They’re veterans, accident survivors and those living with extended illnesses. They’re your neighbor, community member or maybe even friend or family member. They all have one thing in common: they use CRT wheelchairs.
At the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology, we fight to stop Medicare cuts to these medically-necessary devices. For today’s blog, we’re going to look at the different types of people who use complex rehabilitation technology:
Those living with Multiple Sclerosis
This disease occurs when the immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers, resulting in a breakdown of communication between the brain and the rest of the body. The symptoms for some individuals living with multiple sclerosis can be severe, and many rely on daily caretakers. Were it not for their wheelchairs, they would lose to ability to perform many daily tasks and functions, relying completely on the actions of others for almost everything.
A bullet that shatters a spine, a roadside bomb that leaves head injuries, a firefight that destroys limbs… the number of different injuries a soldier can return with are numerous. It’s estimated that between the years 2002 to 2012, approximately 253,330 soldiers returned home with traumatic brain injuries. Some of those veterans need CRT wheelchairs as a result of those head injuries. In the Iraq War alone, close to 1,000 soldiers lost limbs during the fight.
Most people are familiar with Christopher Reeve, the actor who played in many Superman movies. He required the use of a CRT wheelchair after he was thrown from a horse and injured. He later became an advocate for those with disabilities. Many people are injured in similar ways every day, most notably during automobile accidents, and also require the use of CRT wheelchair as a result.
There are numerous other conditions that can lead to someone needing a CRT wheelchair. The accessories that may be cut from Medicare coverage include things such as controls and custom seating. Without controls, many wheelchair users would not be able to get around, and without custom seating, many would deal with sores and pain in their backs.