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Walking Aid Prescription
A walking aid can refer to several types of equipment. Typically, people refer to a rollator or a walking frame as a walking aid, however, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists will class other pieces of equipment as walking aids as well, and these include things such as but not limited to walking sticks and crutches.
Community Therapy’s Physiotherapists and Occupational therapists are involved in the assessment and prescription of walking aids for our clients.
Mobile Occupational Therapy Service
Choosing a Walking Frame
Please view the video to learn more about this. In summary, when choosing a walking frame one should consider:
- Wheel size
- Turning circle
- Safe weight limit (SWL)
- Dimensions – seat height, ability to sit/stand, height of handles, width of seat, total width
- Safe and private storage of goods
Our clinicians will help you identify the specifications that are most appropriate for your needs.
When is a Walking Aid Clinically Appropriate?
A walking aid is appropriate for somebody who is having difficulties with walking, and the type of walking aid that is suitable is determined by the functional impairments and medical conditions that somebody is living with.
Somebody requiring much more stability or upper limb support will need a walking aid such as a rollator, or somebody requiring even more assistance would need something more robust, like a forearm support frame. If somebody’s impairment is only mild, they might be suitable for something with less support, such as a walking stick.
Walking Aid Education & Training
Our Physiotherapists and Occupational therapists will provide education around all aspects of the walking aid.
If we take, for example, a walking frame, there will be education regarding:
- The safe weight limit of the walker, including any carry case that it has for personal items
- The use of brakes
- How the walker is folded
- How to adjust the height of the handles
- How to actually walk safely and efficiently with the device, and also general maintenance and repair options.
Funding Schemes & Accessing Equipment
Purchase of walking aids can be facilitated through different funding schemes which Community Therapy operates within.
This includes the NDIS, home care packages, DVA, Lifetime Care and Support, and other schemes may be able to provide all or part funding of walking aids for clients.
Rehabilitation with the Prescription of a Walker
A common piece of feedback from clients that are using a walking aid for the first time is that they feel that using the walking aid may lead to decreased strength, endurance or walking capacity, as they feel that they may rely on the walking aid.
An important deliverable is that our Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists can provide therapy programs to help facilitate maintenance or improvement of functional capacity, this is so that people are building or maintaining their strength, balance and endurance levels.
Contact Community Therapy
Community Therapy works with older adults and adults (over 18) who are living with a disability.
We really love our work and we’d love to hear from you!
- We are mobile across Newcastle, Port Stephens and the Central Coast
- Our OTs and Physios are fully university-trained
- We visit people in their homes
- We are prompt, compassionate and professional
Walking Aid FAQ
Can the walker move over outdoor terrain?
Different walkers have different capabilities of moving over terrain.
If somebody is using a walking aid or a walker outside and over grass or gravel, it is very important that they choose a walker with large wheels, a walker with small wheels is not suitable for moving over different outside terrain.
Can we assess different manufacturers when working with Community Therapy?
Yes, Community Therapy has no preference in terms of brand or equipment supplier.
Our preference is that our clients have a great experience of receiving the most appropriate piece of equipment for them, in a timely fashion.
Community Therapy is always working with suppliers that are able to deliver items efficiently and promptly, and also have a great working relationship with clients, in terms of their ongoing repairs and customer service.
In summary, we always provide clients with choice and control over the different types of brands of equipment that they wish to purchase.
How often should walkers be reviewed?
For most pieces of equipment, an annual review is recommended. However, this can be more of a visual inspection from the person themselves, if they have quite a low-risk piece of equipment, such as a walking aid.
For more complex equipment, for example, a scooter, would need regular service and repairs.
However, a walker should be reviewed by the equipment supplier or the therapist if parts of it are no longer working, typically, this is the brake mechanism, the seat mechanism, the folding mechanism, or the wheels.
Please contact Community Therapy if you have any questions regarding reviews.
How does a walking aid relate to these different transfer types of equipment (i.e. stair lifts, escalators)?
An important part of an assessment from an Occupational therapist or Physiotherapist is taking into account all the different places that a person may be using the walking aid, this includes what surfaces they may be transferring on and off.
For walking aid prescription, a focus area is often car transfers.
However, other transfers, such as lifts, accessing public transport and the use of lifting devices are equally important and taken into account.
Community Therapy follows a consumer-directed or client-focused approach to get to know the personal goals that someone wants to achieve, to ensure that we can accurately assess all the different ways that they’re wishing to use their walker or walking aid.