Choosing A Lift Chair

For some people, getting up from a sitting position can be quite a chore. Lift chairs help in this regard. In today’s modern world lift chairs offer those who have difficulty sitting down and getting up from sitting the opportunity to live normal lives even with their disability.

There are many reasons why people have difficulty getting into and out of a sitting position. Some suffer from arthritis, and getting up from a sitting position is all but impossible for them. Many of those who are advanced in age show signs of muscle weakening and difficulty in moving about. This is to be expected as people age. However, without assistance, life for these people becomes extremely inconvenient and, at time, embarrassing.

To help make their lives easier, lift chairs were invented. Lift chairs are furnitures that make getting into and out of a sitting position easier. They are made of usual couch material and may look like a normal couch. They, however, have built in motors that change the position of the seat that helps the user as he moves to stand up. The contraption is activated by buttons on the seat or on a remote control. When the user wants to sit down, all he or she has to do is lean weight on the seat. This triggers a mechanism that lowers the user into sitting position. The mechanism of these chairs prevents users from flopping down unceremoniously on the couch. It provides stability and support for the sitting and standing movement.

There are many reasons why one would want to use a lift chair. As mentioned earlier, one of the reasons one would want to use lift chairs is arthritis. Other diseases include Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s and other mobility limiting conditions.

People who suffer from other conditions such as knee and hip problems also need lift chairs – as do people who have had accidents, muscular weakness, or even advanced age. For these people lift chairs present the best way to continue living a functional life. They will also be less dependent on other people to get around their homes.

Lift chairs also help caregivers. Instead of having to carry their patients in and out of their chairs, their patients can now be assisted by automatic lift chairs. This helps them avoid getting fatigued and sore from carrying their patients.

Lift chairs come in different styles, colors and functionalities – and yes prices. At first sight, lift chairs will resemble normal upholstered chairs. They look like your typical sofa, recliner, or chair. Some even double as beds. If you are to buy such furniture, make sure you choose one that fits the needs of its user. If he or she is more comfortable with a recliner or chair, then by all means consider that style for him or her.

You should also consider the fabric for the lift chair you wish to purchase. Some patients have sensitive skin conditions. You should take this into consideration when choosing a lift chair. Leather might irritate some, while some might be irritated by fur. A good knowledge of your patient will assist your decision.

You should also consider the size and height of the chair. Its dimensions should match the needs of its user. When shopping for a lift chair, it is important to consider the size and height of the individual who will be using the chair. If it is too small the chair will be uncomfortable for the user. If it is too large, the user might feel the same way.

Consider also the weight of the user. Lift chairs can carry large loads but you must make sure the brand you choose can handle the weight of its user.

Lift chairs are usually plugged into your typical electric outlet. There are versions, however, that can operate on battery packs. This makes them convenient even in the event of a power black out.

There are also brands that have massage units and heating implements. If your patient needs these features, you can have them installed too.

Will Medicare Cover My Lift Chair?

This is often the first question that is asked when shopping for a lift chair. Medicare will no longer reimburse the entire cost of the lift chair but it will pay for the cost of the lifting mechanism. Under Medicare, the lift mechanism is considered durable medical equipment (DME) which is covered if your doctor prescribes it for use in your home. The total amount of reimbursement can vary from state to state, but it is usually around $300.

You will have to pay for the chair up front and then fill out a claim to Medicare for reimbursement. Reimbursement may be made for a purchase of medically necessary lift recliners but the patient must suffer from severe arthritis of the hip or knee, muscular dystrophy or from other neuromuscular diseases. Medicare policy states that the it must be included in the physician’s course of treatment, that it is likely to effect improvement, or that it may arrest or retard deterioration in the patient’s condition.

Additionally, the coverage of the lift mechanism of the recliner is limited to those types which operate smoothly, can be controlled by the patient, and effectively assist a patient in standing up and sitting down without other assistance. There is a type of lift that is operated by a spring release mechanism that is not covered by Medicare because of its sudden, catapult-like motion.

How To File for Reimbursement

It’s actually a fairly simple process. You will need 3 things to file.

  • A CMN (Certificate of Medical Necessity)
  • A bill of sale
  • A doctor’s prescription for a lift chair recliner and your doctor’s signature on the CMN.

Most distributors will provide the CMN straight from their website or through the mail and will also provide you with the bill of sale after purchase. There are 5 questions your doctor will need to answer on the CMN.

1. Does patient have severe arthritis of the hip or knees?

2. Does patient have a severe neuromuscular disease?

3. Is the patient completely incapable of standing up from a regular armchair or any chair in his/her home?

4. Once standing, does the patient have the ability to ambulate (walk or move about)?

5. Have all appropriate therapeutic modalities to enable the patient to transfer from a chair to a standing position (e.g., medication, physical therapy) been tried and failed? If YES, this is documented in the patient’s medical records.

Once your doctor has completed and signed the CMN, you must then mail it with a copy of your prescription for the lift chair to your Medicare regional claims office. If you are approved, a reimbursement check will be mailed back to you.