Mobility Products

Questions

Answers

I know many people who have scooters or power wheelchairs. Will Medicare buy one of them for me?

Power mobility devices are designed for individuals who cannot walk and do not have the arm strength to self-propel a manual wheelchair. The patient must need the power mobility device in the home to accomplish basic activities of daily living.  Medicare will not pay for a power mobility device for use outside the home, unless the patient first needs the device inside the home.

What is the difference between a scooter and a power wheelchair?

Many people use these two terms interchangeably.  However, there is a real difference.  Scooters are larger, and are steered by a tiller. They can have either three or four wheels.  Many times, scooters are not appropriate for the house because they have a larger turning radius and cannot fit down halls in a home. A patient must have upper body stability to use a scooter.

A power wheelchair looks more like a chair. It has at least four wheels. The patient operates the unit by a joystick positioned on one of the arms.  The power wheelchair has a tight turning radius and can easily turn at the end of a hall.

Both scooters and power wheelchairs are powered by rechargeable batteries.

If I need a power wheelchair, what steps must I take to get it covered by Medicare?

The first step is to have a face to face visit with your physician.  Your physician will conduct a thorough examination to measure your mobility needs and your upper body strength.  The physician must document how many steps you can take, the weakness of your upper body, and the diagnosis that is causing your mobility problems.  If your physician thinks that a power mobility device would help you, he/she will write a prescription for the device.

Once Home Health Products receives the prescription, we will conduct a home evaluation to make sure that the device will be useful in your home environment. We will select the proper wheelchair for you based upon your height and weight and physical limitations.

Next, we will request your medical records to make sure that you meet Medicare’s strict criteria for the product.  We will also send two other Medicare forms to your physician for his completion.  Medicare requires extensive documentation for this product, so please be patient!

After we receive all of the required documentation, we will deliver the power wheelchair to you and train you how to use it.  Medicare will rent the power chair for 13 months. Then, you will own it.

What is the difference between a regular cane and a quad cane?

A regular cane is also called a straight cane. Most of them have a curved handle, and a straight base. They come in various colors and styles. Some people call them “fashion canes” because you can choose a fashionable model. This is a good choice for people who need just a little help with balance. A quad cane has a base on it with four prongs.  This is an advantage because it is more stable and gives more support and more balance than a regular straight cane. Quad canes come in two sizes: a small base and a large base. Quad canes usually stand up on their own, so you do not have to worry about them falling over and being out of reach.

My doctor told me that a cane is no longer enough for me and I should use a walker. What are my options?

The first option is a standard folding walker.  The patient should pick up the walker and move it forward a short distance, and then walk forward into the walker.  If you have difficulty in picking up the walker in order to go forward with it, you should consider the next option, a walker with wheels.  A wheeled walker has wheels on the front two legs. Some have push down brakes on the back two legs while others have glides on the back legs.  You can walk by simply rolling the walker ahead. Another option is commonly called a rollator walker. This walker has four wheels, hand brakes, and a seat.  It is a good option for persons who become tired when walking, and need to sit down.  Most rollators come with a basket.

Does Medicare cover walkers?

Yes, if you have difficulty walking, Medicare will cover 80% of the cost of a walker. The product requires a doctor’s prescription. If you desire a rollator walker, the prescription should say “Wheeled walker with a seat.”

Is size important when selecting a walker?

It is important that you use a walker that fits you properly. The top of the walker should come approximately to the joint between your legs and hip.  If your walker is too short or too tall, you will be unsteady, and will be at risk for a fall. Most walkers have adjustable heights, and at Home Health Products, we will adjust the walker to fit you. Also, always take your weight into consideration, as most walkers have maximum weight capacities. Home Health Products stocks bariatric walkers for patients that exceed the weight capacity of a regular walker.

We are planning a vacation with my aunt who is very fragile. What type of equipment would you suggest to help her stay involved in the activities that we have planned?

Have you considered renting a manual wheelchair?  We offer wheelchairs that are lightweight and portable. You can store the wheelchair in the vehicle trunk. They are available with detachable arms for easy transfer in and out of a vehicle.  We offer the option of a short-term rental if you need the chair just during the vacation.

My mother is needing a manual wheelchair. What are the most important things to look for in a wheelchair?

The wheelchair must fit the user and the user’s environment.  At Home Health Products, we begin by selecting a chair to fit the patient’s height and weight.  We adjust the armrests and footrests to fit the user.  We make sure that the seat depth and width are appropriate. We assess the patient’s home environment to make sure the wheelchair is appropriate for the home.  We carry several sizes and types of manual wheelchairs including standard, youth, lightweight, heavy-duty, and bariatric. We will custom fit a chair to your mother’s needs.

My mother will be using her wheelchair for most of the day. Do you have anything that can relieve the pressure of sitting for long hours?

A patient who sits for several hours per day in a wheelchair seat is at risk for developing pressure sores. We have several optional items for pressure relief.  Your mother may feel more comfortable using a padded seat and back.  The seat pads come in several varieties such as foam and gel.  We will adjust your mother’s wheelchair back, seat, and armrests to accommodate the chair seat and back.