All That You Have To Know About A Wheelchair Prescription

A wheelchair refers to a chair with wheels that can be moved and controlled manually or electronically. If you have mobility issues due to injury or sickness or age, your doctor will prescribe one to help you with moving.

Before a doctor prescribes a wheelchair for you, he/she will first access your ability to walk and move. When the doctor is sure that you will benefit from using a wheelchair, that is when he/she will send your prescription as well as your medical details to an approved wheelchair supplier.

There are different types and variations of wheelchairs. These can be pushed or operated manually using your arms. Power wheelchairs can be operated electronically.

Who benefits from using a wheelchair?

In case you have permanent or temporary disabilities, a wheelchair might prove to be so important for you. For example, someone who is paralyzed with no feeling in the lower section of his body may need a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Someone with a broken bone might need a wheelchair prescription until he is healed.

Wheelchair prescription depends on one requirement. In case you have one among the following conditions, having one will benefit you:

  • Musculoskeletal problems
  • Suffering from paralysis
  • Neurological problems
  • A broken bone/feet or injured legs
  • Grit or balance issues
  • Inability to walk and cover long distances

Choosing a wheelchair

Wheelchairs and their use differ so much. Wheelchairs can be found into two major types which are electric motor powered and manual wheelchairs. The manual wheelchairs are cheaper as compared to electric motor powered wheelchairs, however, they can still be quite costly sometimes.

A wheelchair perfectly accommodate you and consist all the necessary features. Your doctors as well as other medical experts will determine which kind of wheelchair is perfect for you. Their conclusion will be based on the following factors:

Your chair will be configured so that it can accommodate your body and needs. These configurations include:

Using a wheelchair

After the doctor prescribes a perfect wheelchair for you,  you need to go through a user’s manual guide on how to properly use it. In case it is necessary, medical experts can help you in learning how to maneuver a wheelchair in different terrains. The training may include practicing on moving over different kinds of surfaces such as:

In case your wheelchair consists of electrical controls, you might need help in learning how to operate it. Besides, you may need to learn how to get in and out. Make sure that you ask your medical expert or doctor for further details as well as other skills needed in your situation.

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Everything You Have To Know When It Comes to Pushing A Wheelchair

It is the first day for my sister to use a wheelchair. Me and her share a common inherited mitochondrial condition. My brother in law has little experience when it comes to pushing a wheelchair so I had to give him some important tips. What you have to know is that pushing a wheelchair needs some skills so as to ensure that the person sitting in it is comfortable. All these are from my own experience as I have spent years sitting in a wheelchair that is pushed by someone else, even though every person is different. In case you are pushing a wheelchair with a new wheelchair user, then ask them if they prefer anything. These may include the following:

  1. Communication: Ask them if there is anything that you should know first. Never start pushing the wheelchair without the person’s permission.
  2. Never overshoot checkouts as well as reception desks: In case you are level, your passenger may have gone extremely far past it.
  3. Never bump your passenger’s feet into things or people: Always be careful especially when you are in elevators.
  4. Never follow anyone so closely: Consider the previous point, as your passenger is always closer to everything than you are, seeing the backsides that close might get tedious.
  5. Be careful to watch out for any sloping pavements ahead of you: You have to take extra measures especially when you are pushing a wheelchair near dropped kerbs as the wheelchair will veer sideways within traffic in case you are not as careful as you should.
  6. Always look ahead of you to identify any bumps: Dropped kerbs are sometimes not completely dropped as you might have expected. Make sure that you are prepared to walk a long way going around the road.
  7. You must always approach the bumps directly: If you are not approaching them in a straight way, you will have to turn first.
  8. You can easily move back over bumps in case the wheelchair is made up of large wheels.
  9. Pay a lot of attention to the surface in which you are travel over and follow the smoother path as cobbles might be painful or tiring for the one sitting in a wheelchair.
  10. Never let the wheelchair run off the road. Ensure that you take on slopes from the back so that you are able to hold back the wheelchair firmly.
  11. In case your passenger tells you to stop, just stop immediately. You must also listen and follow other instructions.
  12. Make sure that you go through heavy doors by approaching them from the back so that you are able to push the door using your body.
  13. Some of the wheelchairs are installed with a braking mechanism which is operated by the passenger. Never try assuming that those brakes are on or off. Make sure that you check the brakes every time.
  14. In case someone asks you something that they should ask your passenger, direct them to do so.
  15. Always forgive your passenger. This is because they have no control and this is the reason why they are sometimes frumpy. Wheelchair users must also keep in mind that they might be shouting at their caregivers than they realize.
  16. In case you are going to push the wheelchair for a long distance, then you will have to put on gloves.

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How Pushing A Wheelchair Affects Your back?

As you are pushing someone in a wheelchair, there is a high possibility that you will be hurting your back without knowing it.

A research that was conducted at The Ohio State University Spine Research Institute tested measured forces applied upon the spine when pushing a wheelchair and identified that people are not good when it comes to knowing when it is the right time to stop applying more force that can hurt their backs.

The research involved volunteers who were required to push a simulated wheelchair over increased resistance where the participants exceeded the required limits needed to prevent back injury. They exceeded the limit by an average of 20 percent before stopping.

According to Dr. William Marras, a director of the Institute and a chaired Professor of Honda  Integrated Systems Engineering at Ohio State, he stated that,  there is no predefined ergonomic standard that guides the pushing of wheelchairs. Caregivers judge if they can still push a patient depending on how their backs feel. However, with an increase in weight due to obesity, patients get heavier and harder to push around in wheelchairs.

Dr. Marras goes on to say that, handling patients is one of the most dangerous jobs out there as it risks the health of your back. It is more dangerous as compared to working in construction or mining or any other similar jobs.

Dr. Marras stated that they had studied the risks of lifting patients and how it affects the caregivers, as until that particular moment, no one had ever performed any serious biometrical assessment regarding what happens when someone pushes a patient in a wheelchair.

For over a decade, there has been an increase in weight of average patients. Wheelchairs can now be found in larger sizes so as to accommodate fatter patients. However, the traditional design of the wheelchair is still the same.

