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.