A wheelchair evaluation is performed to identify which type of mobility device would best suit an individual’s function and needs and also identify any special needs that require custom fitting, adaptive seating functions (tilt/recline), or specific modifications needed for the wheelchair.
Why is a Wheelchair Evaluation Needed?
A wheelchair evaluation is used to determine an individual’s needs for a manual or power mobility device or the need for modification of an existing wheelchair.
Wheelchair evaluations can be completed based off of a need for new equipment, replacement equipment, or modifications to current equipment. Insurance providers require significant documentation explaining the reasoning for the wheelchair and the other components of the mobility/seating device that are required for optimum functionality.
How is a wheelchair evaluation performed?
An occupational therapist or physical therapist provides a thorough evaluation which consists of assessment components including medical history, strength, range of motion, sensation and skin integrity, postural alignment, and measurements for a wheelchair seating system. Your therapist will also work with you to complete a thorough assessment of your goals, abilities, and physical limitations in conjunction with your environmental needs to determine the optimal mobility device to maximize your independence and safety within the home and community. A thorough evaluation is necessary to provide the best device to optimize your independence, reduce potential secondary conditions from improper positioning, and provide you the highest level of independence within your home and community. The therapist will work with your referring physician and a wheelchair vendor to provide the needed information to your insurance company to justify the recommended equipment. Once your equipment is delivered, further appointments may be scheduled, if needed, for fittings, adjustments, and education on the use of your new wheelchair.
What are the benefits of a wheelchair evaluation?
The overall goal of having a wheelchair evaluation is to recommend the optimum device to meet your mobility needs and take measurements to ensure proper fit and/or necessary add on equipment required to optimize functionality. The evaluation will be able to address primary problems/issues related to mobility status, postural support, health, safety, and ability to function within the environment. It will also include treatment strategies to address mobility impairments.
What conditions can benefit from a wheelchair evaluation?
Most common diagnoses that require wheelchair evaluations are neurological disorders (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, CVA, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, TBI). There are many more conditions that qualify for a power wheelchair, so a qualified clinician should complete the evaluation.