Taking the Stress Out of Choosing the Best Wheelchair for Your Needs

Medical supplies

As many as 2.2 million Americans rely on a wheelchair for mobility to complete necessary tasks that extend beyond their physical limitations. If your physical condition has made it necessary for you to obtain a wheelchair, you might feel overwhelmed with what to do next. To give you some direction, we’ve compiled a list of five things you should think about before committing to a wheelchair.

Do Your Research On Wheelchair Options
Wheelchairs no longer have a “one size fits all” approach that they used to. Now, even within the category of power wheelchairs, there are wheelchairs that are powered in the rear or front wheels. There are all-terrain power wheelchairs for the outdoorsman. There are fold-able power wheelchairs for easy transport. There are wheelchairs that recline at various angles and various accommodations for any type of physical limitation. Consider your lifestyle and wheelchair needs, and contact a medical supply store about the wheelchair type that will best accommodate you.

Consult Your Physical or Occupational Therapist
Utilize a medical professional when choosing a wheelchair that matches your physical capabilities. Depending on your health condition, modifications may be required to your wheelchair to meet your needs. A physical therapist who understands your specific physical needs will be able to bridge the gap between your needs and the wheelchair options that the medical supply store you are working with has available.

Make Comfort Your Highest Priority
You are probably most concerned about the mobile functionality of your potential wheelchair, but don’t forget that you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your wheelchair; it’s important that you’re comfortable in it. Wheelchair cushions come in options made of gel, foam, or air. Test out each option before you make a decision.

Talk to Your Insurance Provider
The coverage that your insurance company provides for a wheelchair depends on your insurance provider and plan. Have your doctor submit a case for your wheelchair purchase and then discuss the coverage with your provider. If you have Medicare, after obtaining your doctor’s support, Medicare will cover 80% of the cost. Your secondary insurance will likely cover the remaining 20%, so that you are not obligated to carry the financial burden of your wheelchair. Understanding the coverage you have will help you make the best wheelchair choice for you situation.

Plan Ahead
There are a lot of moving parts involved in purchasing a wheelchair. The communication between your doctor, your insurance company, and the medical supply store who actually provides the wheelchair can months. It is important to understand that purchasing a wheelchair is a drawn out process, and you should make sure you have a backup source of mobility support until you are sitting in your shiny new wheelchair.

Have you ever navigated the process of buying a new wheelchair? Do you have any advice to offer for other people who are just beginning the process? Please give us your input in the comment section below.

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