How to Choose the Right Mobility Equipment
Choosing the right mobility equipment will depend on understanding the needs of your condition and assessing which equipment will fulfil them best. Whatever your needs might be, there are four things you should consider to help you choose the right mobility equipment.
Consult a healthcare professional
The first step should always be to consult a healthcare professional. The right mobility equipment can be difficult to pick, which is why a comprehensive assessment of your condition and requirements is important to get you moving again.
Consulting a healthcare professional has a number of advantages. Mobility equipment is vital to supporting your body, however, the wrong equipment may actually cause unnecessary strain if used inappropriately. A healthcare professional ensures that your mobility equipment satisfies your specific needs and avoids potentially negative impacts on your body. A healthcare professional can also assist with matching your mobility equipment with other kinds of intervention, such as medication or rehabilitation.
Assess your mobility needs
When assessing your mobility needs there are four main categories to think about:
- Health: The first factor to look at is your overall condition, including whether you are able to stand, your stamina, your balance, pain threshold and any other factors related to your ability to move around.
- Lifestyle: The second factor to consider is how active a lifestyle you are able to live. Mobility requirements for an active lifestyle can be very different from one that is more sedentary.
- Weight: Every piece of mobility equipment comes with a weight threshold, which means that you need to have the right aid for your weight to ensure that it can properly fulfil its purpose and function.
- Environment: Finally, you need to consider your environment and any changes you need to make to it depending on your mobility needs, such as introducing ramps or considering how you will navigate tight spaces with your equipment.
Understand the different types of mobility aids
Once you understand your needs, you should know what types of mobility aids are available out there on the market today. The three main types of mobility equipment include:
- Walking equipment: Walking equipment provides stability and balance to help facilitate a safer and better-supported walk. The simplest walking equipment available are walking sticks, which help provide stability for people who require a counterbalance for one side of their body but are fairly mobile on their own. For those that require a stronger and wider base of support, crutches may be a better option but they require strong shoulder, arm and hand function. Walkers and rollators (wheeled walkers) both provide a strong and wide base of support that is ideal for people with weaker legs and difficulty with balance.
- Wheeled equipment: Wheelchairs, mobility scooters and power chairs all provide a comfortable way of moving around. Manual wheelchairs require good hand and arm function, however, do facilitate exercise when moving around. Mobility scooters and power chairs offer an easy way to move around and come with a variety of features to suit different patient needs.
- Lifts: Patient hoists and lifts provide practical ways to move between different environments such as down a set of stairs or from wheelchairs to beds or chairs. What lifts you require will depend upon your facility and the type of assistance available to you.
Review budget requirements
Finally, you will need to check with government assistance or private insurance whether your particular needs are covered and what options they are able to provide you. Once you know that you can review your budget and ensure that you are able to meet your needs at the right price.