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How to Talk to the Doctor About Limited Mobility

July 27, 2011

Before a doctor can prescribe a Medicare power wheelchair or a power scooter, patients with mobility limitations need to provide their doctors with as much information as possible. Here's how to have that conversation.

female physician with older patientDiscussing senior mobility problems with a doctor can be one of the most important, and most difficult, health conversations anyone may have. Yet, doctors need to be aware of all mobility-related struggles their patients experience. Having this knowledge is the only way a senior care physician (and the mobility supplier) can determine the most appropriate mobility solution.

To get the most from a mobility office visit with a doctor, specific details must be shared. Anything that interferes with the ability to accomplish mobility-related activities of daily living (MRADLs) such as cleaning, self-care, cooking and the like, should be discussed.

At some point, the doctor may determine that a Medicare power chair is the best solution for accomplishing MRADLs within the home. However, Medicare will only cover the cost of a power wheelchair after there has been a complete, face-to-face mobility examination and proper documentation of medical necessity has been submitted.This is why communicating openly about limited mobility issues with the doctor is so very important.

male physician and female nurseHow to Discuss Senior Mobility Solutions with the Doctor

  • Be completely honest. Talking about falling down, or expressing a need for mobility assistance, may be uncomfortable or embarrassing for some. But doctors who treat seniors can only help to improve mobility if they have all the details.
  • Tell the doctor about any incidences of pain, fatigue, dizziness, or loss of balance while walking.
  • If there is a fear of falling, or if falling has become a problem, be certain to explain how often these falls occur. Also, let the doctor know if it's becoming increasingly difficult to safely move about inside the home.
  • If at all possible, bring a family member or caregiver along. They might be able to provide useful information that could help the doctor determine whether a Medicare wheelchair or a power chair is the most reasonable solution.
  • Make it a priority to ask questions if anything is unclear or even slightly confusing.
  • Be sure to discuss a full range of senior mobility solutions, including electric mobility scooters and Medicare power wheelchairs.

Regaining the mobility to safely and independently perform activities of daily living can make a world of difference in the quality of one's life. A visit to the doctor to discuss functional limitations is a good place to start.

 

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

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