Due to the results generated by the study, there are minor design changes that would have helped in transforming wheelchairs making them easier to push, that is what Dr. Marras said. In case the handle height was to be adjusted, for example, if the handles were to be rotated 90 degrees identical to a shopping cart, that would have been a good starting point.

Besides, the team suggested that building a motor-assisted wheelchair that could take over when the person who is pushing the wheelchair exceeds the limit that should not be exceeded so as to prevent back pain.

The study involved 62 volunteers where 31 were men while 31 were women, with an average age of 25 years. Each of them had to push a wheelchair against a rig that was attached to an overhead braking mechanism installed with adjustable resistance.

The rig simulated the average placement as well as the height of the wheelchair handles. Initially, the resistance started as being low, then it was increased gradually until the volunteers felt that they could no longer push the rig any further. During the entire process, the researchers were measuring the forces applied upon the discs of their spine. The extremist loads, which were reached by just a few participants, was equal to pushing patients weighing up to 485 lb.

The volunteers in the study tried to keep pushing and about 17 to 18 percent exceeded the point at which they should have stopped.

When you push against a heavy object, your spine is exposed to compression. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has set the compression limit slightly over 760 pounds of 3,400 Newton force so as to prevent any back injury.

While the volunteers were pushing against the simulated wheelchair, it was noted that the male volunteers pushed and exceeded this limit for about 34 percent.

According to Weston who was part of the team of researchers involved in the research stated that, pushing heavy weight poses a risk to both men and women, but the risk reasons differ between them. Men are capable of pushing loads that are heavy to the extent that they can hurt themselves, while women are quicker to reach a point of quitting.

Besides, the researcher noted that turning a wheelchair is difficult as compared to pushing it in a straight line.

This was identified during the research as turning the wheelchair led to a 40 percent increase of the spinal forces as the volunteers were forced to stabilize their backs by using their core muscles while they were pushing with a single hand and pulling with the other.

This is the first time that researchers had worked to measure the biomechanical loads over different varieties of wheelchair pushing forces or loads of biomechanical that take place during the turning of the wheelchair.

There was a small study that was conducted back in 1995 in Netherland, where volunteers pushed a chair that had a fixed weight up an incline.

Dr. Marras stated that looking at the part of the back, they were so concerned about the disk has it has fewer nerve endings and this makes it hard to determine whether you are damaging it or not. That is the reason they conducted the research.

The study confirmed that people do not feel uncomfortable even when they exceed the actual limits which are set for preventing injury for about 20 percent.

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Ultimate Tips For Losing Weight While In A Wheelchair

Adults who are always sitting in wheelchairs find it so hard to lose weight.  They use fewer calories due to the fact that they are not exposed to physical activities. However, in case you are a wheelchair user and you need to shed off some weight, there are some adjustments that you can make to lose weight and maintain a healthy life.

Most of us consume a lot of calories than what is needed by our bodies. Besides, we do not perform enough physical exercises. This leads to gaining weight over time and that is the reason why most adults in the U.S. suffer from obesity.

If you need a wheelchair to move, then you are at a greater risk of gaining weight due to the fact that, wheelchair users normally do not utilize the large muscles found in their legs. This means, they use minimal energy in their entire day to day life.

Having extreme weight or obese poses a risk of a variety of serious health issues which include heart disease, type 2 diabetes as well as certain types of cancer.

Tracking your weight

The common standard used to determine if someone has a healthy body weight is referred to as Body mass index (BMI). This is the measure of one’s healthy weight against height.

However, BMI is sometimes not enough when it comes to checking the weight of someone sitting in a wheelchair as this method cannot give us a detailed situation. There are times when your healthy condition poses a risk to your weight or body.

In case you are not sure about your weight status, you can consult your doctor. The doctor will be able to tell you if BMI would be the perfect measure for you and whether your current weight does not pose a risk to your health.

Doctors will also be able to offer you help in case you are not able to weigh your body by yourself.

What is the reason behind your overweight?

It is so difficult for wheelchair users to determine the number of calories to consume. This means that they can find themselves consuming more calories than what they should consume. This makes wheelchair users special as they are different from other elderly people when it comes to the number of calories they need to consume. Adapting to the situation can be hard.

In case you are new to using a wheelchair, you might maintain your normal eating habits. But remember you will be using less energy and that will lead you to gain more weight. In case you are living with other adults who need to eat more calories, you might end up consuming the same amount just like them hence gaining more weight.

How to lose weight while you are in a wheelchair?

Wheelchair users can also find themselves losing leg muscles over time. In case you have less muscle, you should consume fewer calories in order to maintain your body weight.

The ideal way of losing weight in a healthy way is to make sure that you adjust to your diet as well as the level of physical exercise.

In order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than the amount you consume and drink. This can be achieved by eating fewer calories and being so active. However, if your mobility capacity is limited due to your condition, then diet is the only way in which you can maintain or lose your body weight.

Aim at losing at least 1 to 2lb per week until you are able to reach your targeted weight. Eating a healthy balanced diet will help you in maintaining your weight hence having a healthy life.

You can also consult your doctor to find out if there is any community weight management service. This service offers people with:

  • Weight loss and shedding it off
  • Prevent any further weight gain
  • Maintain a regular eating habit
  • Consume a balanced diet
  • Turn out to be physically active
  • Reduce portion sizes as well as overacting
  • Learn new skills of long term lifestyle

Anyone who needs to use the service that involves wheelchair users has to be screened by an experienced and qualified weight management advisor so as to be able to identify if they are suitable for the service and what exercises are ideal for them. Some people are offered a one to one program.

Changing your diet

An average man should consume at least 2,500 calories per day so as to maintain his body weight. While an average woman only needs 2,000 calories per day.

In case you are a wheelchair user, you will need to consume fewer calories. A doctor or dietitian will be able to identify your daily calorie needs.

During the time when you are adjusting to your diet, consider eating healthy and nutritious balanced diets. Note that a balanced diet is important to wheelchair users as it is for adults. The only difference is that you have to adjust to fewer amount of calories as you are not performing the needed physical exercises.

What makes up a healthy balanced diet?

