Here at The Wright Stuff, we specialize in accessories for wheelchairs and other mobility aids. These accessories, such as our seat positioning aids like cushions and gel pads, can make a big difference when it comes to things like preventing pressure sores and painful postures.
However, if you are in the process of buying a wheelchair, there are other considerations. We strive to make wheelchairs comfortable for everyone who must use them, and part of this goal is achieved by educating people on the proper steps to take when getting a new wheelchair. So let’s take a look.
Wheelchairs, especially power chairs, can be very expensive. In fact, they can cost as much as a car. Considering what your funding options are through your insurance plan(s), therefore, is vital. If you are looking a get a car, make sure to look at these Electric Cars first.
There is a good chance the cost of your new chair will be completely covered by your insurance and/or Medicaid. Medicare also pays for durable medical equipment (DME) and categorizes wheelchairs into different groups to determine funding. Here, it’s good to find out which groups you qualify for if you have Medicare.
If your doctor is recommending that you use a wheelchair, he will need to write a “letter of medical necessity.”
The point is, make sure to exhaust all avenues for funding before paying anything out of pocket.
✓ Get fitted properly by a professional.
Usually, Medicaid or Medicare will require a proper wheelchair seating process, which often involves a physical therapist. Whatever your insurance situation, try hard to get a good seating arrangement.
This involves a professional or physical therapist taking many different measurements that they will recommend to the DME provider. In addition to the basic measurements, the seating expert will also consider the best setup in regard to seat cushions, head rests, armrest pads, lateral supports, etc. The seating expert will help you decide what kind of gel and/or foam padding to use, as there are many different possibilities here.
This is the stage in the process where you should ask about tilt and reclining mechanisms for your new wheelchair. These mechanisms can help tremendously in fighting off pressure sores and joint pain.
✓ Upholstery and supports
Lateral supports are pads that extend from the seat back under your arms to help keep you straight. These will be painful if not put in the right spot, and you might not want them at all. In the past, DME providers used to put standard side laterals that were not fitted properly. Nowadays, you can ask about alternatives. There is a large range of seat back and side upholstery that a competent seating expert should be able to help you navigate.
✓ Fine tuning
Once you do receive your new wheelchair, make sure the DME provider doesn’t simply drop it off at your front door and leave. They should train you to some extent on how to use your new wheelchair and, more importantly, fine tune your seating arrangement. Just because you had the seating expert take all the measurements beforehand doesn’t mean your chair is going to be perfect when it finally gets to you.
If anything at all is uncomfortable, ask your provider to help you with it. Don’t let them tell you, “You just need to get used to it.” This is your wheelchair, and you are the one who is going to have to sit in it every day. It should be as comfortable as humanly possible.
Finally, there will be times down the road where something messes up with your seating or your body changes. Sometimes this requires help from your DME provider. However, there are some simple and affordable wheelchair accessories that can solve your problem without having to deal with insurance or a DME provider.
That’s where we come in. Our products, whether it’s a cup holder or a special gel pad, can get you on your way quickly. Sometimes throughout your wheelchair journey, a simple, non-prescription solution will be just what you need. And we sincerely hope when that time comes, you’ll choose The Wright Stuff and benefit from our expert selection of daily living aids. Click here to check out our wheelchair positioning accessories.