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A Self-Assessment Tool for Identifying Mobility Needs

A Self-Assessment Tool for Identifying Mobility Needs

When mobility-related activities of daily living (MRADLs) can no longer be accomplished safely and independently in your home, it might be time for a mobility assessment and a face-to-face mobility examination with your doctor.

A mobility assessment tool can consist of just a few, pertinent questions to help identify personal mobility needs. With insight gained from self-reported responses, specific mobility aids can be explored, including power scooters and electric wheelchairs.

Mobility Self-Assessment Questions

1. Assessing Personal Mobility Need

  • Is there a history of stumbling and/or falling while standing, walking, or moving throughout the home while using your current mobility device?
  • Have daily activities, group participation and personal care (dressing/grooming, meal preparation/feeding, toileting/bathing) been affected by functional limitations?

2. Assessing the Home Environment

  • Is the home residence accessible for mobility equipment?
  • If needed, can a caregiver help with the manual or power wheelchair?
  • Are there stairs or uneven landings within the home? If so, a stair lift or wheelchair ramp might prove useful.1

3. Assessing Non-Powered Mobility Aids

  • Are the arms and/or legs strong enough to use a cane, walker, crutches or to self-propel a manual wheelchair?
  • Can MRADLs within the home be performed safely and in a reasonable time frame while using a cane, walker, crutches or manual wheelchair?
  • If non-powered mobility aids have been used, did any of them effectively resolve mobility deficits in the home?

4. Mobility Scooter/ Power Wheelchair Assessment

  • Is it possible to sit upright (with extended arms) to operate a scooter's tiller and handlebars? 2
  • Can a scooter be maneuvered throughout the rooms of the home easily?
  • Will the scooter resolve mobility needs and improve the performance of MRADLs within the home?

If the answer to these final mobility assessment tool questions is no, then a power wheelchair might be a more reasonable mobility solution.

How Powered Wheelchairs Help Improve Mobility

Woman preparing dinner in her Hoveround power chairPower chairs are mobility aids that are designed to compensate for functional limitations (upper body weakness, difficulty walking, chronic and immobilizing pain, etc). A power chair makes it easier to independently perform activities of daily living.

A face-to-face mobility examination, conducted in the office of a qualified health practitioner, is required to determine medical necessity for a power wheelchair.3 Additionally; a prescription must include documentation detailing the mobility deficits the chair will help to resolve.

To learn more about our mobility scooters and power chairs, contact Hoveround at 800-542-7236. We'll help you discover how to increase your comfort, enhance your independence and renew your personal mobility with the right equipment for you.


Alexander, Neil B, MD, et.al., Self-Reported Walking Ability Predicts Functional Mobility Performance in Frail Older Adults,
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 48 no11 N; 2000

1 Medicare insurance will probably not cover the cost of, or issue a purchase authorization for a wheelchair ramp. For details regarding Medicare coverage, please call 1-800-MEDICARE.

2Medicare considers limitations in shoulder and arm strength, postural endurance, range of motion and other mobility and environmental-related factors when evaluating the reasonableness of covering a power scooter or a power wheelchair for daily mobility.

3 A face-to-face mobility examination and medical assessment are mandated by Medicare. These are important elements in obtaining coverage for prescribed mobility assistive equipment.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional.

April 9, 2020