Scooters and Power Wheelchairs

Trying to decide on the appropriate mobility device can be an overwhelming task. Here are a few things to consider when trying to decide on the right one:

Electric Scooters are:

  • Easier to transport because they do not require an accessible vehicle like power wheelchairs do.
  • Less cumbersome in tight spaces
  • Less “medical” looking
  • Significantly cheaper than a power wheelchair

Electric Scooters are not:

  • Supportive of good sitting posture
  • Designed to be used by small bodies
  • Easy to maintain hand throttle for long periods of time
  • Equipped with power seating features for tilt, recline or elevate

Power Wheelchairs are:

  • Structurally stronger than scooters
  • Able to offer multiple power seating options such as tilt, recline, elevate and standing
  • Fully adapted for a variety of control modules and switches specific to a person’s needs
  • More supportive for posture and accepting of custom seating modules

Power Wheelchairs are not:

  • Cheap
  • Easy to transport without an accessible vehicle
  • As small as scooters

Things to consider when choosing an electric scooter are:

  1. Do you want 3 or 4 wheeled?
  2. Does it have a height adjustable seat in order to allow the feet to rest comfortably?
  3. Does the manufacturer have pediatric sized seats available?
  4. Is the tiller with the controls adjustable?
  5. Are the controls hand grip, thumb controlled or joystick?
  6. What is the warranty and/or repair costs?

Things to consider when choosing a power wheelchair are:

  1. Ask your therapist for their input and to be involved in the decision making.
  2. Which type of “drive” do you want? Front, mid or rear wheel drive? If you don’t know, try all of them out.
  3. What kind of seat and back cushion comes with it? Is it interchangeable with others if that one does not meet your needs? Short term and long term.
  4. What kind of joystick, switch or other control are you able to use to operate this device and can it be changed later if your needs change?
  5. How are you going to transport this power wheelchair?
  6. Is your home, school/work accessible to this device or will modifications need to be done?
  7. Submit for pre-authorization with your insurance prior to ordering the device.

For more information, access our Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Guide for Individuals Living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy HERE.

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