Wheelchairs and Power Mobility Devices
If you need a wheelchair,
we will arrange a loan from our equipment pool. You can use it while you
recover and we assess your needs. Once the assessments are completed, you will
have to make arrangements to get your own wheelchair. You can keep using the
hospital’s wheelchair for up to 12 weeks while you make these arrangements. If
you own a wheelchair, your occupational therapist will advise you whether it’s
necessary to bring it in.
We have negotiated a contract with Ontario
Medical Supply (OMS) that allows you to obtain a preferred rate for the
maintenance and repairs of your personally-owned wheelchair or other mobility
device. Contact OMS at 613-244-4560 for a consultation.
For more information about your safety
while using a wheelchair or power mobility device, please consult our Safety at
Bruyère handbook available on each unit.
Power Mobility Devices
All power mobility devices must use maintenance-free gel batteries. Lead-acid batteries are not permitted. You are responsible for battery replacements and all repairs and/or maintenance of your personal wheelchair. Our occupational therapist or nursing personnel can refer you to a list of outside providers who perform service calls.
Before operating a power wheelchair or scooter, a team member (e.g. occupational therapist) must complete a driving assessment. This will determine your ability to safely drive the device. During your stay, you must display safe driving skills and good judgment within the facility, outside the hospital grounds, and in the community.
Safe driving guidelines
Please consider that driving a PMD is similar to driving a car. Safety of yourself and others is very important.
- Drive cautiously. Stay alert and always be aware of your surroundings.
- Drive at low speeds indoors. Driving at high speeds can cause injury to yourself or others and damage to property.
- Turn at low speeds. Sharp turns at high speeds may result in overturning.
- Do not drive over curbs or drops higher than 1.5 inches (3.5 cm).
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or of a controlled substance is prohibited.
- Do not allow anyone to ride on your PMD with you and do not tow anyone.
- Be extra careful when operating your PMD near stairs.
- Only staff may assist you in crowded areas. Because of safety concerns, other patients must not provide such assistance.
- Store items securely when on your PMD; do not carry any loose objects with you.
- Turn the power OFF before getting on or off your PMD.
- When driving a scooter, make sure that the seat swivel is locked.
- Always keep your feet on the floor pan of your scooter or the foot supports of your electric wheelchair when driving.
Suggestions for operating PMDs
- Use of a seat belt is strongly recommended as a sudden jolt could cause you to slide out of your PMD.
- Check battery power to ensure it is fully charged before each outing.
- Consider the weather when planning to go outdoors, e.g. tires may have poor traction in snow and rain may damage electronics.
- Use of an orange flag is recommended to increase your visibility to traffic in the community.
- Have a plan in case of emergency when you are out in the community (e.g. have a cellular phone, request a volunteer or a friend to go out with you).
- Do not overload the basket of your scooter. This can affect the balance of your scooter.
- Never lend your PMD to another patient or to a visitor.
- Park your PMD in a safe place that is not in the way of others. Sufficient space is required around the beds in patient rooms. Therefore your PMD may not be able to be stored in your room.
- Do not block the entrances of the hospital.
- Turn OFF your PMD when in the elevator in case another person accidentally hits the joystick/controls
- Consider installing mirrors to increase safety when backing up.
- Notify your vendor or team member if you are having problems with your PMD.
Responsibilities and obligations
- You are expected to read and follow these guidelines at all times while using the PMD.
- You are responsible for willful damages or injury to yourself, others and property resulting from your use of the PMD. You understand that you, your family or estate agree not to make any claims against Bruyère, its medical staff, employees, officers and directors for any damages or injury that you may cause.
- You may be required to reimburse Bruyère, its medical staff, employees, officers and directors for costs of any claims or demands made by another party that arise from your use of a PMD.
- You are responsible for maintenance, damage, adjustment or repair costs for your PMD, including costs of modifications required because of safety concerns identified by the team.
Note: The treatment team will assess your driving skills on an ongoing basis. They may modify the PMD (e.g. speed control), restrict or suspend your driving privileges if you do not follow these guidelines.