Friday, May 9, 2014

Cruising the Stairs

Bookmark and Share
Today I met with Ascent Elevators about a pediatric stair lift.  One would think these things are pretty simple, but there are a lot of factors that go into a stair lift.  Calculating angles and turns, and of course the specific needs of each user.  Noah is a tiny little dude.   But he's not going to be tiny forever,  and he's getting heavier and longer by the day.  Not to mention I still have visions of the day we fell down the stairs together when I was holding him in my arms.  You can't catch yourself because you know you have a child that has no natural reflexes to brace himself.  You must hold on tight and allow whatever to happen to your own body while guarding him the best you can in a fall.  I can tell you from personal experience how truly terrifying that was. 

It gave us a lot to think about.  The cost really is going to vary depending on each individual staircase, and each user's needs.  For Noah he'd need a 5-point harness and potential abductor or pummel as they are sometimes referred to as.  Our staircase is also kind of a challenge as it would have to be customized with an initial seven steps down a landing and then another seven steps to the very bottom.   The more turns you have on a staircase the more money it's going to be.  Need something custom like a 5-point harness and pummel?  Well that will cost you too.   It's hard to really give you a clear idea of a concrete price because there are so many variables.  On the low end with a simple straight set of stairs and a basic seat with very little added support you might be in the $2,500 range.  Add on all the little extras and I heard figures close to $14,000 today.  Yes no kidding.  
Acorn 80 Stair Lift
Now if you're lucky some Medicaid insurance programs will contribute to a stair lift, but they usually have some fine print clauses like you can only do a home modification every five years, or can't exceed a certain amount yearly with all benefits which also include a home modification of any kind.  So it's not really as sweet of a deal as you might expect or hope it to be.  Which is going to leave most families in need of a pediatric stair lift paying out of pocket, trying to find charities or grants or flat out fundraising for one.   Not the news anyone wants to hear when they really need a stair lift to allow their child greater access to their home, or even in safety circumstances in many parts of the country where severe storms are prevalent and require the safety of a basement. 

With any project there will be features that are more desirable than others.  It mounts directly to your stairs so aesthetically it may stick out a bit, if you also have an open stair case with other small children, or in my case, a child with special needs that rolls everywhere you need to depend on a baby gate that could pose a problem with the installation of a stair lift.  Every staircase is different but it should be a question that is asked if you are need of using a baby gate in conjunction with a stair lift.

Stair lift rails - cuts down on stair space

These stair lifts have batteries that are constantly recharged and offer about 36 trips back and forth without power to a home.  The battery has a five year life span and isn't terribly expensive to replace with a cost of around $35.  We discussed the Acorn 80 Curved Stair Lift primarily today.   I have some reservations that it could be adapted in a way that would be suitable for Noah.  I really seem to like the Stannah pediatric stair lift model.  I like how it has a hooded chair for children who need a bit more postural support, and a more involved lap belt that mimics what many special needs parents might refer to is as a hip cradle belt.   Some children would of course also need an additional harness for support depending on individual needs.  And it's in a more child-friendly pattern than the traditional taupe that the Acorn 80 is. 
Stannah Child Stair Lift
Some parents may be drawn to the simplicity and neutral tones in the Acorn 80, it would be easier to blend in decorating.   The Stannah is a "happy blue child-like pattern"  that would get more attention and be noticed more.  However, having a child that is so small I tend to gravitate less towards what would blend in and what would offer my child the sense of being a child.   Nothing wrong with a little child-like special needs flare in your home.  Gives it character.  Simply says a special child lives here!

It was really informative and good to know what options are available.  Add it to the wish list...


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.