Manual handling and movement courses have become an important part of any paid carer’s work and training and moving people is something that anyone who cares for someone comes up against. Part of this is using the correct techniques – how to lift and how to hold people and how to move them without hurting either party. Equipment is also an important factor. The Millie-Mova is one such piece of equipment. It is a device that fits to the bottom of a chair that lets the carer get leverage and roll the chair with a minimum of effort. Once fitted the carer uses one foot to push down on the pedal and the front of the chair lifts an inch or so up onto wheels. The back legs are always slightly lifted on wheels and hence the whole chair and occupant can be easily moved.
Easy to use
Look at the picture above. It shows a child of about three stone moving a man of about 16 stone. The key to the Mille-Mova is the leverage it gives the carer. It means that the effort required is far far less than you would expect. The carer presses on the black rubber point of the Millie-Mova and it moves down and the leverage lifts the front feet onto the wheels. At this point the chair can be moved surprisingly easy backwards or forwards. If you let go of the leverage point the chair drops by that inch and is once again stable.
Compatible with most chair types
The Mova is designed for wooden dining room chairs but can be adapted to fit most similar chairs. That includes chairs with ski feet, chairs with metal legs and some arm chairs. Once fitted apart from the occasional check that bolts are properly attached it can be used whenever needed.
Hard Wearing and stable
Once installed the Millie-Mova front wheels are lifted away from the floor by the shock cords. This means that until it is used that it is very very stable. If you were to look for an alternative to the Millie-Mova you would have two possibilities. A full on wheelchair or an office chair with castors. Both have their place but neither has the same combination of stability and staying still until required.
Once delivered unless you are fairly handy you will probably need to have a handyman fit it. It took me around an hour – I’m not the most competent DIYer – so the minimum time should be sufficient. This may vary in cost by area but will probably be between £10 and £25.
The Millie-Mova is quite cost effective. It is possible to buy chairs with wheels attached but in most cases this will actually end up being too mobile and may not be idea in other ways. The unit itself seems quite durable and the only part of it that might get damaged – the shock cord – would be replaceable.
Included in the box
1 Millie-Mova with 2 rear wheels and axle tubes and pivots,2 bolts with nut, lock nut and 2 washers, 2 shock cords, 2 eyes, 2 washers and 2 screws.
Warranty: Two year standard warranty
Maximum user weight: 130kg
The Millie-Mova is designed for residential care and hospital settings. If you take a look at their client list there are a lot of big organisations including charities, social services and local NHS groups and hospitals. It will work at home as well but it’s not the major target audience.
Reuse and re-purpose potential
The Millie-Mova could be fitted to a second chair after the first with only amount of work required for the installation. The instructions do recommend cutting the bolt on the rear wheels if they are two long which could cause problems if trying to reattach to a chair with thicker legs but replacement bolts could be obtained if needed.
Ease of use
Once installed the Millie-Mova is very easy to use. Press down on the centre of the metal strut until it is just above the ground and the chair becomes very easy to move. I tried it on hard floors, rugs and carpets and most worked well. A very deep rug caused a few problems as the size of the wheels was not enough to get over the depth of the pile and should be avoided.
Installation is a whole other matter. The whole instructions for the Millie-Mova are published online here. The very simple version is that there are two parts to it. First you have to drill holes for the wheel axels in all four legs at specific heights then mount the rear wheels then the the main metal U between the front legs. Next you drill holes for the shock-cord and attach together. The instructions provide for most sorts of chairs including those with low cross bars, round legs, non-vertical bent legs, ski chairs and skewed legs. The instructions are well written and make good sense but the fact remains that you will need to drill precise and specific located holes in your chair legs. If you are not comfortable doing this then get someone who is – a handyman, friend or family member to do it!
The Mille-Mova is designed to attach to a fairly standard wooden chair. There is a separately available pedal for armchairs and a fitting kit for metal framed chairs also available. The system does not fit to chairs with skis but can be used if the skis are removable.
The system is only designed to move forward or backwards without turning and only by around 1 metre increments – this is not a wheelchair!
For the right organisation the Millie Mova could be invaluable. In a care home or hospital where it could be fitted en-mass to a large number of chairs is makes perfect sense. It is well designed, easy to use and tough which is exactly what you want for those places. The equation for home use is a little more difficult. It needs a competent DIYer to fit it which is a problem but not an insurmountable one. In use however it needs a dedicated second person to help – no carer and by definition its no use. If you have a carer or someone who can help then it works perfectly and does exactly what is claims. Recommended for the care homes, hospitals or those who have carers around at home.
The review is based on the standard Millie-Mova system kindly provided by Jenry Ltd