Considering insurance coverage for your personal mobility vehicle? Get ready to make some key wheelchair insurance or mobility scooter insurance decisions

  At the building where I work, a number of the clients are heavily reliant on the use of either an electric mobility scooter or an electric powered wheelchair to get around and perform many of their daily activities.  some rent their chairs or scooters while others have outright purchased them, either entirely with their own money or with the assistance of government.

  Regardless of the ownership status of their chairs, all of these people share one need in common: the need, from time to time, for servicing of their mobility devices when they stop working properly.  In addition, most of the people that I work with have some kind of coverage set up with any one of the companies out there that offer maintenance services for these kinds of vehicles. I have come to realize however, that it is the nature of this coverage which can vary greatly.

  Most, if not all of my clients have had to arrange for avisit from a wheelchair or mobility scooter repair person at one time or another; over my years of working at my site I have been witness to the comings and goings of these repair people and come to appreciate how much it means to my clients that they are able to have these people come to them instead of having to arrange delivery of their malfunctioning vehicles to the repair locations. Some times this has been the result of the vehicles still being under warranties but other times it has been the result of having to pay for the visit as a separate expense.  Still other times it has been handled under the provisions of a client's insurance policy/agreement coverage with a mobility scooter and powered wheelchair insurance provider.

 From numerous conversations with clients over the years, I have come to learn about just how many things can be included under the umbrella of mobility scooter insurance coverage and how many options there are available to add to your particular plan so that it best suits you and your particular needs. I will endeavour to cover many of these below.

  I have been reminded more than once that insurance coverage for a mobility scooter or electric wheelchair is not a mandatory requirement since both categories of vehicle are not intended for use primarily on the public roadways. Therefore, coverage selection is solely at the discretion of the vehicle owner.

  Basicaly, there are two main categories of insurance offered to vehicle owners: (a)repair and replacement coverage, and (b)liability coverage for injury and property damage.

 Replacement coverage is pretty much how it sounds: it is coverage that you can get that covers you in the event of sustaining any damage to your personal mobility scooter or power chair. If your vehicle suffers any damage that can be repaired, or if the vehicle sustains damage that is judged to be irreperable, in either scenario you are making sure that you are able to handle the predictable expenses associated with that. This kind of coverage will often include reimbursement for any expenses incured in finding transportation home when one's vehicle stops working and leaves them stranded. Another aspect of coverage that can be included under the umbrella of replacement coverage is the provision of a temporary replacement or 'loaner' vehicle, whether a mobility scooter or power wheelchair, to cover the span of time during which you are without your regular mobility vehicle.

 Offshoots of the repair and replacement coverage category can also iclude accident insurance that covers 'acts of God' categories of damage, with such things as fires, floods and storms all being covered in your policy if you want to include it.  Similarly, coverage for theft and vandalism of one's chair or scooter can be included in a policy, if so desired.

 The other main category of coverage I earlier mentioned is the liability coverage. Basically, this category covers the area of liability for any claims against you for property damage or injury to others caused during the operation of your scooter or wheelchair.  This is pretty self explanatory as far as the kind of coverage that this is and how it works. This kind of coverage will often also offer the option of having your personal liability extended to also include attendants under the personal liability coverage for any injury or property damage that might  occur while they were in the act of assisting you with your vehicle or even for any damages to them incurred from the operation of your vehicle while they were in your employ.

 Of course this is also the category of coverage that handles any personal injuries that you incur during the operation of your vehicle. It is importsnt to make sure that you are covered for this potential expense by at least one source of coverage: many people make the assumption that one source of personal injury coverage that they may have through a source such as an employer or even a credit card is sufficient for coverage of any injuries sustained through the operation of their personal mobility aid when in actual fact this might not be the case.  This is why it is important to know if you have such coverage before any possible personal injury to your own person.

 One last point I would like to mention here is that with almost all providers of personal mobility scooter and electric wheelchair insurance, there is usually offered the option of signing up for multiple years of a policy in advance, with the incentive of lower premiums being offered as the benefit or reward in exchange for the extended commitment to the policy.

  I hope that the preceding has been at least somewhat enlightening. For myself, thinking about and summarizing things that I have learned and picked up over a span of a number of years is quite an eye opener.  Sometimes you do not really have a proper appreciation for the things that you have learned until you make the effort to put them out there for the benefit of others.


