Time for a New Wheelchair?

This is Part I of a two part series on purchasing a new wheelchair. Today’s post discusses when it’s time to start looking for one, and resources to help you make the best decision.

Of all the questions I get asked on a regular basis, none is more frequent than, “When is it time for me to get a new wheelchair?” The answer to this question is not so simple. There are several factors to consider, including:

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

Unfortunately, there’s no set time frame. For example, I have changed chairs after only 4 years, and just spent 7 ½ years in my last chair. But in each case, I knew when it was time when I needed to make small repairs, deal with noises or other issues, and stopped feeling safe. Recently, my 7 1/2 year old chair was starting to feel that way. I was pretty sure it was time, but you always want a second opinion. 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. The Seating Clinic is staffed by therapists who specialize in mobility and seating,  and they have lots of experience working with people with various mobility impairments, as well as wheelchair manufacturers and vendors. I met with them, made my case, showed them my chair, and they agreed – it was time.

I contacted my insurance company and presented the case for a new chair. I was given the OK to start looking, and that was when the fun began – and that’s where it begins for you, too. There are tons, I mean TONS, of different kinds of chairs out there. It can be hard to know where to start. My favorite site is Sportaid.com. This site allows you to really see what all of the current chairs look like. You can read about them, and compare different manufacturers and specifications. Once you drill down on the things you like, then you could also read feedback and reviews of the chairs you’re interested in.

After some serious research, I had narrowed it down to a few chairs. But getting a new wheelchair isn’t as simple as buying something on Amazon. Just because it looks good on the computer screen doesn’t mean it’s right for me, so I made an appointment with Magee’s Seating Clinic.  Getting a new wheelchair can be stressful, and they help make it easier. You can make an appointment with our Seating Clinic by calling (215) 218-3900. If you are not from the Philly area, then I would encourage you to contact your local rehabilitation hospital and ask to speak to a seating specialist. They will be a huge help.

Okay, so you’ve decided it’s time for a new chair and have picked out a few you like. You’ve made your appointment with the Magee Seating Clinic or your local seating specialist, and… now what? Tomorrow’s post will take you through your appointment with your seating specialist and what happens next.

We want to hear from you! When did you know it was time for a new wheelchair?

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