Lanham, MD – Doctors Community Hospital now offers a Wheelchair Seating and Positioning Clinic that helps people reduce their risks of wheelchair-related injuries (e.g. ulcerations and pressure sores) and enhance postural alignment. The only such program in the area, the clinic’s rehabilitation therapists provide personalized wheelchair assessments, recommendations and fittings using advanced pressure mapping technology. It helps therapists identify more effective wheelchair cushions based on resistance and pressure measurements taken when users are sitting or moving.
On a Roll: Specialized Support for Wheelchair Users
Approximately 2.2 million people in the United States depend on a wheelchair for day-to-day tasks and mobility. Each of those wheelchair users has unique needs that may cause different injuries and require individualized equipment strategies. It’s not one size fits all.
Maher Kharma, MHS, OTR/L, CEAS, from Doctors Community Hospital’s newly opened Wheelchair Seating and Positioning Clinic discussed how proper assessments help both users and their caregivers reduce injuries and optimize function.
What should I expect during my seating and positioning appointment?
The assessment will be completed by a rehabilitation therapist and a wheelchair vendor. They will collaborate to complete the assessment as well as provide optimal seating solutions that are tailored to your individual needs. The appointment takes about an hour and is billed to your insurance company. This team will share recommendations with you that may include a manual/motorized wheelchair, custom molded seating for your back and/or cushions. A representative will help coordinate all requirements (e.g. doctor’s visits, additional paperwork, etc.), and you will be contacted when the recommended product(s) is ready for you.
What services do the Wheelchair Seating and Positioning Clinic provide?
The clinic cares for wheelchair users ages 16 and older who have varying medical conditions:
- Cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Orthopedic ailments
- Spinal cord injuries
- Geriatric concerns
Simultaneously, given the roles of caregivers who assist people get in/out of wheelchairs and adjust seating to increase comfort, finding the right equipment and accessories is also important to protect these helpers from developing contractures, wounds, muscle sprains and other injuries.
The clinic’s services are covered by most insurance companies.
How can the Wheelchair Seating and Positioning Clinic help me?
Each of our clinic’s highly trained rehabilitation therapists have ten or more years of experience and specialize in addressing concerns unique to wheelchair users. We offer advanced technology called “pressure mapping,” which identifies areas that need adjustment to reduce risks of pressure ulcers and other complications – sometimes even before they begin.
With comprehensive rehabilitation, occupational, physical and speech therapy available on-site at Doctors Community Hospital, we provide assessments and support to address a wide range of eating, communication as well as mobility concerns.
What is most important when being fitted for a wheelchair?
Depending on the injury, illness or condition, people may have different mobility needs, requiring different seats, cushions or fastenings for support. So, well-fitted wheelchairs that will allow people to maintain or improve the quality of their lives are extremely important.
Other specialized equipment (e.g. “reachers,” lifts, shower bars, etc.) can help prevent further injuries like stress fractures. Additionally, the right amount of support for the head, back, arms or legs can help further prevent pressure sores while allowing for greater comfort and ease of use.
For more information, visit DCHweb.org/wheelchair or call 301-DCH-4YOU (301-324-4968).
 National Institutes of Health http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/rehabtech/conditioninfo/pages/peo... 12/19/2014