  • Plenty of vegetables as well as fruits: Make sure that you consume at least five portions of vegetables and fruits every day
  • Include enough starchy foods such as brown bread, potatoes and whole grains in your meals
  • Have some milk as well as dairy foods
  • Involve some fish, eggs, white meat, and other different sources of proteins in your meal.

It is best for you if you consume a small portion of foods and drinks that are rich in fat or sugar.

Try to be more active

Becoming so active is very important in maintaining a healthy weight. This will ensure that you burn more calories compared to the number of calories that you consumed in your food and drink. This will improve your fitness and help you in losing your body weight.

Do not live an inactive life just because you are a wheelchair user. Aim at doing regular cardiovascular activities and muscle strengthening exercises. Cardiovascular activities are so important in losing body weight as they are activities that help in raising your heart rates, getting you a bit out of breath, and sweat.

This does not mean enrolling in sports or at the gym. You can begin by making short movements, pushing yourself while you are in your wheelchair instead of using public transport or your private car.

In case you are able to handle the gym then just get enrolled. As there are different options for wheelchair users at the gym, including rowing machines that are designed for wheelchair users, and weight machines that offer resistance exercises.

Other alternatives include swimming, in case you are able to swim, or you can enroll in wheelchair sports like netball, basketball, boccia, and badminton. Boccia is identical to bowls, in which it involves leather balls that are rolled aiming at a target. This is ideal for those having mobility issues. Although it might not be the best exercise that would help you shed off some weight, it might help your entire wellbeing.

In case you are looking at where to rent wheelchair near, you, check out Madison medical rental for their wheelchair program and pricing.


How can Wheelchair Propulsion Lead To Back Pain?

Collectively handling of patients is among the riskiest jobs that one can find. Everyone knows that lifting a patient is not an easy task as it poses a risk to your low back. However, a new study has shown that pushing patients in a wheelchair can also lead to spinal injuries. The major concern is that many people do not know when to stop pushing hence they always exceed the limits.

A research was conducted by researchers from The Ohio State University’s Spine Research Institute. In this research different forces applied on the low back while pushing a wheelchair were measured. The results showed that many people have no idea of how much they should safely push the wheelchairs to protect their spines.

Besides, the results showed that there is a significant risk of experiencing a low back injury which is associated with lifting of patients as well as pushing them on wheelchairs.

A review of the research results

The research team assessed 62 volunteers whereas 31 of them were men and 31 were women where their average age was around 25 years. These volunteers were pushing against a stimulated wheelchair which was connected to a braking system that had adjustable resistance.

The resistance was set to start at low level and then it was increased to reach a level where the volunteers said that they could no longer move that stimulated wheelchair. Throughout the test, researchers were evaluating the forces which were applied upon their intervertebral discs.

The researchers were able to identify that the volunteers, pushed 17-18 percent past the set limit they should have quit. The also researchers found out that wheelchair pushing poses a great risk of causing low back injuries especially for relatively low patient weights. Under normal conditions, the risk of injury upon the low back will occur when pushing patients with weight capacity of 220lb and the risk increases significantly with an increase in weight.

With a rise in obesity, patients are gaining weight and getting heavier thus making it harder to lift and push. Many patients are expected to weigh more than 100 kg.

Besides, the researchers identified that turning a wheelchair was dangerous to the spine as compared to pushing it in a straight line. Turning requires extreme force and energy from the abdominal so as to stabilize the muscles. Besides, the turning motion is responsible for an additional 40% increase in the spinal forces.

The researchers also expect that the risk upon the low back would increase when exposed to non-ideal conditions which were not tested in that particular study. These include activities like pushing a ramp across a carpet or upstairs.

How do wheelchair pushing affect your spine?

Pushing against a heavy load will lead to the compression of your spine. Repetition of the activity will speed up the rate of tear and wear upon your intervertebral discs. This will degenerate your discs.

What you should know is that the intervertebral discs are located between each of the spinal vertebrae. These are the biggest structures within the human body which are not directly supplied by blood. When the disc is healthy, it will diffuse nutrients via the endplates located along each disc. However, if extreme loads are continuously applied upon the low back, they lead to the formation of tiny micro-fractures as well as tissue scars upon the endplates which affect the process of diffusion.

A drop in the supply of nutrients to the disc leads its degeneration. When the spinal discs undergo degeneration, they shrink and might start applying pressure upon your spinal nerves causing you to experience back pain.

What do these results mean?

For now, there is little or nothing you can do to so as to safely condition yourself while pushing a wheelchair. However, using your body weight by positioning your body in a way that your lean forward while pushing a wheelchair might help in reducing the loads upon your low back. But you have to keep in mind that, leaning forward increases your risk to slip and fall.

Researchers recommend that, wheelchair designers should put much emphasis on the wheelchair design enhancing the pushing and turning wheelchair mechanics. For example, Dr. Marras who is the director of Ohio State University’s Spine Research Institute recommends a wheelchair design with a motor that would propel the wheelchair when the required pushing forces start to exceed the limits.

In addition to that, he recommends a sight improve in handles by widening them. This will help in reducing the torques needed in turning patients sitting in wheelchairs.

Besides, there is a need for a technology that will help in reducing injuries especially when it comes to lifting the patients. This can include a floor-based or a ceiling based mechanical lift that will reduce the task of the caregiver. This will also reduce the caregiver’s risk of being exposed repetitive use injuries.

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Have ever imagined how many strokes does someone need to propel a manual wheelchair in a single day? There is no exact figure, but what we can say is that it needs a lot of strokes to propel a wheelchair. It may take between 2,000 to 3,000 strokes per day. However, doing a repetitive activity as such can endanger the user and lead them to develop tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome as well as impingement.

Who is facing a risk?

In case you take your time and think about the stress that is being applied to your upper body part every day while propelling your wheelchair, you might end up wondering how lucky you are to have come this far without experiencing any other injury.

Using a wheelchair does not only involve repetitive hand and shoulder motions, but it involves other activities such as loading/unloading the wheelchair, wheelchair transferring and several other activities for your daily life. This puts your spinal cord at a greater risk due to the fact that your arms are operating in an entirely different manner to fill in the gap of your lower injured section.

