Some people roll in to see Amy Morrell, others are in need of wheels.
“I look at what would best fit their needs. Whether it be a manual wheelchair or a power wheelchair or a very specialized power chair that tilts, reclines and legs elevate for someone who wouldn’t have the control or ability to otherwise move,” says Morrell, physical therapist with Lee Memorial Health System.
Whether someone is getting their first wheelchair or transitioning to a new one, they are well served by an evaluation from a therapist certified in assistive technologies.
“It is a requirement for insurance. So I go through and justify every single piece of the wheelchair. Why medically they would need it, not just why they would want it,” says Morrell.
These days a wheelchair is much more than a chair with wheels. It has to fit right, feel right and match its owner’s lifestyle demands and expectations.
“You can do anything from a wheelchair. People go boating, they fish, kids play soccer. Also to be able to work, to get around the work environment,” says Morrell.
With people spending up to 16 hours a day in their wheelchair, picking a new one is no small feat. Which is why many people want to take them for a ‘test drive’ first.
“I rely a lot on the supplier of the wheelchair to know the latest and greatest products so we can get them to lend us things to trial in the clinic here or at the patient’s home,” says Morrell.
The right chair should carry its owner well into the future. As many health conditions are degenerative, it’s important to anticipate the needs of today and tomorrow.