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February 02, 2019


08:00 AM - 5:00 PM


UAB Center for Psychiatric Medicine Auditorium - Birmingham, AL


It can be a daunting task to know where to start, given the wide array of power wheelchair options available and the rules that affect power wheelchair prescription. This course is designed as an interactive, hands-on workshop to equip therapists working in a variety of settings to:  

1.    Determine who needs a power wheelchair and what type
2.    Perform objective evaluation using proper objective documentation to justify the right power wheelchair, and
3.    Instruct the end-user in proper use of a power wheelchair.    
4.    Resources from local suppliers and manufacturer reps will also be provided. 
Information will be provided on a variety of topics including the types of power wheelchairs, evaluation of the patient, and documentation for funding sources. We will discuss issues with Medicare/Medicaid guidelines, competitive bidding and advocacy.  .Attendees will meet local suppliers of wheelchairs to learn the process of obtaining proper paperwork, ordering and provision of a wheelchair, and service. Major manufacturers of power wheelchairs will be present to show attendees a variety of power wheelchairs/ accessories and how end-users can properly use the wheelchair to optimize function, including power functions, alternative drives, programming basics, and pediatric applications. 


Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

1.    Describe the difference between Group 1-Group 5 power wheelchairs and general application to an end-user. 
2.    Use at least 3 functional outcomes measures to determine the need for a power wheelchair for an end-user.
3.    List at least one justification for 4 common power functions. 
4.    Describe the general funding process for power wheelchairs.

Gayle Benson PT, MPH received a BS in Physical Therapy from the University of Florida in 1976 and an MPH in Public Health Education from UAB in1989.  She has worked at UAB/Spain Rehabilitation Center in various capacities for the past 40 years. She first became interested in Wheelchair Seating and Positioning in the early 1980’s while working with adult neurorehab patients in the inpatient setting; she began looking for solutions to problems that her patient’s had with posture and pressure sores. At that time, she also began seeing some adult clients for Outpatient Seating Assessments (an underserved population at the time). She served as the inpatient PT Clinical Supervisor for SCI Care from 1979-1997 and from 1997 until 2015 she served as the Manager of the Outpatient PT Department. Gayle was credentialed as an Assistive Technologist Professional (ATP) from 2007 until 2011. She retired in 2015 but continues to see patients two days a week in the Wheelchair and Seating Clinic at UAB and covers two Multidisciplinary Clinics.

Cathy Carver, PT, ATP/SMS (BS in PT from the University of Mississippi Medical Center 1996, MS in PT from the University of Tennessee 2000) has worked in adult neurorehab for over 20 years primarily at UAB/Spain Rehab Center. She was credentialed as an Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) through RESNA in 2003 and as a Seating and Mobility Specialist (SMS) in 2011. She has worked exclusively in the Wheelchair and Seating Clinic at UAB since 2010 serving adults with various congenital and acquired. She has been teaching wheelchair and seating courses in Alabama since 2007 and has done lectures/labs for PT and OT students in the state. She currently serves on the executive board for the Clinician Task Force that advocates for people with mobility impairments to help improve coverage policies for seating, positioning, and wheeled mobility technologies/services on a national level. She is a medical reviewer for custom wheelchairs for Qualis Health, a company providing services for Alabama Medicaid. She was awarded the Marilyn Gossman Award for Professionalism by the Alabama chapter of APTA in 2018

Heidi Kohake, PT, NCS, ATP (Master's in PT from Saint Louis University 2005) has worked in outpatient neurorehab for 12 years, primarily at the Daniel Drake Center in Cincinnati, OH. During that time she worked primarily with individuals who sustained spinal cord injuries and provided services related to wheelchair seating and positioning. She was the Wheelchair Clinic Coordinator during her time at the Daniel Drake Center. She worked in the UAB/Spain Rehab Center wheelchair clinic from 2016 to 2018. She was credentialed as an Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) through RESNA in 2007 and became a Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy in 2016. She began working as an adjunct instructor for the University of Cincinnati Clermont College PTA Program in 2010 and continues to lecture on Spinal Cord Injury and Wheelchair Seating/Positioning/Skills.  

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