Wheelchairs and Wheelchair Seating

Wheelchairs and seating are an important part of how you function. Our clinicians have extensive experience working with the assessment and provision of all forms of wheeled mobility and seating and can assist you in accessing equipment from the Manitoba Wheelchair Program (MWP) https://www.manitobapossible.ca/wheelchair-services?locale=en  if you are eligible, or with purchasing the right equipment for you from one of the local medical equipment suppliers.

What is a Wheelchair Seating Assessment?

Wheelchair seating and mobility is a technical and specialized area of occupational therapy. Our therapists have a good understanding of not only the physical and functional needs of our clients but also of the current technology available in order to choose the equipment that is best suited to your needs. Wheelchairs and cushions available in the market are always changing and improving and Therapy First keeps up to date with the newest products.  Our therapists are skilled in the assessment and provision of manual wheelchairs including transport wheelchairs, tilt in space wheelchairs, ultralight weight folding and rigid wheelchairs as well as power wheelchairs and power assist/add on devices.
We, at Therapy First believe that a thorough seating assessment is a crucial part of determining which equipment is most suitable for you. From this assessment, we set goals with you and a plan for how to meet these goals. Goals may include improving your mobility, improving your positioning, preventing pressure sores, and maximizing your function.

Interview: A seating assessment will begin with collecting basic background information which might include but not be limited to your medical diagnosis and any other related conditions, past or planned surgeries, problems with pain or pressure sores, and a discussion about your concerns and goals for a new wheelchair and/or seating system.  The assessment will also include discussions around your activities of daily living, your work or school, your leisure activities and the physical environments you use your wheelchair in such as home and work and what you have available to transport you and your wheelchair.

Physical Assessment: We will then do an assessment of your physical posture and function in your current wheelchair and make note of how straight (or crooked!) you sit and what your overall posture looks like. From there we will help you transfer to a mat table, or bed surface where we can assess the physical movements and range of motion you have from your head all the way down to your feet. We will then sit you up on the mat table or bed surface with support, if needed. This helps us to understand how properly positioned supports can maximize your seated posture and therefore improve your function.  This could include using commercially available seating produces (cushions and backrests for example) or fitting you for custom seating products.

Report: When requested we can produce a thorough written evaluation of the assessment, complete with recommendations and a follow-up plan that will include your personal goals. This report can be sent to your physician and/or your funding agency. We will also work in collaboration with your existing community therapists, home care and physicians.

Once the assessment is complete and recommendations are determined we will work together with you, and the supplier of your choice to select the most appropriate equipment for you to try. You will have time to trial the equipment to see if it is meeting your goals prior to ordering it.

We recommend that individuals using a wheelchair for the majority of their day receive a complete review of their seating and mobility assessment at least every five years.

It is important to understand that the process of assessment and trial of equipment can be a lengthy process with multiple appointments required, depending on what recommendations that were made following your assessment.   Publicly funded services are available through the WRHA via Community Therapy Services – call 204-949-0533 or https://www.ctsinc.mb.ca  or through your Regional Health Authority https://www.gov.mb.ca/health/rha/contact.html

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