Shoulder pain in wheelchair users…. — Reeve Connect
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Shoulder pain in wheelchair users….

JolaMarko
JolaMarko Member Posts: 4
Photogenic First Comment
Hi, 
Just a question about wheelchair user and profound shoulder pain. I have been diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in my shoulder causing enormous pain and affecting ever aspect of my life.The idea of total shoulder replacement just scares me, especially recovery process. Is there any alternative to this type of surgery?PT, OT, steroid injections did not help.Any pros or cons for wheelchair users? There is not much information on line about this, I do not think we fall into statistics…

Jolanta

Comments

  • AskNurseLinda
    AskNurseLinda Moderator, Information Specialist Posts: 170 Information Specialist
    100 Comments 25 Likes First Answer Name Dropper
    Hi, Jolanta, yes shoulder replacement surgery is a big undertaking. You are out of your normal independence until the shoulder is healed and you have rebuilt your strength. Most individuals are satisfied after but not so much during due to the restrictions. I get your point. 

    Do you have a power assist or even a power chair? I would think you would qualify for a power assist due to the arthritis. That will be of a benefit as well if you do decide to have the surgery. Both make lifting equipment into a vehicle much heavier unless you have a lift for the equipment so include that in your request if you ask for a power assist. The power assist might take the edge off making you more comfortable if the arthritis is not too advanced.  But it might also delay the inevitable. Another option which is not so good, might be a one arm push but with arthritis, that may trigger the other shoulder.

    It is best to discuss all options with your healthcare provider including medications/injections, the power assist, other technology such as for transferring. Putting off the surgery may be a possibility depending on how advanced your arthritis is. But you are right to explore all options. Include a discussion about arthritis treatment in general if you are not taking anything for it. Arthritis generally does not hit one joint unless there was an injury to that spot. It usually is throughout the body. Arthritis treatment might prevent issues later in your lower body joints as well.

    That is a lot to take in and to think about. But knowledge is the key to doing the right thing and you are on your way to getting all the information to make an informed decision. Nurse Linda

    I'm online in this community every Wednesday from 8-9 PM ET to answer your SCI and paralysis related questions.

    Leave a comment any time below. Let's get the discussion going!

    Nurse Linda

    Register for my next webchat! Sign up here!

  • JolaMarko
    JolaMarko Member Posts: 4
    Photogenic First Comment
    edited October 14
    Hi Linda, 
    Thank you for your respond.  Yes, shoulder replacement is a major surgery and recovery process is long and extensive. It helps if you have people around you to support and help you. My circle is very limited. I lost my husband and love of my life last year due to massive heart attack. He was my other half, he was also a paraplegic and we created beautiful life for each other.  Now I am on my own, still working full time as med tech in the major hospital lab here in Michigan( close to 20 years).I love what I am doing but the issue with my shoulder it’s very debilitating and I have to make some important decisions what to do. For now I asked my employer to let me work part time for time being ( waiting for the respond) and meanwhile I need to plan every aspect of post surgery recovery. So called rehab centers probably would be necessary but that is my last resort. My house is fully accessible, with celling lift, rolling shower, platform lift to the basement, accessible kitchen and many more gadgets that my husband invented so we could  live and function independently. I do use electric wheelchair with seat elevation which it is necessary for my work to be independent and productive. I just wonder how can I go about to hire someone to help
    me at home after surgery, preferably a nurse to help me with my straight cath, bowel regiment , transfer… at least during a day, my older mom can help me around the house for a moment. Would you know any reputable agency that would be of help to me? I can only imagine that would be very costly arrangement as well. I had been in a chair  since 1983  and what I am finding right now that it is extremely hard to get any assistance especially when you are working and have some income, there is no gray area there. I would really appreciate any insides  in this matter.
    Jolanta
  • AskNurseLinda
    AskNurseLinda Moderator, Information Specialist Posts: 170 Information Specialist
    100 Comments 25 Likes First Answer Name Dropper
    I am so sorry for your loss. I know that pain but also the joy you had together.

    Finding in home assistance can take a couple of paths. The first thing to do is to establish exactly what you need.  Full time, just certain parts of the day?  Also, be specific about the activities that need to be accomplished.  Write all of this down so you can give it to the person. That way there is no mistake about what you are hiring them to do.  I hear stories about people who specify doing the bowel program only to discover they won't do it. Make your list as complete as possible.  It is easier to cut back than to try to add items. 

    Agencies have a number of staff that can fit your needs. They are bonded and insured. If someone is ill and cannot come, they will send a replacement. An RN is hardly ever covered by insurance as LPNs and some assistive personnel are educated to do catheterizations, etc. But ask for one if you would prefer knowing that might not happen.

    Many people hire specific individuals because you get consistency of that one person. Some will hire for the duration of the case, others by the day. This is a one to one hire so you do not have an overseeing agency to fall back on. Social workers in the rehabiliation hospital or local hospital often have lists of very reliable individuals. The rehab hospital might have someone that is experienced in care for SCI. These individuals are usually hired directly. 

    Interview, interview, interview even if through an agency. Perhaps have the person come to interview a couple of times. One interview does not really give a realistic impression. Ask them how they catheterize, how they would do a bowel program, how they would transfer you. This lets you get to know something about their skills. 

    With covid, finding individuals to do home care has been difficult. Ask if the person is vaccinated. Have them follow strict handwashing, changing into shoes left at your house, even changing clothes on arrival to your home and always wearing a mask. You cannot be overly cautious because you do not want to get this virus. 

    On another note, you have gizmos that help you. They will probably help others. Get a patent. On line, it is fairly easy. Then see if a manufacturer would like to buy your product. Your husband must have been extremely innovative. Nurse Linda

    I'm online in this community every Wednesday from 8-9 PM ET to answer your SCI and paralysis related questions.

    Leave a comment any time below. Let's get the discussion going!

    Nurse Linda

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