Being in a wheelchair means that you have fewer muscles that you can rely on, hence those fewer muscles are always active hence having to undergo extreme stress than they should. For example, in order for someone who is suffering from a spinal cord injury along  his/her wrist level or  chest level, he/she will be using he/his arms to perform any activities that were supposed to be handled by the legs. This cause a lot of strain and stress upon the joints which were not meant to experience such amount of stress.

Normally the common repetitive use injuries are formed along the shoulder and wrist. Normally the wrist injury is the carpal syndrome which leads to tingling or numbness. Injuries that occur along the shoulder are normally tightening or impingement that is around the shoulder capsule.

You should not just blame only the wheelchair use for these injuries. In case you are using different muscles when it comes to dressing, transfer or bathing, that means that those muscles are being used as an alternative and they are being stressed beyond their normal use.

How is aging connected to injuries

Just think about the 2,000 stroke  performed by a wheel chair user in each single day. Then  think about the fact that as the number of strokes increases so does your risk of experiencing a repetitive use injury. This is why repetitive use injury poses a great concern as the wheelchair user ages. When you start to age, your flexibility as well as strength are compromised. Besides, there is a complete transformation that occurs in your body as you begin to age and this poses a great risk of having repetitive use injuries.

However, repetitive use injuries does not mean that you have to totally switch from using a manual to a power wheelchair. There is room for modifying your wheelchair so as to reduce the rate of transfer, and this can significantly reduce the amount of joint stress. For example, driving while sitting in your wheelchair can help in reducing the number of transfers needed in a single day. Besides, using a mechanical lift can simplify the transfer process while reducing the amount of work involved in the transfer process..

There are many manual wheelchair users who have managed to maintain high level of wellness and have remained being successfully throughout their lifetime. According to Dr. Ulmer, it all depends on someone’s lifestyle, goals as well as his/her personal preferences. Besides, any prior injuries before your SCI will affect your ability to propel your wheelchair for long term. Also, the age at which you were, when you underwent the SCI, how you were trained in using your upper extremities for your wheelchair propulsion and the nature of your daily activities will also account to your wellbeing.

But it is also normal for to opt for a power chair so as to conserve your energy and prevent any chronic pain. A power chair will help you to overcome many issues that arise from using a manual wheelchair. Besides, you will be able to maintain a certain level of freedom and independence.

In case you need a wheelchair, you can opt for a power wheelchair for outdoor movements especially when covering long distances and community outings, while retaining a manual wheelchair for indoors or when covering short distances.

Preventive measures

There are different ways that can help you to minimize the risk of experiencing repetitive use injuries while keeping yourself in a good healthy condition that will enable you to propel even when you are aged. These are as follows:

  • Exercising program: Having an exercising program which involves balancing different shoulder muscles and enhancing flexibility is so important. These kinds of exercises are different from those offered by a trainer at a gym

But you have to be careful not to over strengthen the muscles needed for propulsion. Enhancing your balance must be your major focus when exercising.

  • Enhancing your posture: Posture is a key factor when it comes to injury prevention, and it is possible for your therapist to identify poor posture by just taking a look at you propelling your wheelchair. Sunken chest or shoulders leaning beyond the head position will make pushing less efficient. 

So make sure that you work on your posture as well as strengthening your muscles especially in your upper back so as to be able to sit upright.This will improve your push mechanics making the entire propelling process simple and efficient.

  • Training on the proper use of your wheelchair: Getting proper training regarding your wheelchair propulsion is the most effective way to prevent a repetitive use injury.

Using your entire energy or force in making a single wheel revolution will cause a lot of damage to your joints after a long period of time. However, having an effective stroke, will enables you to conserve your energy, hence maximizing force that you apply upon the wheel with minimal effort. This will help you to preserve the ability to push for quite a long time.

  • Consulting a rehab team: The rehab team is so important as it able to analyze the way you are propelling and make sure that your stroke is as efficient as it should be.

Advancement in technology has led to the invention of smart wheel technology which is used in analyzing the push forces, frequency and duration at the time of wheelchair propulsion. This technology is able to provide you with objective figures which include the extent of force that is being used and the angle at which is being applied. This information can enable the therapist determine type of wheelchair and seating that will enable you to maximize efficiency as well as prevent your shoulder or wrist from experiencing more injuries or complications.

Besides, an experienced wheelchair positioning and seating therapist will be able to offer you with some efficiency techniques.

In addition to that, the rehab team will be able to offer you with the right equipment such as push rims or ultra-weight wheelchair that are installed with a grip surface if necessary.

  • Analyzing your lifestyle: You might have come across people carrying a 15-pound backpack upon the back of their wheelchairs throughout the day. This increases their risk of being injured. It is very important to emphasize on follow-up care together with your rehab team. The team will analyze every step of your activities and ensure that you have the right tools/equipment that will help you perform every task you need, while preventing your from any injuries and maintaining your level of independence.
  • Examining your daily schedule and reducing any possible transfers: Cutting out any unnecessary transfers is a perfect idea. Avoid any activity that would make you experience stress along your shoulders and putting you at risk of having injuries. Besides, you have to pay more attention to the position of your wrist when making transfers and propulsion. Pressure relief is also important.
  • Do not neglect your wheelchair: Make sure that you perform all the necessary maintenance and repair needed so as to maintain your wheelchair in good condition and extend its lifespan.

What can you do if you think you might have a repetitive injury?

Firstly, you will have to identify repetitive injuries during their initial stages and get them treated as quickly as you can. Besides, by performing the needed adjustments in your wheelchair and applying proper positioning you can prevent a lot of pain.

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When Should I Check Over My Wheelchair?

Manual wheelchair maintenance normally depends on the model of the chair, and the nature of the task in which the wheelchair is being subjected to. What you have to know is that some wheelchair parts experience extreme tear and wear than others. These parts should also be in their perfect condition in order for the wheelchair to function properly and ensure your safety.

