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Power Wheelchairs Essential to Reasonable Quality of Life for Many Medicare Beneficiaries
Date:4/9/2013

p="name">George Cannon , and his wife, Mary, are typical Medicare power wheelchair users. Each day, they navigate their power wheelchairs down the hallways at an assisted living facility in St. George, Utah, as they make their way to the facility's dining room for meals. Without their power wheelchairs, the elderly couple would likely be in a nursing home.

"I wouldn't make it without the power wheelchair," said George, 94. "A few years ago, it got to where I couldn't walk any distance with my walker…it seemed that it would make life easier to get around if I had a power wheelchair."

Ryan Wilson , of Louisville, Ky., is another Medicare power wheelchair user. He suffers from spina bifida and has been a paraplegic since birth. Throughout his life, he has confronted medical challenges that have affected his mobility. A few years ago, after Wilson developed a pressure ulcer his mobility became even more severely restricted.

"My body was just not the same as far as mobility," said Wilson, who is not related to AAHomecare's Tyler Wilson . "My shoulders have just about given out and the power chair has brought me back. Especially after the ulcer, I was basically bedridden and couldn't get around my own house. If I wanted to go out, someone would have to push me because my shoulders quit. With the power chair, the shoulders are not an issue. I can go until the battery quits."

Studies have shown that power wheelchairs reduce government health spending because Medicare patients with power wheelchairs have fewer falls and hospital emergency room visits. Power wheelchairs also delay placements in expensive nursing homes. Armed with this data, and studies showing that senior citizens would rather stay in their homes than be placed in care facilities, one would expect the government to encourage the use of power wheelchairs. In
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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