Everything you need to know about Group 3 Power Wheelchairs

What you Need to Know About Group 3 Power Wheelchairs

 

Power wheelchairs have different group classifications depending on their capabilities and features. Whether you should choose a group two or three wheelchair depends on your condition and what you are looking for in a power wheelchair. Some power wheelchairs are designed for typical everyday use, while others are better for use at higher speeds or on rough terrain.

When deciding which group of power wheelchair would suit your needs, you’ll want to consider your diagnosis, weight, and ease of transportation or mobility.

This article will tell you everything you need to know about group 3 power wheelchairs. We’ll look at the common diagnoses and the requirements for a group 3 wheelchair. We’ll also compare group 2 and 3 wheelchairs and tell you what makes a group 3 chair different from a group 2 wheelchair.

 

Common Diagnoses for Group 3 Power WheelchairImage EC Mid Wheel Drive Power Wheelchair, 18" Seat

 

Group 3 power wheelchairs have been specifically designed to meet the needs of severely disabled patients.

Patients who have been diagnosed with conditions such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, or late stage Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis would require a group 3 power wheelchair.

They are also used for people who have suffered from a stroke, which has left them paralyzed or from a spinal cord injury resulting in quadriplegia.

 

 What makes a Group 3 power wheelchair different from a Group 2 chair?

 

Group 2 and Group 3 power wheelchairs have been designed to function differently. Their design and engineering have been created to meet the needs of different types of patients.  There are many other differences between these two wheelchairs, which relate to their performance and are less noticeable. For example, there are differences in speed, suspension, battery range, and capabilities.

 

Seating

 

One of the first differences you’ll notice about these two types of chairs is the seating.

Group 2 wheelchairs have a captain style of seating, whereas group 3 chairs are equipped with rehab seating.

 

Speed

 

The top speed for a Group 2 wheelchair is three mph, which is the equivalent to walking speed. In contrast, a group 3 wheelchair can reach speeds of 4.5 mph, which is more like walking at a brisk pace. Group 3 power wheelchair users won’t use the top speed all the time, but it is good to have for occasions when they would like to be able to move slightly faster.

 

Battery RangePower wheelchair battery

 

The battery range also varies between groups. A Group 2 power chair can travel seven miles between charges, whereas a Group 3 has the ability to travel the slightly longer distance of twelve miles.

 

Suspension

 

The suspension is one of the main things that separate these two groups of wheelchairs. It’s a requirement to have a suspension on Group 3 wheelchairs. On group 2 chairs, this isn’t a requirement.

 

Terrains

 

Group3 wheelchairs offer the user greater performance and the ability to climb slopes. They also work well on a variety of terrains. A Group 2 wheelchair can handle obstacles and climb onto sidewalks up to 1.5 inches. They can also handle inclines of up to 6°.

Group 3 wheelchairs can climb over higher obstacles up to two inches in height. They can also handle steeper inclines of up to 7.5° with ease. The two different classifications of chairs have been designed with different users in mind, and these differences relate directly to the patient’s needs.

 

Performance

 

Group 3 power wheelchairs have better driving performance; they have a more exceptional climbing ability and can also climb over obstacles. The driving range is also greater, and this helps users to achieve more independence. Group 3 wheelchairs generally require more research, while being designed and greater product development and engineering. These things all help the wheelchair meet the needs of users and achieve higher performance than group 2 chairs.

 

ElectronicsSwingaway Controller Arm For use with Wildcat Power Wheelchairs

 

There are also differences in the wheelchair’s electronics. Group 2 wheelchairs have been designed for basic use. Users can simply sit in their wheelchair and drive; these types of chairs have non-expandable electronics. In contrast, Group 3 wheelchairs are more evolved and allow the user to have greater control. There may be specialty controls or attendant controls, which are known as expandable electronics.

 

 Group 3 Power Wheelchair Requirements

 

There are a few requirements that suppliers of group 3 wheelchairs must adhere to. To get a group 3 power wheelchair, you’ll require a doctor’s written letter and a face-to-face mobility examination.

Doctors are required to document the mobility examination in a detailed manner. The doctor’s note must clearly state that there’s a significant reason that the patient needs a group 3 wheelchair rather than a group 2 chair.

A home assessment will also need to be carried out to ensure that the patient can use the wheelchair at home effectively. To be eligible for a group 3 electric wheelchair, you’ll need to have severe physical disabilities due to either a neurological condition or muscle weakness or skeletal deformity.

Group 3 wheelchairs are reserved for people who require a driver control interface other than a joystick that’s operated by hand. Group 3 wheelchairs can be controlled in various ways to meet the user’s needs and include head control, switch control, or controlled using the sip and puff method.

 

Does Medicare Pay for Group 3 Power Wheelchairs?

Absolutely.  People on who are over 65 qualify for Medicare.  If you have one of the disabilities named above or your doctor or therapist has recommended a power wheelchair than you may qualify for a Group 3 power wheelchair.  Reach out to our office staff to check the requirements to get the process started.

 

What qualifies you for a Group 3 wheelchair?

You need a neurological diagnosis and meet the Medicare coverage criteria for a power wheelchair

Will Insurance pay for your Group 3?

Yes they will if you meet the Medicare coverage criteria and have an evaluation completed by a therapist specializing in seating and power mobility

What features do Group 3 wheelchairs have?

Modular seat frame to accommodate different body dimensions, can add modular seating, can add power seat functions such as tilt, recline, elevate, power foot platform,  power leg rests and specialty controls through expandable electronics

What makes a group 3 different than a Group 2?

Group 2 does not have expandable electronics for specialty controls

What is the process for getting a group 3?

You need a seating clinic evaluation by a therapist who can prescribe the equipment

Is there maintenance required on a group 3?

No maintenance is required other than replacing the battery when it dies, just like in your automobile.

 

Conclusion

 

As you can see, there are many differences between group 2 and group 3 wheelchairs. These chairs have been designed with different types of users in mind.

Group 3 chairs specifically meet people’s needs with less mobility; they can go at faster top speeds and have a more extended battery range. This helps the user enjoy a higher degree of independence; then they would if they had a group 2 wheelchair. Users may also require a power tilt mechanism which will recline the wheelchairs seating system. Other medical equipment can be attached to group 3 wheelchairs, such as a ventilator.

Group 3 wheelchairs can also be controlled in several different ways, and this is customizable to meet the user’s needs. If the user has limited movement in their hands, a group 3 wheelchair can be controlled using the head or by a sip and puff method.

 

 

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