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A general rule requires you to inspect the pressure at least once or twice a month, and the brake condition, the backrest, and every moving component installed in your wheelchair. Besides, it is recommended that you inspect the quick release system, footrest, the anti-tip system as well as the upholstery at least once or twice in 3 to 4 months to make sure that everything is working as it should.. Do not forget to clean the chair frame too.

Proper maintenance of a wheelchair must include an annual inspection from an authorized dealer who has enough experience with the product and how to make different repairs on it. An authorized dealer is able to help you with ad-hoc maintenance problems in case you come across anything that needs special attention during the inspection process.

Major elements: Basic things that you should inspect in your wheelchair

Inside the user and maintenance manual that comes with your wheelchair, you will be able to identify special key points detailing every element. This will explain the correct operation of each element, making it possible to verify if they are operating, as they should.

The wheelchair brakes

It is recommended that you have a weekly inspection of your wheelchair brakes even though the user is still allowed to handle any possible issues that may occur during the wheelchair daily operations.

The inefficiency in the braking system can be caused by improper placement or by any poorly configured component. Besides, low tire pressure can lead to the poor functioning of the braking system too. Wet tires are known to be a source of poor braking mechanism. Inspect these points to make sure that the brakes are working as they should.

The front wheels of the wheelchair

The front wheels of the wheelchair are extremely important. They have to be inspected to ensure that they  are in their best condition. This is one of the fundamental steps needed in order to full fill a proper maintenance procedure. Pay more attention to the wheels’ stability as well as functionality.

One of the most experienced problems is unpredictable wheelchair movements or the wheelchair failing to move in a straight line and moves slightly to the left or right. In order to prevent this, you have to inspect the angle and play of the wheels and ensure that they are properly adjusted in a way that both front wheels can touch the surface and rotate freely.

The tires and inner tubes of the wheelchair

The tires and inner tubes have to be in their best conditions as they are very important when it comes to maintenance and mobility. The proper tire pressure is so crucial in ensuring the best performance of the wheelchair. In case the pressure is extremely low, you will use extreme energy to propel the chair as it will not move and maneuver smoothly. And in case the pressure is extremely high, the tires might end up bursting or they might experience unevenly wear down. Normally, you will find the recommended tire pressure printed upon the tire itself by the manufacturer. Make sure that you keep your tire pressure within that range.

The wheelchair tires are not different from those tires installed in bicycles, and fitting them follows the same procedures just like fitting a tire in a bicycle. Before you fit in the inner tube, you have to ensure that the wheel rim interior as well as the inner tire is entirely clean. Do not forget to inspect the pressure as soon as you are done with fitting the tire.

General care and maintenance of the wheelchair

  • Inspect the tires: Take a look at the pressure as well as the overall condition of the tire at least once a month.
  • Inspect the brakes: Inspect the brakes to be sure if they are properly tuned and working as they should while paying attention to the fittings.
  • Inspect the screws for safety: Inspect all the joints as these are extremely important when it comes to the user’s safety. Make sure that they are safely locked using special bolts.
  • Make the necessary cleaning of the chair frame: Use a detergent to do the cleaning. Make sure that you use soap and water to clean the cushion and backrest. In case you are not sure of anything refer to the manufacturer’s guide.
  • Always use original spare parts for any replacement: In case you need to replace any part use only original parts or those recommended by the manufacturer.
  • When the wheelchair seat is wet: Ensure that you dry it after you are done using the wheelchair, and never store the seat while it is still wet. You should always clean your wheelchair in case it gets into contact with salt or sand as they can both damage the bearings of the wheel through friction that will cause them to wear off quickly.
  • Apply a small amount of grease or oil over the axes for easy disassembly. Do this depending on how often do you use your wheelchair. It is recommended that you lubricate your wheelchair at least once per month. Moving parts must all be lubricated when you start experiencing any difficult in moving your wheelchair or if you start hearing cracking sounds while moving your wheelchair.
  • In case you need to store your wheelchair for a long time, make sure that you cover it and store it in a dry place. Also make sure that it is protected from the sun as well as room temperature. When you need to use it again, then undertake a complete wheelchair inspection process to make sure that every component is working properly.

How Do Adjustable Beds Differ From Hospital Beds?

Hospital beds and adjustable beds have one identical feature. The two types of beds allow the head and foot section to be adjusted and this is where their resemblance ends.

The features of a hospital bed

Hospital beds are designed to be used by patients who are suffering from serious medical problems as well as their caregivers. Besides their capabilities that allow the user to adjust the head and foot sections, the hospital bed can be raised up and lowered to a few inches from the floor. This function works to help the caregivers as well as prevent the patient from injuries in case they fall out of the bed.

The hospital beds are installed with large industrial wheels that enable them to move quickly and easily. Besides they come with inbuilt side rails that cannot be removed. The bed controls are normally located at the side rails or can be accessed using a remote control that is normally wired to the bed.

The hospital bed mattresses are normally six inches of foam that is covered with a thick vinyl in order to allow scrubbing as well as disinfecting. Some of the hospital beds come with a permanent inbuilt institutional brown laminate head as well as footboards.

As they are designed for industrial applications, hospital beds consist of large frames and are found in twin sizes making them prevent patients from sleeping with their partners. It is virtually impossible to mix up a hospital bed with a normal bed.

The characteristics of adjustable beds

The current adjustable beds let the user elevate the foot and head sections of the bed so as to find a comfortable position that will ease her/his pain. Besides these beds allow the users to benefit from the therapeutic features that come with them which are not available in normal beds.

Adjustable beds are specifically designed to be used in homes and when set in a flat position they just appear like traditional beds. The patient’s head or foot can be connected to the base allowing for a smooth transition with the owner’s current furnishings. The adjustable beds are found in full, twin, queen as well as king-sized mattresses options that allow couples to continue sharing their bed. There are other specific options.

The mattresses of the adjustable beds are made to meet the current set standards today’s consumers and compete with all the major brands on the current market. They are designed to withstand thousands of different adjustments that are offered in different levels of firmness.

Besides adjustable beds come in different options that include the wired as well as the wireless handheld controls. Depending on the specific model that is chosen, the users are able to program their desired position using their controls just by a click of a button. Besides depending on the purchased model, the handheld controls also operate advanced options on the bed.

