Despite the many years of wheelchair use and distribution, standardized forms of assessment or procurement processes for its provision are not in place. However, several wheelchair clinics and physical therapist have established their evaluation forms.
Most often, end-users of wheelchairs lack or have limited know-how about choosing the best-suited wheelchairs for individual needs. The good news is that most wheelchairs in the market conform to the essential elements of a typical wheelchair evaluation.
Usually, your goals and set expectations assist in making suitable decisions and choices. However, choosing a wheelchair rarely presents ideal considerations. Therefore, you mostly must rely on the OT or PT specialist’s knowledge in mobility and seating, medic, biomedical engineer, rehabilitation engineer, or dealers. It is always advisable to speak and vigorously question the details you do not understand until you are convinced.
Important Questions to Ask
Here are some vital concerns your mobility device must address:
Your Body Structure And Functional Needs
Therapists and other mobility professionals should review and evaluate your functional needs. The best mobility equipment should address your current and previous status and possible changes from ageing or disease progression. They should assess your postural needs, other equipment you use, your transfer, safety, and other health-related health issues.
Goals Of Mobility
Mobility goals primarily refer to device activity and participation; what you hope to do with the mobility equipment. For instance, what activities would you like to perform from the device? You should be able to provide your most important and non-negotiable features. Most equipment may not have all the features you need but at least feature the most important ones. Your mobility goals may also include technology integration, such as speech devices. The wheelchair’s design, type of frame, seat components, and available options play a role in configuring the device to your body type and size.
It is essential to keep in mind the immediate environment features of using the mobility device. Ensure to factor in the texture, height, and width associated with your movement and the transportation of your wheelchair. Is your device foldable? Does it require a lift, or is it a power chair? Try the equipment before the official prescription to check if it serves all your needs and goals. You can try it outdoors to evaluate surfaces, curbs, and inclines before making the final decision.
Delivery and Setup
Ensure to ask your therapist if they will meet you at delivery and setup. This way, they can assist you in making adjustments, explain proper usage, ensure a right fit, and explain necessary maintenance. Additionally, they should guide you on who to contact in case of severe performance issues.
Wheelchair assessment comprises a vast range of elements, including client specificity and reflecting a client-centred process. The best decision typically lies in the details you have about the wheelchair before your appointment. You may want to gather information on when and where to use your equipment, generally what you wish the mobility device will do based on your unique needs.
Awareness of your particular goals and objectives come in handy in assisting the professional suggest best-fit equipment.