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Wheelchair and Mobility Assessments

Our Wheelchair Seating and Mobility Assessments are for any patient requiring the use of wheeled mobility in their home, work and community environments.

The program enables you to try a wide variety of manual and power wheelchairs, seating and positioning accessories and environmental challenges. You can trial the device and make accurate and informed decisions based on its performance.

The TIRR Memorial Hermann Outpatient Seating and Mobility Clinic at the Kirby Glen Center is a specialty clinic that evaluates individuals for their seating and positioning needs. The licensed occupational therapists on our staff have extensive training and experience with complex rehabilitation seating and mobility needs.

Our Wheelchair Seating and Mobility Assessments are for any patient requiring the use of wheeled mobility in their home, work and community environments.

The program enables you to try a wide variety of manual and power wheelchairs, seating and positioning accessories and environmental challenges. You can trial the device and make accurate and informed decisions based on its performance.

Program Goals

  • Maximize independence and safety in the home and community
  • Improve posture and function in the wheelchair
  • Prevent secondary medical, orthopedic and skin problems caused by improper seating
  • Provide demonstration equipment, simulation of the seating system and diagnostic tools, such as pressure mapping, to optimize comfort and function

With so many products in the market to choose from, information on the latest technology can be overwhelming.

TIRR Memorial Hermann keeps abreast of new and innovative technologies and monitors federal guidelines in the area of seating and mobility. We also work closely with local, certified and credentialed durable medical equipment providers and manufacturer representatives to provide comprehensive, patient-focused options.

Services Provided

  •  Manual wheelchair evaluation
  •  Power wheelchair evaluation
  • Pressure mapping – This is a tool used to determine the weight distribution of a patient’s sitting surface or back, on various surfaces.
  • It also allows the therapist to determine a functional seating system for the patient. The pressure mapping system also assists the therapist in educating the patient and family on the weight shift technique.
  • SmartWheel® assessment – This tool is used to determine the optimal configuration of a custom manual wheelchair, including its center of gravity, wheel placement and the patient’s overall push stroke. The Smart Wheel assessment is used for patients who are having shoulder pain with wheelchair propulsion.
  • Final fitting/delivery – This is the process where the seating therapist, the complex rehabilitation team and patient complete the plan of care by fitting the patient into the recommended equipment. Adjustments are made as needed to ensure that the patient’s seating and positioning needs are being met with the recommended equipment.
Schedule an Assessment

 For more information or to schedule an assessment, call (713) 797-5942.

Specialized Assessment: The SMARTWheel®

The SmartWheel is a clinical tool that assists with:

  • Wheelchair Selection and Set-Up: The SmartWheel quantifies patient ease or difficulty in propelling different chairs or chair set-ups.
  • Propulsion (momentum/propel) Training: Real-time visual feedback assists wheelchair users to reduce force and repetitive stress on their arms by using longer, less frequent strokes.

How a person propels a wheelchair is analyzed by a TIRR Memorial Hermann therapist specially qualified to perform the assessment by measuring every push on the hand rim. The SmartWheel then puts the data into easy-to-use automated summary reports to give clinicians better data to help manual wheelchair users improve quality of life.

Benefits of the SmartWheel

The SmartWheel is for people with good hand function. Benefits include:

  • Eliminates pushing on the tire 
  • Gives a better grip for better performance with every push 
  • Eases pain in hands and wrists 
  • Provides greater control when braking 
  • Retrofits to your existing wheels 

Referrals

What is needed for a referral:

  • A physician’s prescription
  • Patient demographics and insurance information
  • Clinical notes from the physician with a history of the patient’s diagnosis
  • Clinical details on why pressure mapping or SmartWheel assessment is needed
  • For a manual or power wheelchair, a face-to-face interview is required with detailed documentation of the need
What is needed:

Clinical notes from the physician are required, explaining why pressure mapping or SmartWheel assessments are needed.

Most funding sources require the referring physician to have a face-to-face visit with the patient to complete this
documentation. The samples included below are for both manual and power wheelchair face-to-face documentation. They contain information that must be gathered on the patient’s need for a certain evaluation and the type of mobility device being recommended. The physician must also rule out lower-level mobility devices that the patient cannot use at home to complete mobility-related activities of daily living, therefore necessitating the referral and recommendation as noted.

Manual:

[Patient name] is here for evaluation for a manual mobility device. [Patient name] has a history of [diagnosis] and due to functional deficits related to this diagnosis, [patient name] is unable to walk or use a single-point cane or walker
to safely access his or her home environment and requires the use of a custom manual wheelchair with specialized seating system. [Patient name] and caregivers are willing and competent to use a manual wheelchair. [Patient name] is non-ambulatory and is able to functionally propel a manual wheelchair. [Patient name]’s home is accessible for the manual mobility device. Patient [“is independent” or “requires assistance”] for weight shifts for effective pressure redistribution [and the prevention of pressure ulcers]. Referral is being made to a licensed occupational or physical therapist for manual mobility evaluation and trials.

Power: 

[Patient name] is here for evaluation for a power mobility device. [Patient name] has a history of [diagnosis] and due to functional deficits related to this diagnosis, [patient name] is unable to use a manual mobility device to safely access his or her home environment, work and community, and requires the use of a custom power wheelchair with specialized seating system. [Patient name] and caregivers are willing and competent to use a power wheelchair. [Patient name] is
non-ambulatory and not able to functionally propel a manual wheelchair or utilize a scooter (Power Operated Vehicle). [Patient name]’s home is accessible for the power mobility device. Patient [“is independent” or “requires assistance”] for weight shifts for effective pressure redistribution and needs correct seating to address posture and skin protection needs. Referral is being made to a licensed occupational or physical therapist for power mobility evaluation and trials.

Patients or families interested in wheelchair seating and mobility assessments may call (713) 797-5942 or toll-free at 1-800-44-REHAB (73422).