Electric Mobility Aids

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Electric Mobility Aids (Electric Scooters, Wheelchairs, Power Assist Devices and Carer Operated Wheelchair Power Pack)

RAP Schedule no.

AP05 (Electric Scooter)

AP16 (Electric Wheelchair)

AP25 (Manual Wheelchair – Power Assist Device)

AP26 (Manual Wheelchair – Carer Operated Power Pack)

 (refer to RAP Schedule)

Definition

An electric scooter is defined by DVA as an electrically powered device with four wheels intended for use by persons with impaired outdoor mobility.

An electric wheelchair (EWC) is defined as an electrically powered wheelchair intended for use by persons with significantly impaired indoor and/or outdoor mobility.

A power assist device is defined as a motorised device that attaches to a manual wheelchair to assist the user with self- propulsion.

A carer operated wheelchair power pack is defined as a motorised device that attaches to a manual wheelchair to assist a carer to propel the wheelchair via controls mounted on the push handle.

Note:

  • Portable (pull apart or automatic folding/collapsible) travel electric scooters and wheelchairs are not supplied by DVA due to safety concerns regarding stability and manual handling.

Eligibility

Electric mobility aids are provided to veterans who have an assessed clinical need and hold a:

  • DVA Gold Card – for all conditions
  • DVA White Card – clinical need must align with the accepted condition/s

Note: War widows/widowers and dependants are eligible for carer operated wheelchair power packs only.

War widows/ers or dependents are not eligible for electric wheelchairs, electric scooters and power assist devices.

For clients living in a Residential Aged Care Facility (RACF): Please refer to the RAP in Residential Aged Care List to determine items available to residents of aged care facilities.  Please obtain consent from the RACF management, as electric mobility aids may be considered a safety issue for other residents of the facility.  Electric mobility aids issued under the RAP National Schedule of Equipment prior to permanent entrance into RACF care may be retained subject to approval of the RACF.

Prescribing

Suitably qualified health provider

Electric mobility aids must be prescribed by a suitable assessing health provider.

Initially requested by a General Practitioner or Local Medical Officer (GP/LMO).

The assessment and trial of electric mobility aids must be conducted by an Occupational Therapist (OT).

Prior approval

Prior approval is required for all electric mobility aids.

The prior approval process for electric mobility aids is a three-step process.

DVA must approve each step before the next step can proceed.

  1. Initial request - completed by a GP/LMO.
  2. Assessment – conducted by the OT with the client or carer.
  3. Trial - an OT conducts a trial of the electric mobility aids with the client.
Request for non-contracted aids will require a compelling clinical rationale and comparisons following trials as to why the contracted aids are not suitable for the client’s clinical need.

Deciding on the most appropriate item

DVA only funds one electric mobility aid per person. Additional electric mobility aids will be only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

A suitably qualified and experienced health provider must determine the need. The client must:

  • have a severe and permanent mobility impairment as assessed by an appropriately qualified health provider.
  • have the capacity to derive significant improvement in their functional independence through the use of an electric mobility aid.
  • have sufficient skills and competencies to operate the electric mobility aid (EWC, electric scooter or power assist device) in a manner safe to themselves and others.
  • in the case of an EWC or power assist device, be unable to propel a manual wheelchair.
  • not have reasonable access to viable alternative forms of transport.
  • be able to meet their responsibilities to transport, maintain, store and use the electric mobility aid safely and correctly.

Electric wheelchair or an electric scooter

If the assessing health provider believes that a EWC rather than a scooter will be required within six months of the assessment, then a EWC should be provided in the first instance.

Power assist devices should be provided only when a scooter or EWC is not a safer, more appropriate option. 

Power-assist devices are only to be fitted to manual wheelchairs that conform to Australian Standards, and have a manufacturer’s endorsement stipulating compatibility.

Carer operated wheelchair power packs should only be provided where the carer is not able to propel a manual wheelchair, and the DVA client is unable to independently and safely operate a EWC, scooter or manual wheelchair with power assist device.

In this case, the carer must have sufficient skill and competencies to operate the device in a safe manner.

Limitations of use

In certain circumstances, the GP/LMO or occupational therapist may recommend that the use of an electric mobility aid (EWC, electric scooter or power-assist device) be limited.

