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Is It Time To Get A Wheelchair?

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Living with multiple sclerosis led Vickie Richmond to a difficult decision.

“Things were getting worse and worse. I was on the walker, I was just falling with the walker and they said ‘hey its time for a wheelchair’,” says Vickie Richmond.

It was her first step towards freedom.

“This gives me a lot of independence. Even though I have to have someone put it in the car but once they get it out of the car I’m gone. You know ‘see ya’,” says Richmond.

Deciding when it’s time for a wheelchair can be an emotional milestone. But for those facing medical conditions, they may not have a choice.

“Some diagnoses that I see commonly are cerebral palsy, muscular sclerosis, ALS, pain – chronic pain you know and general arthritis, aging where they may now need a wheelchair when they didn’t before, spinal cord injury, amputation sometimes,” says Amy Morrell, physical therapist with Lee Memorial Health System.

Physical therapist Amy Morrell gives mobility assessments at the Lee Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness.

“Maybe a wheelchair isn’t the best for them. Maybe they could use a walker. We look at would a scooter be best to help them get around in their environment. A manual wheelchair or a lightweight wheelchair. Insurance looks at how they’re getting around in their home environment,” says Morrell.

The ideal is to restore mobility and the give people the ability to enjoy a normal life.

“Definitely. I mean you can do anything from a wheelchair. People go boating, they fish, kids play soccer. There are all sorts of things you can do. Also to be able to work, to get around the work environment,” says Morrell.

Getting a wheelchair assessment gave Richmond the drive to face her future.

“If you need the wheelchair, get in it. It will make life easier for you,” says Richmond.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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