Do I Need A Prescription To Get A Mobility Chair? | 5 Key Considerations To Keep in Mind

Do I Need A Prescription To Get A Mobility Chair? | 5 Key Considerations To Keep in Mind

Powered adaptive seating solutions play a crucial role in empowering individuals to lead independent and safe lives. Whether due to injuries, medical conditions, or limitations in mobility, obtaining the right wheelchair is essential for enhancing daily activities. This article explores the process of acquiring a mobility chair.

Understanding Powered Wheelchair Prescriptions

Power wheelchairs often require a prescription for insurance coverage. Physicians play a crucial role in evaluating the medical necessity of a power chair, taking into account factors such as strength, mobility deficits, and the impact on daily activities.

The Power Mobility Chair Prescription Process

The power mobility prescription process involves several steps, the most important being a mobility evaluation and the acquisition of documentation of medical necessity:

  • A mobility evaluation, conducted by a qualified therapist, assesses factors like postural stability, pelvic posture, and upper body strength. The results guide the selection of the optimally-configured power wheelchair to meet the individual’s unique needs.
  • Proper documentation includes a detailed narrative note in the patient’s chart, specifying the mobility limitations and the impact on daily activities. A physician’s signature is often required to validate the medical necessity of the prescribed mobility device. This information is then used to create an authorization request submitted to the insurance provider.

Letters of Medical Necessity

5 Key Considerations to Simplify the Mobility Chair Prescription Process

1. Choosing the Right Type of Mobility Chair

When choosing a mobility chair, carefully consider the type that best suits your needs. While manual wheelchairs are suitable for individuals with considerable upper body strength, powered mobility chairs, such as electric wheelchairs, offer enhanced independence and convenience. Evaluate your lifestyle and mobility requirements to determine if a powered mobility chair is the superior option for optimizing your daily activities.

How To Buy a Mobility Chair

2. Preparing for the Medical Evaluation

Before obtaining a mobility chair prescription, you must undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation conducted by a qualified healthcare professional. This assessment should consider your overall health, physical condition, and specific mobility needs. The results will guide the selection of the most appropriate mobility solution tailored to your individual requirements.

Preparing for a medical examination is a crucial step in ensuring accurate and comprehensive assessments of your health and mobility needs. Make sure to do the following beforehand:

  • Begin by organizing any relevant medical records, including documentation of previous injuries or conditions that may impact mobility.
  • Make a list of current medications, allergies, and concerns you wish to discuss with the healthcare provider during the examination.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that allows for easy access to areas requiring examination, and bring any mobility aids currently in use.
  • It’s also beneficial to jot down specific instances of mobility limitations experienced in daily life to provide a real-world context for the healthcare provider.


By taking these preparatory steps, you contribute to a more efficient and informative medical examination, facilitating a better understanding of your unique health profile and enabling the healthcare professional to make well-informed recommendations, including the prescription of an appropriate mobility chair if necessary.

3. Documentation of Medical Necessity

Ensure that your healthcare provider provides clear and comprehensive documentation of the medical necessity for the prescribed mobility chair. This documentation is vital for insurance claims, approvals, and any potential appeals. A thorough explanation of your mobility challenges and the necessity of the prescribed chair will facilitate a smoother approval process and ensure you receive the most suitable mobility solution.

Here is a list of key documents for individuals seeking a mobility chair:

  • Medical Records: Recent medical records detailing the individual’s health condition and history of mobility issues.
  • Physician’s Prescription: A prescription from a qualified physician specifying the type of wheelchair needed based on the medical condition and mobility limitations.
  • Mobility Evaluation Report: A comprehensive report from a mobility specialist or therapist, including assessments of postural stability, pelvic posture, and upper body strength.
  • Chart Notes: Detailed narrative notes in the patient’s chart, providing a thorough description of the mobility limitations and the impact on daily activities.
  • Authorization Request: A formal request for authorization for the prescribed mobility device, often including supporting documentation from healthcare professionals.
  • Insurance Information: Complete details of the individual’s insurance coverage, including policy numbers, coverage limits, and contact information for the insurance provider.
  • Proof of Medical Necessity: Any additional documentation, such as test results or specialist opinions, that reinforces the medical necessity of the prescribed mobility chair.
  • Financial Information: Information about the individual’s financial situation, including proof of income, to determine eligibility for financial assistance programs or insurance coverage.
  • Identification Documents: Personal identification documents, such as a driver’s license or passport, for verification purposes during the procurement process.
  • Insurance Policy: A copy of the individual’s health insurance policy, outlining coverage details and limitations related to mobility equipment.
  • Mobility Device Specifications: Technical specifications and details of the recommended mobility device, as prescribed by the healthcare professional.
  • Equipment Quotations: Quotations from medical equipment suppliers outlining the cost of the prescribed wheelchair or mobility device.
  • Medical Bills and Invoices: Any relevant medical bills or invoices associated with the mobility evaluation, prescription, or other related services.
  • Additional Assistance Programs: Information about government or non-profit assistance programs that may provide financial support for mobility devices.
  • Authorization Correspondence: Copies of any correspondence with the insurance provider regarding the authorization process, including approval letters or denials.

