AOTA Issues Wheelchair Evaluation Guidelines

New document attempts to clarify rules, educate OTs

Occupational therapists frequently must work collaboratively with referring physicians and durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers to assure that the appropriate medical equipment is recommended and provided.

Claiming they’d received report of questionable practice by occupational therapists in certain states regarding wheelchair safety, the AOTA recently released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to clarify best practices and answer any questions to prevent future mishaps.

The document covers proper documentation (partial answer: “the medical record must contain sufficient information to demonstrate why the client requires the use of a power mobility device…”), timing (“prescription for the power wheelchair must be written AFTER the in-person visit has occurred and the medical evaluation is completed”), and the seven-element prescription requirements. The full document can be found on the AOTA’s website.

The document also discusses the ethics of provider relationships, Medicare considerations, and guidance for compliance questions. In summary, it’s a one-stop shop for any OT concerned about following proper protocol as it pertains to wheelchair fittings.


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