It can also assist in making transfers easier by going from a higher seated height to the transfer location’s lower height. Of course, there many other benefits to having seat elevation on a Quantum power wheelchair.
The TB4 seating system has power seat elevation so your client can experience those advantages, with the added benefit of power anterior tilt. Anterior tilt can help with vertical reach, as well as forward reach from one’s balanced, seated position. If someone has a difficult time controlling their balance, especially when trying to reach and grab items, anterior tilt helps to bring the person towards the item they are reaching for. This reduces the amount of effort exerted from the person’s trunk muscles. The same applies if there is difficulty utilizing the upper extremities to reach, as it brings the individual closer to the object they are trying to access.
Transfers with a Quantum Wheelchair
Another area anterior tilt can assist with is transferring. Sometimes, elevating the wheelchair seat helps with achieving a standing position more easily from a taller surface. Yet, challenges may still exist with scooting forward to the edge of the seat or getting that momentum and strength to “lift off.” When an individual utilizes anterior tilt, it can help position their pelvis and lower extremities in a more advantageous position, reducing the strength and momentum needed for a standing or a squat pivot transfer.
Consider the User’s Individual Needs
When choosing between TB3 or TB4, it all comes down to the user trialing the options available and seeing what provides the most independence for their positioning needs throughout the day. Again, TRU-Balance 3 isn’t being replaced, we’re just offering an additional seating system. TRU-Balance 4 is available on our Stretto, Edge 3 and 4Front 2 power wheelchair bases and is available to trial through your local Quantum representative.
Alexandra “Alex” Chesney, OTR, ATP/SMS
Quantum Rehab Clinical Sales Manager – Midwest South Region