How the bathroom has become less challenging for the physically disabled

Recently, during a conversation with some friends, the subject of my work in health care came up and after a while my friends started asking me questions of how most of my clients handled their daily activities that occurred in the bathroom. I entertained their questions to the best of my ability, choosing to give them a more basic or general idea of what is involved for a disabled individual making their way about the bathroom in their home and including descriptions of the various mobility aids that are available to assist them making sure that I did  not get too bogged down with specifics of such things as brand names of the manufacturers of these bathroom-based aids or the variations in each type (or class) of assistive device.

  In no particular order, I would like to review here the things that I covered during that conversation. One of the more obvious needs of the disabled individual in the bathroom is the need to have unfettered access to the commode; being able to maintain an effective and regular bowel routine is obviously of the utmost importance and naturally there are mobility aids designed to facilitate this need.

  If someone who is physically disabled is not on a colostomy pouch system and still needs to use a toilet for their bowel routines then an obvious concern is how to use a toilet efficiently. A popular way of doing this is to use a commode chair.  The commode chair is basically a metallic skeletal chair frame (at least I think that they are mostly designed with a metallic frame by most manufacturers for increased durability) on wheels which the individual sits upon over the toilet. The chair allows for the user to either perform their routine directly into the toilet or to have a collection bucket hooked up underneath the seat. An added benefit of the chair's design is that it is effectively waterproof and can also be used in the shower as a shower chair, so that you can go directly from the toilet to the shower without the need for any transfers. Soap scum and the eventual build up of rust need not be a problem provided the chair recieves an occasional wipe down after use.

  The commode chair will often include some kind recline function that allows the user to adjust the incline of the chair to better suit their preferred angle of recline, movable arms that can be raised and lowered as needed to allow for easier transfers to and from the chair, as well as removable safety belt that can be used to help keep the occupant safely in the chair.  It is important that when the owner of the chair first receives it, that they take the time to make sure that it is a proper fit over their own toilet bowl - when the chair is first delivered.

  Another empowering device in the bathroom is the familiar and increasingly popular walk-in bathtub.  you may have also heard this kind of tub referred to as a kind of handicap bath tub, however I prefer to avoid references to  handicap bathtubs as being a somewhat pejorative label in its nature.  As many have seen in commercials on television, this is basically a bath tub that is equipped with a hinged door for easy access as well as a shower nosel and controls that are easily accessed from inside the tub by the user. These tubs are also designed to fill and drain  efficiently to reduce the amount of time spent in the tub.

 One form of shower that I have become familiar with through my work is the walk-in shower.  This is basically a shower that is at an even level with the bathroom floor to make it possible for someone in a commode chair to easily be rolled into the shower area. The floor of the shower will have a drain and a minor depression in the center to keep the water collecting towards the middle instead of spreading out towards the rest of the bathroom.  This concept of floor drainage behind the shower is why it is very important that the floor tile is properly laid out at the time that the bathroom is first constructed, or at a later date if the walk-in shower is instead a modification to the original bathroom layout.

  When a physically challenged person is still able to use a standard style bathtub in their home, one safety feature that is often found installed alongside the tub are steel safety rails that are usually located horizontally along the front of the inner wall of the tub and vertically along the wall next to the front of the tub where it opens out towards the rest of the bathroom.

  Other areas of the bathroom which you might find supportive safety bars are on the walls adjacent to the toilet, in both vertical and horizontal alignment. Sometimes my clients have even had supportive standing poles installed near their toilet to help them more safely sit on and get off of the toilet.

  In many apartments, I have noticed clients have had a ceiling lift system installed which allows them to be easily transferred both on and off their toilet, as well as on and off of a standard shower chair. The great thing about the ceiling based lift system is that it is an unobtrusive method of transfer: there are no space or maneuverability issues to deal with such as those you might face working with a more traditional floor lift, since you do not have to deal with accommodating both the manual lift and the wheelchair in the bathroom at the same time. In cases where the manual lift is being used, sometimes the bathroom cannot accommodate both at once and the person I work with has had to actually transfer into the commode or shower chair outside of the bathroom and then be brought into the bathroom and, of course, be brought back out of the bathroom to be removed from their shower chair afterward, whether it is to be transferred into a different wheelchair or onto their bed.

 One final feature of most, if not all, of the bathrooms in  apartments that I have assisted people in is the presence of a sliding door in which the actual door slides into the wall.  This of course is considered more access-friendly for someone who is accessing their bathroom from the confines of a wheelchair and who doesn't wish to deal with the extra backward and forward motions necessary to open a conventional door.