The advanced features that are found in adjustable beds include the most famous Headboard glider, the Whisper Power Motors, heat regulation as well as therapeutic massage.

The adjustable beds are the ideal solution for people who are in need of health and comfort advantages of adjustability.

Contact us for electric hospital bed rental for home use.


Medicare And Hospital Beds Coverage

Under normal conditions Medicare does not cover hospital beds which are regarded as medical necessity by a doctor. Medicare Part B only covers durable medical equipment including hospital beds.

Medicare Advantage Part C plans also covers hospital beds which are considered as medically necessary by the doctor.

Besides there are some of Medicare advantage plan which also cover things like the home meal delivery as well as certain home modifications including the bathroom grab bars.

Medicare and the hospital beds coverage?

Hospital beds are regarded as durable medical equipment that can be prescribed by your doctor for your home use. Medicare Plan B normally covers a medically necessary hospital bed as long as it meets certain criteria which include:

  • The hospital bed must be designed to be used at home
  • It must be used for specific medical reasons
  • It can be used more than once
  • It must be capable of lasting for 3 or more years

In case the doctor prescribes you to have a hospital bed and the supplier who is going to supply that bed is enrolled in Medicare and is a participating provider, then that means the supplier will accept the reimbursement as payment in full for that particular hospital bed.

In case your hospital bed supplier does not allow Medicare assignment which means he/she is not a participating provider, that means they might potentially charge you upfront payment for the bed.

What is the cost of a hospital bed with Medicare?

In case Medicare covers your hospital bed in case your provider accepts the Medicare assignment, there is a certain amount that you will need to cover from your pocket which is normally 20% of the entire cost of the bed. This can be elaborated as follows:

  • The Part B deductible

Currently the Medicare Part B deductible is set at $198 annually.

  • The Part B coinsurance or copayment

If you meet the Part B deductible requirements, you have to pay 20% of the Medicare approved cost for most of the doctor’s services.

There is no set limit on the amount that you would pay for the Part B coinsurance in a particular year.

It will be in your best interest if you speak with your doctor directly for specific amount and coverage information that is related to the hospital bed that you need.

Medicare advantage can also include other additional costs.

Medicare Advantage plans are normally sold by private insurance agencies as alternative to the Original Medicare Part A and B.

Each Medicare Advantage plan has to cover everything that is covered in Part A and B plan. This implies that if your hospital bed was among the things that were covered by your Original Medicare, it will also be covered by a Medicare Advantage plan too.

Besides some Medicare Advantage do offer other benefits which include:

  • Coverage of the prescription drugs
  • Coverage of vision
  • Coverage of dental
  • Coverage of hearing
  • Health and fitness programs such as free gym program memberships

Some of the Medicare Advantage plans might offer overage for additional home appliances such as bathroom grab bars, wheelchair ramps, and many more services that are designed to help the patient feel more comfortable.

Look for a licensed insurance agent so that he can help you compare Medicare Advantage plans which are available in your locality that cover for hospital beds.

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Medicare Questions And Answers

Important Medicare information

Most of the products need to go to the local MDE Supply so as to bill Medicare for the product that you want to rent or purchase. A lot of products which include the hospital beds, the respiratory products as well as some power wheelchairs are just covered as a month to month rental. The recent Medicare rates cover an average refund of 45% over the product categories. According to the refund amount which is now offered by Medicare, the supplies offer an economy product that matches the amount that Medicare will reimburse. When shopping for a specific product by brand or version name is limited to what your local supplier offers.

You have to visit a local Medicare supplier/store for Medicare coverage or for refunds for eligible items. Medicare claims have to be electronically submitted by your local supplier. Currently most of the time Medicare will reject paper billing from a beneficiary if the product will be purchased via the internet.

Read along as we are going to offer you the best links to Medicare’s pages for getting a product as well as a supplier within your area that will be capable of billing your Medicare. But keep in mind that some of the designated suppliers within our area might be around 2000 miles away. The supplies might carry/stock what is known as the economy products for Medicare billing.

Getting a Medicare supplier within your area

In order to access the Medicare Supplier, you will have to go to our Directory, enter your zip code then press enter, then choose the checkbox that is next to the category that you want, then press the search which is located below the page.

Medicare frequent asked questions and answers

  • The assigned and non-assigned claims: The assigned means that there is no out of pocket expenditures while the non-assigned means that you have to make up-front payments that will be refunded back to you.
  • Capped rental: This means there is paid as a monthly rental and there is no reimbursable purchase.
  • The compression hose: Currently there is no compression hose that is covered by the Medicare program.
  • The diabetic shoes and inserts: for the Medicare to cover the Diabetic shoes they have to be fit to your feet and this should be done by the local specialist. Medicare does not allow billing for the shoes that are sold over the internet.
  • The hospital beds and the adjustable beds: The hospital beds are normally capped rentals, while the adjustable beds are normally not covered. You will have to recheck with your local store.
  • The lift chairs: This covers about a $280 refund (reimbursement). This is filed as a non-assigned claim, and this means that it will require you to pay for an up-front. Contact your local store in case you need your Medicare to cover for the lift chair.
  • The patients lift: the patients are normally capped-rentals equipment. Contact your local store for more information regarding rentals.
  • The manual  Medical wheelchairs: These are also capped rental. All the manual chairs are covered by Medicare in a rental category. You have to contact your local store in case you need your Medicare to cover a manual wheelchair.
  • The oxygen concentrators, CAP, and the Nebulizers: This fall under the capped rental category of equipment. For equipment such as the CPAP, Nebulizer, concentrators as well as those related to this category are all covered as capped rentals. You have to visit your local store/supplier who is approved by Medicare so as to bill for Medicare.
  • The power wheelchairs: These are currently capped rental. You have to visit your local supplier/store that is approved by Medicare so as to bill for a power wheelchair in case you need one.
  • The power scooters are commonly known as the POVs: these are also capped rentals too. You have to visit your local supplier/store so as to bill for a power wheelchair in case you need one. You cannot purchase one via the internet.
  • The walkers and rollers: these have to be billed form the local supplier as Medicare will not cover one of purchased via the internet.

