At Momentum Healthcare, we have always been great believers in the benefits of standing wheelchairs. We are exclusive distributors in Ireland for the world-leading Lifestand brand, and we have already seen many people enjoy a great difference in their quality of life after they begin using one.
A Lifestand standing wheelchair is much more than just a mobility solution. It is in fact a therapy device combined with a mobility device. However, this means that a problem can arise from an administrative perspective, with regard to costs. Should a standing wheelchair be covered by an OT or PT budget?
First consider the benefits
Let us first consider the following four areas from ICF. A standing wheelchair can make a difference in all four and have a positive effect on a person’s life, consequently reducing costs.
- Body structures and Functions: A standing wheelchair can help the user to change position in-chair and therefore help with tone management, weight distribution and bladder function. Being able to stand enables better eye-to-eye contact, which can decrease pain in the shoulders and head due to looking up, and also makes it easier to communicate with people around you. So, as the body starts to be in better shape, less treatment (preventive or curative) will be needed. This has a positive impact on costs.
- Activity & Participation: A standing wheelchair helps people be more active and to participate more in social activities. The possibility to be active in mind and body helps to reduce the risk of depression, which is a very costly condition for society.
- Personal factors: The choice of being able to stand when you want helps to increase independence in personal and instrumental ADL. The person will be more autonomous and require less assistance.
- Environment: As well as providing a means of ambulation, choosing a standing wheelchair provides increased functional benefits which can help to reduce the need for adaptation of a person’s home and workplace, thus further reducing costs.
The list of benefits and studies are extensive and is available to download here. The areas from ICF highlighted above are just those that relate directly to costs and budgets. All agree that a standing wheelchair, which has an entry price of €4,100, is a cost-effective purchase. Compare that to the cost of a standing stationary frame and a wheelchair bought separately, and the savings are already apparent, before even considering the additional benefits to the user.
What budget – OT or PT?
The confusion in many cases is where the money for a standing wheelchair should come from. Should it come from an OT or PT budget?
In the case of a standing frame, that decision is easy. It constitutes therapy, and therefore comes from the PT budget. Likewise, a wheelchair comes from the OT budget. But if bought separately, and the wheelchair user does not use the standing frame regularly, it just gathers dust and turns into a virtual coat hanger. This is why a standing wheelchair such as Lifestand should be considered instead.
Departments working together
Thankfully, what we are seeing more and more of is the two departments – OT and PT – working together on an assessment and on budgets for Lifestand standing wheelchairs. Both the physiotherapist and the occupational therapist attend a trial, and both play an important part in assessing the suitability of the equipment to the user.
It then becomes much easier to decide what budget to use to cover the cost of the standing wheelchair, or what portion of the cost should be covered by each budget.
Clients have emailed us to say that their Lifestand has literally changed their life. The ability to stand up and hug someone is the difference they talk about most. So in the spirit of sharing a hug, why not share your knowledge and experience with your colleagues, and share your budgets for a better outcome?
Browse our range of Lifestand standing wheelchairs, or simply contact us for further assistance and information.