Will My Doctor Help Me Get a New Wheelchair?

Aug 13, 2019

Anonymous asks, quote:

In your experience, are doctors generally willing to help you get a new wheelchair as you out‐grow of your current one? Mine no longer fits my needs and I’m wondering how much of a struggle I should expect.

end quote.

In my experience, doctors are merely the beginning of the buying a new chair. Most of the time, you’re doctor will be more than willing to give you a referral to a specialist. That specialist is who will determine whether or not you need a new chair.

The good news is that every chair has a lifespan. What that span is can vary depending on your insurance but, from what I’ve seen, most insurance plans cover a replacement chair every six years. So, if you’re chair is at least that old, you should not have any issues getting a new one.

However, if you’re chair has not reached the end of its lifespan and isn’t damaged in some way, you’re going to run into a few complications. You’ll need to be able to clearly explain why you’re chair isn’t working for you and what risks that poses. It doesn’t need to be super technical, it just needs to be honest and consistent. Maybe you’re experiencing shoulder pain because of having to push the chair. Maybe your body has gone through changes and now the chair is too big or too small. All of these things are legit. You just need to be able to articulate it well.

I also want to add this bit: if the therapist doing your seating evaluation asks you the same question more than once or asks a follow-up question with a strange amount of emphasis, listen carefully and really think about your answer. They’re most likely trying to get you something that would benefit you, but can’t do so unless you have a specific need.

For example, my therapist kept asking me if I had pressure sore issues. “Are you absolutely sure you haven’t had any skin issues in the last year?” she asked. I again told her “no” and said “What are you trying to qualify me for?” She said that she wanted to get my a specific seat cushion that would improve my posture and even out the pressure on my spine, but she couldn’t send in the recommendation unless I had a risk of pressure sores.