Wheelchair and Seating Evaluations: Who Would Benefit and What to Expect

Man in WheelchairWe’re halfway through National Occupational Therapy Month! We wanted to take today to highlight a lesser-known service provided here at Elite Integrated Therapy Centers – Wheelchair and Seating Evaluations. Our Occupational Therapists are able to help determine if a wheelchair or scooter is right for you!

So… Who Would Benefit From a Wheelchair and Seating Evaluation?

Anyone who already has or is in need of a scooter, power, or manual wheelchair is eligible for a Wheelchair and Seating Evaluation. If you would like to be more independent, our Occupational Therapists would love to help determine the best fit for you and your lifestyle. We work closely with your primary care physician throughout this process, although you do not need a referral to come see us! When you first schedule your appointment, we verify your insurance and let you know your benefits ahead of time – no surprises!

Insurance Requirements to Obtain a Wheelchair

Each insurance is different, but most power and manual chairs are covered by insurance after following copay and deductible policies. Currently, insurance companies only require that the therapist documents how the wheelchair is going to be used inside the home. First, insurance requires the patient to have a face-to-face appointment with their physician to document that a wheelchair or scooter is medically-necessary. Then, you can schedule your appointment with us so one of our Occupational Therapists can perform the evaluation. Next, we fax the results to your physician. Finally, your physician will have a face-to-face visit with you in the office and he or she will submit the necessary paperwork to order your chair and/or parts!

WHAT does the Wheelchair and Seating Evaluation Include?

Our Occupational Therapists complete an in-depth, one-hour evaluation to determine what type of mobility device, either a manual wheelchair, power wheelchair, or scooter, is most appropriate. We assess balance, posture, strength, and range of motion of upper and lower extremities. A local Assistive Technology Provider will also be present for the evaluation to assist with taking measurements and choosing the optimal chair, seat cushion, and backrest. The Assistive Technology Provider works for the company that provides the chair or various parts.

Scooter vs. Power Wheelchair vs. Manual Wheelchair

A scooter is a power device that you would normally see or use in a grocery store. They have 3 or 4 wheels, giving them a larger turning radius, and also making it harder to get in and out of rooms. Scooters are difficult to use inside the home. Scooters allow you to use both of your upper extremities rather than just one hand.

Similarly, a power wheelchair provides more seating options and is controlled by a joystick. The power wheelchair has a smaller turning radius which makes it able to turn tight corners, which makes it easier to use in the home.  For those with poor trunk control and difficulty with transfers and walking, a power chair would be a better option.

Lastly, a manual wheelchair allows you to propel yourself and can be fitted specifically to you. These lightweight chairs are great for individuals who have good upper body function and the necessary strength to propel themselves around the home.

Back and Seat Cushions on a Wheelchair

Once you determine which device is best for you, the final step is to address backrests and seat cushions. Backrests on chairs can provide you with better stability if you have poor trunk control.  Depending on the condition of your spine, you may require a specialty backrest.  There are also specialty seat cushions that provide pressure-relief for individuals who are at high risk for pressure sores. If you have poor trunk control, then seat cushions that provide support and stability are also an option. These cushions can be used in both manual and power wheelchairs.

Maybe you’re considering a wheelchair or scooter to help you be more independent and have more mobility. Maybe you already have a chair and need it to be adjusted/repaired. Either way, contact us today! We would love to talk with you and get you set up with an appointment. We are passionate about helping you live your life to the fullest!

 

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