Obtaining  the Medicare coverage

Q: How can I get coverage for a medical item that I need for home use?

A: Under normal condition, the doctor will offer a written prescription and this is what is needed, or you can be offered a dispensing order that is written by your physician who is responsible for treating you. Some of the items need a well detailed written order before they are delivered or they need a Certificate of Medical necessity (CMN).

The dispensing order involves the following:

  • A detailed description of the item
  • The name of the beneficiary
  • The date of the order as well the physician’s signature and date

A written order should include the following:

  • A well-detailed description of the item as well as the accessories
  • The full name of the beneficiary
  • An ICD-9 diagnosis code
  • The order start date
  • The time interval of the need
  • The physician’s signature as well as the date

The Medicare assignment and the non-assignment billing

Q: What is the meaning of assigned and non-assigned?

A: The assigned means that Medicare will allow the approved fee for the equipment. Medicare will pay the supplier 80% of the entire approved fee. Secondary insurance normally covers the remaining 205 that is not covered by Medicare. If the beneficiary does not have a secondary insurance, then he/she will be responsible for covering the remaining 20%. The non-assigned means that the beneficiary has to pay upfront for the equipment and the supply will the file for the claim to the Medicare. If the claim is valid, then Medicare will refund the beneficiary by 80% of the approved fee that was paid.

Which equipment is covered by Medicare?

Q: What does Medicare cover?

A: Medicare Plan B covers durable medical items which include:

  • The manual wheelchairs which are categorized as capped rental
  • The power wheelchairs that are capped as capped rental
  • Some of the positioning items
  • The rollators as well as walkers
  • Scooters
  • The mattress over-lays which are capped rental
  • The sea-lift mechanisms for the lift chairs
  • The artificial limbs
  • The oxygen devices that are capped rental
  • The patient lifts that are capped rental
  • The orthodox and splints

in case you need Medicare coverage of one of the above-mentioned types of products, you will have to visit your local dealer that rents/sell the devices as well as bills the Medicare. A lot of people are surprised to know that the manual wheelchairs as well as hospital beds to be under capped rental items. These capped rental items require the dealer to maintain the item over the rental period of 13 months. You have to contact or visit your local supplier so as to get these items.

The durable medical items are covered by Medicare only if they are prescribed by the doctor and comply with the coverage criteria. You will have to find out the equipment that is covered and if the supplier is approved. You can do this by just calling the Medicare’s durable medical equipment regional carrier within your area.

Types of products that are not covered by the Medicare

Q: What items are not covered by Medicare?

A: The items which are not covered by the Medicare includes: the adaptive daily living support such as the automobile lifts, ramps, the reachers, the sock aids, utensils, shower chairs, the transfer benches, raised toilet seats, pulse oximeter, gab bars, and adjustable based beds. Normally the Medicare coverage does not go beyond the bathroom door.

Medicare coverage in the nursing home

Q: What does Medicare cover in the nursing home or in a skilled nursing facility?

A: under Medicare Part A the durable and orthotics medical items are not covered by Medicare. Under Part B, orthotics is covered. In case you are almost being discharged from a nursing home or a skilled nursing facility, the medical equipment will be delivered within two days before you are discharged so as to enable the staff as well as family to learn on the proper use of the equipment.

The Medicare home coverage

Q: What does Medicare consider as a home?

A: Home Medical equipment should be ideal to be used in the home. A home is your house, apartment, assisted living facility, a group of in which you live, a relative’s home. Some of the facilities are not considered as homes which include a skilled nursing facility, a hospital or a nursing facility.

The capped rental

Q: What is the meaning of capped rental?

A: For most of the items that fall under Medicare coverage 80% of the rental cost is covered for 13 months of use. Normally the secondary insurance covers the remaining 20%. The following are the products that are covered as a capped rental:

  • The respiratory items such as the oxygen concentrators
  • The power wheels
  • The patient lifts
  • The manual wheelchairs
  • The aid surfaces such as the Low-Air –Loss
  • Alternating pressure and the rotational mattresses

When Medicare finishes paying for the 13 months use, the supplier is able to transfer the title of ownership to the beneficiary.

Some of the respiratory items are rent for long periods of time. The oxygen concentrator rentals can be covered for up to 36 months.

The Medicare coverage of manual wheelchair

Q: Does Medicare cover manual wheelchairs?

A: Under normal conditions, the manual wheelchairs are normally covered by Medicare as a Capped Rental. This implies that Medicare will pay about 80% of the monthly rental cost and the beneficiary will be responsible for paying the remaining 20%. In case the beneficiary has secondary insurance, the remaining 20% will be covered by the insurance. You can use your local supplier that offers rental services for chairs and he/she will help you in billing for Medicare monthly rental fees. Some of the Ultra-lightweight wheelchairs consist of a K0005 billing code and can be billed like a purchase.

The rollator and walker coverage

Q: Does Medicare cover the rollator and walker?

A: Medicare allows the rollator and walker in every 5 years. Medicare will cover 80% of the entire allowed fee approved by Medicare. If you have secondary insurance that covers the remaining 20%, the reimbursement is almost$125 no matter if your rollator cost $150 or $350, the reimbursement amount is normally fixed, unless you qualify heavy duty or for a bariatric walker. Rollators are normally coded as the walkers which have the ideal accessories such as the seat, hand brakes, wheels. You will have to visit your local Medicare in case you need help with rollators as well as walkers.

The doctor prescription

Q: What does the doctor have to prescribe let’s say you need a rollator?

A: You need a walker with 4 wheels, a seat as well as handbrakes.

The adjustable bed Medicare coverage

Q: Does Medicare pay or reimburse when it comes to adjustable beds?

A: The Medicare coverage for beds is limited just limited to a semi-electric hospital bed and the entire hospital beds are covered as a capped rental. Adjustable beds are not covered by Medicare.
Medicare Coverage for hospital beds

Q: Does Medicare pay or reimburse when it comes to hospital beds?

