It’s important that you make the right choice when purchasing a wheelchair. In fact, choosing the wrong mobility device can cost you or a loved one money and can impact health and independence. Here are the most common mistakes made when selecting a mobility device, and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Purchase a wheelchair or mobility device without consulting a certified therapist.
Most insurers want you to use your mobility device for at least five years, so it’s important to purchase a device that is right for you, both now and in the future. Certified Assistive Technology Professionals (ATPs) can determine your current and future needs, and thus the best device for you, by providing a thorough evaluation. They are knowledgeable about the latest technology available on the market.
Mistake #2: Use the device without proper instruction, training and fitting.
If you are not properly trained on how to use your wheelchair or mobility device, you may inflict costly damage to the device or you may injure yourself. By scheduling a training session with a therapist, you can learn how to use your device safely while receiving the best custom fit available to assure that it meets your needs.
Mistake #3: Purchase a wheelchair or mobility device through mail order.
It is always best to try the mobility device before you purchase it to help determine if the device is right for you. This is impossible to do via mail order. A comprehensive assistive technology center will have a large selection of mobility devices and accessories from which to choose and trial.
Mail order companies can be hard to work with if a problem arises. Clinicians at assistive technology centers can help you make any future adjustments and can aid in ordering replacement parts.
Mistake #4: Try to navigate insurance by yourself.
Before purchasing a mobility device, consult with a representative at an assistive technology center. They will make sure you meet all the insurance requirements necessary for reimbursement, so you don’t end up with a surprise bill at the end of the process. Assistive technology centers also have established relationships with durable medical equipment providers and insurance companies, and their staff can help you negotiate issues if they arise.
Mistake #5: Purchase a used device.
Used devices are specially designed for the previous owner, not for you. By using a second-hand wheelchair or mobility device, you may experience a number of problems including skin breakdown and postural issues. If additional features, adjustments or parts are needed, insurance will not cover their expense–costing you more in the long run. Buying used also comes with the increased risk of device breakdown. To ensure the best outcomes, purchase a new, reliable mobility device customized for you.
By purchasing your mobility device through a trusted assistive technology center you can avoid the mail-order wheelchair horror stories that you often hear. More importantly, you can be assured to find the right device to improve your mobility, function and quality of life.
November is National Assistive Technology Month, and Good Shepherd is an industry leader in using assistive technologies to help people with disabilities live more independently.
Some of the most common assistive technologies are wheelchairs. Wheelchairs can range from low-tech manual chairs to state-of-the-art mobility systems. At Good Shepherd’s Wheelchair Seating and Mobility Clinic , people with disabilities can be evaluated and fitted for wheelchairs of all shapes, sizes and functions.