Having these key documents organized and readily available can streamline the process of obtaining a mobility chair, ensuring that individuals have the necessary information to navigate the prescription, evaluation, and insurance coverage processes effectively.

4. Clearly Expressing Your Mobility Limitations

When communicating your mobility limitations to your healthcare provider, it’s essential to provide a detailed and comprehensive overview of the challenges you face in various aspects of daily life. By articulating the specific difficulties you encounter, your healthcare provider can make informed decisions about the type and features of a mobility chair that will best address your needs.

Here are examples of common mobility limitations that you might want to communicate:

  • Difficulty Standing: “I struggle to stand for prolonged periods, especially when preparing meals or performing household tasks. This impacts my ability to engage in cooking and other routine activities independently.”
  • Walking Challenges:  “Walking more than short distances is challenging for me due to my condition. This limitation affects my ability to navigate public spaces, run errands, or participate in outdoor activities with friends and family.”
  • Balance Issues: “I experience balance issues, making it unsafe for me to move around without support. This affects my confidence in navigating uneven surfaces or crowded areas, restricting my participation in social events.”
  • Limited Range of Motion: “My condition restricts my range of motion, particularly in [specific joints or areas]. This limitation affects my ability to reach for objects, bend down, or perform basic self-care tasks like dressing and bathing.”
  • Pain or Discomfort: “I often experience pain or discomfort, especially when trying to stand up from a seated position or during prolonged periods of sitting. This hinders my ability to engage in activities that require changes in position.”
  • Fatigue and Weakness: “I frequently experience fatigue and weakness in my [specific muscles or areas]. This makes it challenging for me to sustain physical activities, impacting my ability to complete tasks that require strength and endurance.”
  • Independence in Daily Activities: “I face difficulties with tasks like grocery shopping, as lifting and carrying items are physically demanding. This affects my independence in managing basic daily activities.”

Providing specific examples like these allows your healthcare provider to understand the practical implications of your mobility limitations. This information guides them in recommending the most suitable mobility chair and ensures that the prescribed device is equipped with features that directly address your unique challenges.

Can mobility chairs be used indoors and outdoors?

5. Navigating Insurance Coverage

Navigating the complex world of insurance is another crucial aspect of obtaining a mobility chair. Insurance companies vary in their coverage policies, and decisions about insurance can significantly impact the financial aspect of acquiring a wheelchair. Check the specific requirements established by your insurance provider to ensure coverage for the prescribed chair. Discuss potential out-of-pocket costs and explore options that align with your insurance policy. Being well-informed about insurance coverage can significantly impact the financial aspects of obtaining a mobility chair.

Embrace Your Independence with Proper Mobility Assistance

By navigating the prescription process, understanding insurance policies, and ensuring proper documentation, individuals can embrace independence and safely engage in daily activities. The journey towards improved mobility is not only a medical necessity but a pathway to a more productive and independent life.

Designed by physical therapists, EMP Living’s REAL Seating System offers cutting-edge mobility chairs that redefine independence for individuals facing mobility restrictions. Our high-performance adaptive seating solutions are meticulously crafted to empower users to accomplish more in their daily lives.

Some of the main features of REAL chairs include:

  • A functional design that enables users to navigate their surroundings independently and safely.
  • Powered controls for height, seat tilt, backrest, and a safety brake ensure effortless adjustments, providing a customized experience for each user.
  • The compact frames of REAL chairs allow seamless movement through standard doorways, kitchens, and bathrooms, making them versatile and adaptable to various environments.
  • Safety is a top priority, with all REAL chairs equipped with a built-in safety brake, ensuring stability and preventing unintended movement during use.
  • The modular design allows for customization with a range of accessories, making each chair uniquely suited to the user’s needs.

From adaptive chairs for adults or children, clinical chairs, X-Ray chairs, lift chairs, and more, REAL chairs offer unmatched versatility, enhancing the independence of users in various scenarios.

Shop for High-Performance Mobility Chairs