Selecting a wheelchair is a very individual and personal decision, especially when you depend on the wheelchair for mobility. Northwest Hospital offers a Wheelchair Seating & Evaluation Program specifically designed to assist with wheelchair evaluations. Our team includes a licensed physical therapist and a wheelchair vendor who guide patients through this often confusing and time-consuming process.
The physical therapist reviews the patient’s current functional level, medical condition and the environment in which the wheelchair will be used. If needed, the wheelchair vendor is available to help select the best combination of wheelchair and positioning devices to meet the patient’s needs.
We will ask you questions about how you will use your chair, including:
- Will the chair be used on rough terrain (gravel, sand, hills)?
- Is it important that you have regular access to certain places, such as a workplace?
- In what areas of the home will the chair be used?
- How will you move your wheelchair in and out of a vehicle?
- Where will you store your chair? At home and in your vehicle?
We also take into consideration the wheelchair’s cost and your insurance benefits, its size in relation to your home and work environment, types of controls needed, features such as reclining back or leg rests, upholstery, cushions and seating additions; wheel arrangements, and ongoing maintenance requirements.
Once we have evaluated your needs, taken measurements and helped you select equipment options, the vendor will place the order to build the wheelchair. This may take two to four weeks. A final fitting session may be needed to adjust the chair to achieve maximum comfort and function.
Our physical therapists also supervise a “test spin” in our Easy Street® environment. This short test is designed to ensure you can negotiate real life obstacles, whether you are an experienced wheelchair user or not.
The Wheelchair Evaluation & Fitting Program is scheduled on an individual basis, takes about one to one and a half hours. We can also help those currently using a wheelchair, upgrading a wheelchair or considering other wheelchair technologies.