Is it time for a new wheelchair? Part 1

I often have people ask me this question, and the answer is not so simple. There are several things that factor in to this, and they include:

  • How long you have had your current chair and its condition,
  • Any changes in your medical condition, weight, spasticity, etc., and
  • Insurance coverage

I have changed chairs after four years before, and also have spent 7 ½ years in a chair I absolutely loved. In each case, I knew when it was time, as I started to have to make small repairs, deal with noises or other issues, and stopped feeling safe. Thankfully, Magee has a dedicated team to help assess our patients and anyone in the community who needs help determining when it is time for a new chair. I had conversations with my doctor and the therapists in our seating clinic who needed to determine if it was medically necessary for me to get a new chair.

Once we agreed it was time, I contacted my insurance company and presented the case for a new chair. This included the doctor and therapist justifying why everything was chosen, including optional parts. I was given the ‘OK’ to start looking for a new chair, and that was when the fun began. I started to do internet research on one of my favorite sites for chairs: www.sportaid.com. This site allows me to really see what all of the current chairs look like, lets me read about them, and also gives me the chance to compare different manufacturers and specifications. Once I was able to drill down into the things I liked, then I could read feedback and reviews of the chairs I was interested in.

Armed with this information, it was now time to make an appointment in our Seating Clinic. The clinic is staffed by therapists whose specialty is seating and mobility. They have lots of experience working with individuals with various mobility impairments, as well as wheelchair manufacturers and vendors.

Our specialists work at the Magee Riverfront and Wellness Center and an appointment can be scheduled by calling 215-218-3900. If you are not from this area, I would encourage you to contact your local rehabilitation hospital and ask to speak to a seating specialist.

Part 2 of this post will pick up on what happens once you make your appointment – stay tuned!

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