Your ability to move around your home and community can be empowering and help you stay connected to others. If your health requires you to use a mobility device, our specialists in occupational and physical therapy, assistive technology, and rehabilitation engineering help you find and appropriately use equipment to meet your needs. With the right kind of wheelchair and seating system, you can experience better posture, enhanced breathing, and less pain and can slow the loss of mobility.
Who We Evaluate
Our therapists work with people age 13 and older who suffer from impairments and can benefit from assistive equipment. You may benefit from a wheelchair evaluation if you’ve received treatment or are currently being treated for issues that can create movement problems such as:
- Orthopaedic injuries or amputations
- Neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS) and stroke
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Pressure injuries and wounds
We can also evaluate your current wheelchair to check for improvements to your seating or positioning. Our evaluations are not meant for people without a medical condition who want a wheelchair.
Duke Health offers evaluations at the Duke Physical and Occupational Therapy at Duke Health Douglas Street.
Requirements for a Wheelchair Evaluation
To receive mobility devices that may be covered by insurance, you'll need medical or therapy documentation that addresses your limited physical ability and need. For example, to qualify for a power (electric) wheelchair or scooter, you’d need to demonstrate an inability to use a cane, walker, or manual wheelchair in your home. Additional requirements for qualification include the following.
- You must have a health condition that requires others’ help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, bathroom use, and getting in/out of bed.
- You must be able to safely get on the wheelchair or scooter, operate it, and get off.
- You must pass a standard vision test.
- You must be able to fully understand the safe use of a mobility device.
All wheelchairs are meant to primarily help you move in your home – they’re not for your leisure or recreational activities.
We perform a comprehensive evaluation in our clinic to match equipment with your needs to help you reach your highest level of independence. During your appointment, we run a series of tests to better understand your strength, balance, ability to reach items safely, coordination, stability while walking, and any chronic pain that can affect movement.
We also evaluate your seating needs to determine the most appropriate cushions or wheelchair modifications to minimize the risk of developing pressure sores and to allow existing sores to heal.
Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why we are once again recognized as the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 11 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2020–2021.
Receiving a Wheelchair
Your options may range from a lightweight, manual wheelchair to a scooter or power wheelchair with features to assist you with standing, reclining, and ulcer prevention. Our clinic works with a variety of local and national medical equipment companies; your insurance company may have contracts with specific vendors. We’ll help you understand your options to select the most appropriate device for your needs. Then, we'll help you order your new wheelchair and train you to use it safely.