A: Hospital beds fall under the capped rental category within Medicare coverage. This implies that a local vendor who rents the equipment should be used and is responsible for filing the billing for the monthly fees. Your local dealer is responsible for installing and maintaining this capped rental equipment. Medicare does not consider some of the equipment such as the full-electric hospital bed, and other luxury beds to be a medical necessity. The Medicare coverage is only meant for a semi-electric twin size hospital bed.

The Overbed tables

Q: Does Medicare cover the overbed or the bedside tables?

A: The overbed tables, as well as the bedside tables, are not categorized as a medical necessity and Medicare does not cover them.

The respiratory items coverage

Q: Does Medicare cover CPAP, Oxygen Concentrators, and Nebulizers?

A: Yes, these and respiratory products are considered as capped rental via Medicare.

Q: In case I purchase a portable oxygen concentrator will Medicare refund me?

 A: No, Medicare does not accept for or offer coverage of home oxygen concentrators as well as additional portable concentrators. In case you need one of these items you will have to seek a local vendor who rents them and bills Medicare.

The transfer boards

Q: Does Medicare cover for transfer boards?

A: The transfer boards are considered among the medical necessity equipment for the patients that have a medical condition that limit their ability to move from their wheelchair to bed, or toilet. In case you are looking for Medicare coverage for these items you have to visit your local vendor.

The patient lift coverage

Q: Does Medicare Patient lifts?

A: The patient lifts fall under the capped rental equipment category. This implies that the supplier that rents the equipment has to file the bill to Medicare for the monthly fees. Medicare will reimburse 80% of the rental for a period of 13 months. This coverage is only for the standard hydraulic manual lift as well as a sling. The power lifts, as well as the standing lifts, are not covered by the Medicare coverage.

Q: Does Medicare cover stand-up lifts?

A: No, this coverage is just for the manual/hydraulic patient lift. You can visit the local vendor to rent a patient lift.

The power wheelchair Medicare coverage

Q: What criteria does Medicare consider for a power wheelchair coverage?

A: Medicare normally does not pay the entire fees but only a part of the entire fee when it comes to a motorized wheelchair. A power wheelchair is normally covered when the following conditions are met:

  • The patient is in such a condition such that without using a motorized wheelchair the patient is confined to be or chair.
  • The patient’s condition makes a wheelchair a necessity to the patient as the patient cannot operate a manual wheelchair.
  • The patient is able to safely operate and control a power wheelchair.

A patient who is regarded as to be in need of a wheelchair is normally in a state where he/she cannot walk and is experiencing severe weakness in the upper extremities due to neurological or muscular conditions or disease. In case the documentation does not offer the medical necessity of a need of a power wheelchair but support the necessity of a manual wheelchair, then the payment will be based upon the least costly medically appropriate alternative. But in case the power wheelchair has been purchased while the manual wheelchair upon which the payment is based is within the capped rental category, then the power wheelchair will be rejected as being a medical necessity. Options that are referred to as to allow beneficiaries to perform leisure or recreational activities are not covered by Medicare.

The power scooter Medicare coverage

Q: What is the Medicare coverage when it comes to power-operated vehicles as well as scooters?

A: Medicare covers the power-operated vehicle when it full fills the following criteria:

  • The patient’s condition does not allow him/her to operate a manual chair.
  • The patient has able to safely operate the wheelchair for the POV.
  • The patient is capable of transferring in and out of the POV and has enough trunk stability to be able to safely ride and control the POV.

Normally the POVs are ordered for the patients who are capable of moving around within their home but need a power wheelchair when they need to move outdoor. POVs will be rejected as they do not comply with being a medical necessity under such conditions.

The POV which is beneficial in primarily enabling the patient to do leisure or recreational activities will be rejected as being a medical necessity. In case Medicare covers a mobility scooter then a wheelchair that is offered at the same time or subsequently is normally as not being a medical necessity.

Medicare and the lift coverage

Q: Does Medicare cover for a lift chair?

A: In order to have the Medicare coverage of these items you have to visit a local vendor. Just the seat lift mechanism that is installed in a lift chair is what might be regarded as a medical necessity in case the following criteria are met:

The patient should be suffering from severe arthritis of the knee or hip and must have a severe neuromuscular disease.

  • The seat lift mechanism should be a part of the physician’s means of treatment and can be prescribed as being a necessity in improving the patient’s condition, or it has to be arresting or retarding the deterioration of the patient’s condition.
  • The patient must be entirely incapable of standing up using a normal armchair or any other chair that is found in their home. The patient is incapable of getting up from the chair, especially the low chair, which is not sufficient to justify that you need to have a seat lift mechanism. As almost all the patients who are capable of walking are capable of getting out of the normal chair if the seat height is set at an appropriate angle as well as the arms.
  • And once the patient stands up he/she will be able to walk.

Medicare coverage of the seat lift mechanism is limited to a few types that can be smoothly operated and controlled by the patient. Besides, it should effectively be able to assist the patient when the patient needs to stand up or sit down without a need for any other assistance. Medicare coverage is limited to the seat lift mechanism no matter if it is installed within the chair. Medicare reimbursement ranges between $275.
Medicare and Diabetic shoes

Q: Are diabetic shoes covered by Medicare?

A: Medicare does not reimburse for or allow the coverage of Diabetic shoes, in case the shoes are fitted upon your feet by a local Pedorthist or a trained filter. Generally, in most cases, the process involves heat molding the shoe or inserting it to your foot so as the foot conditions to be properly treated. Even when using this personal fitting the must be prescribed by a licensed physician who treats the foot condition that is resulting from Diabetes. Besides the person who is fitting and offering the shoes has to be approved by Medicare and should be a Medicare provider so as to be able to bill for the device. Medicare will pay for a single pair of shoes and 3 pairs of inserts annually. The patients who are looking for Medicare coverage of shoes are normally diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy.

Medicare Co-payments

Q: Will I have to pay a 20% co-payment to Medicare?

A: When you have met your deductible you are required to pay directly or via supplemental insurance, the remaining 20% of the Medicare-approved amount. This co-payment might not be dropped by the vendor unless in hardship conditions and only depending on the case at hand. A vendor who regularly drops the co-payment might be violating federal law.