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Power Mobility

Power Mobility
Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
August 10, 2015
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Learning Objectives

Our learning objectives for this course are that the participant will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast clinical indicators for scooters and power wheelchairs.
  • List three readiness indicators for power mobility.
  • List three power wheelchair alternative drive methods.  

Categories of Power Mobility

Power mobility devices fall into two main categories: power-operated vehicles or scooters and power wheelchairs.  Medicare refers to scooters as power-operated vehicles or POVs.  Each of these is designed to provide independent mobility using a motorized mobility base.

Goals of Power Mobility

Power mobility devices are designed to provide independent mobility to a client who is unable to self-propel a manual wheelchair or unable to self-propel a manual wheelchair efficiently.  There are some clients that we work with who can use a manual wheelchair, but perhaps not efficiently, safely, in a timely manner, without undue fatigue, or without undue cardiopulmonary effort.   If it is taking our client too much time or too much effort to complete the task, then this is not an efficient means of propulsion.  

Power Mobility Assessment

Clients who have an array of diagnoses and ages use power mobiity devices.  Clients having difficulty achieving independent, efficient mobility with other mobility options are the ones that may need power mobility.  Assessment of power mobility, just like assessment for more complex manual wheelchairs, is typically done with the wheelchair supplier.  Power wheelchairs tend to fall into two main categories: consumer level power wheelchairs and complex rehab power chairs.  Any power mobility device, whether it is a scooter or a power wheelchair, falls into an area of equipment where typically an ATP (Assistive Technology Practitioner) or a SMS (Seating and Mobility Specialist) may be involved.  We discussed those certifications in our last course.  It is very important to have competent team members involved so that the client is truly getting their very best solution.  When considering a power mobility device, the assessment needs to include several key items.  First, if this is the client’s initial power mobility device, we need to determine if the client is ready.  This is very pertinent with children.  Is this child ready for a power mobility device?  Once we determine that the client is ready for power mobility, we then have to determine what the best power mobility base is, including the optimal seating and best driving method.  For a lot of clients, the driving method will be a joystick, but not for all of our clients.  We also have to determine if power seating is required.  This can include features like a power tilt or power recline, and other related options that are available.


michelle lange

Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS

Michelle is an occupational therapist with 25 years of experience and former Clinical Director of The Assistive Technology Clinics of The Children’s Hospital of Denver. She is a well-respected lecturer, both nationally and internationally and has authored 7 book chapters and over 175 articles. She is the editor of Fundamentals in Assistive Technology, 4th ed. Michelle is on the teaching faculty of RESNA and the University of Pittsburgh. She is on the RERC on Wheeled Mobility Advisory Board. Michelle is a credentialed ATP, credentialed SMS and is a Senior Disability Analyst of the ABDA.



Related Courses

Service Delivery: Preparing for the ATP Exam
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #2620Level: Introductory1 Hour
The RESNA Assistive Technology Professional certification examination includes questions from a variety of content areas. One of those areas is Service Delivery. This module will cover the content area including ethics, standards of practice, information resources, service delivery systems and roles, consumer empowerment, quality assurance, outcomes, product development and liability.

Recreational Technologies: Preparing for the ATP Exam
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #2625Level: Introductory1 Hour
The RESNA Assistive Technology Professional certification examination includes questions from a variety of content areas. One of those areas is Recreational Technologies. This module will cover the content area including recreational technologies for people who have motor, cognitive, and/or sensory impairments. Areas addressed include play, games, sports, and exercise.

Sensory Technologies: Preparing for the ATP Exam
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #2630Level: Introductory1 Hour
The RESNA Assistive Technology Professional certification examination includes questions from a variety of content areas. One of those areas is Sensory Technologies. This module will cover the content area including technologies for people who are hard of hearing, deaf, have low vision, are blind or who are deaf blind.

Alternative and Augmentative Communication: Preparing for the ATP Exam
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #2633Level: Introductory1 Hour
This course presents Alternative and Augmentative Communication. Definitions, terminology, access methods and strategies to optimize use will be addressed. Mounting and interfacing with power wheelchairs will also be presented.

Cognitive Technologies: Preparing for the ATP Exam
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #2638Level: Introductory1 Hour
This course presents cognitive technologies which are designed to increase independence and safety for clients with cognitive impairments. Content includes definitions and categories of equipment, as well as examples.