Limitations may include:

  • the electric mobility aid is only to be used during daylight hours.
  • the electric mobility aid is only to be used outside peak hour traffic.
  • the electric mobility aid is not to be used after consuming certain prescribed medication, drugs or alcohol as this may impact on the client’s capacity to operate an electric mobility aid.
Request for item
  1. Initial request

The initial request for all electric mobility aids must be submitted by the client’s GP/LMO on the D9300 Electric Mobility Aids Part 1 - Medical Information Form and email it to RAPGeneralEnquiries [at] dva.gov.au.

Note: The client’s visual acuity is required and the request will not progress if this form is provided without this information.

  1. Assessment

Once the initial request is approved by DVA, the OT will be notified by DVA to complete and submit the assessment section of the form with the client or carer (in requests for carer operated wheelchair power pack) D1325 Electric Mobility Aids Part 2 - Assessment Form.

and forward this with any other supporting documentation to RAPGeneralEnquiries [at] dva.gov.au.

  1. Trial

Once the assessment section has been approved by DVA, the OT will be notified to undertake the trial with the client and complete the trial section of the D9379 Electric Mobility Aids Part 3 - Trial Form.

This is to be forwarded to DVA with any other supporting documentation including if ancillary equipment such as a helmet is needed to RAPGeneralEnquiries [at] dva.gov.au.

Additional information

Ancillary equipment

AP14 (Mobility Appliances – Consumables and Accessories)

Safety Helmet – Safety helmets are strongly recommended for all clients with an electric mobility aid. The fitting of a suitable safety helmet for the client should be completed during trial assessments, and a recommendation for a suitable safety helmet should accompany the recommendation.

Additional items, as appropriate must be prescribed by a suitably qualified health provider at the same time as prescribing the electric mobility aid. Some examples include:

  • Flag
  • Walking stick holder
  • Carry bag
  • Extra mirror
  • Oxygen holder

DVA does not provide or fund for electric mobility aids for:

  • vehicle trailers.
  • disability access vehicle.
  • car modifications e.g. hoists (DVA funds hoists for manual wheelchairs only).
  • ramps for access to a home, vehicle or storage facilities.

In exceptional circumstances, such as if a client is fully dependent on a wheelchair for mobility, DVA will consider ramps to access their home.

Ongoing Repairs and maintenance

A warranty period of 12 months applies to all electric mobility aids through the DVA contracted supplier. Products may have a longer warranty period provided by the manufacturer.

Repairs and maintenance (AP21- Mobility Appliances – Maintenance and Repair) after the 12 months can be arranged through the DVA contacted supplier who will obtain DVA approval if required.

Batteries for electric mobility aids (AP14 – Mobility Appliances- Consumables and Accessories) can be arranged by the client through the DVA contracted supplier.

Insurance

DVA does not fund relevant insurances for electric mobility aids. DVA strongly recommends that the client arranges relevant insurances to protect their own personal safety, the safety of others, the value of the electric mobility aid, and any out of pocket expenses that may be associated with legal liability whilst operating the electric mobility aid.

The client is strongly encouraged to organise relevant insurances which may include:

  • third party insurance.
  • comprehensive insurance.,
  • personal injury insurance.

Registration

Some States have mandatory registration of electric mobility aids which may include a level of insurance – clients need to check with their state or territory transport authority.

Hired electric mobility aids

Some electric mobility aids are hired for an initial 12 month period and during this time the item remains the property of the RAP contracted supplier. If the client no longer requires the item within the first 12 months, the item must be returned to the contracted supplier.

After the 12 month hire period – purchase period has elapsed, the item is paid for, the family may take over ownership of the item, or if the item is not wanted, it can be returned to the contracted RAP supplier.

Australian Standards and legislative requirements

Prescribed electric mobility aids must conform to Australian Standards AS3695 and AS/NZS3696. The Standards covers manual wheelchairs with add-on power assisted devices used for propulsion.

Power assist devices and accessories must only be used on compatible aids and must conform with Australian Standards and manufacturer’s recommendations.

Assessing health providers should ensure items comply with the relevant state or territory transport authority.  DVA will only provide electric mobility aids that meet legislative requirements, including state or territory laws.  There is variation between states and territories in what can be legally prescribed, e.g. maximum limits for the weight of electric mobility aids.

Use of medications (prescription and over the counter), alcohol, medicinal cannabis and illicit drugs

Clients must adhere to the relevant state and territory legislation including the use of alcohol, medications (prescribed or over the counter) and illicit drugs whilst operating electric mobility devices.

Notifications following the approval of the item

The GP/LMO

The GP/LMO must be satisfied that the client is competent and will be safe to use the electric mobility aid.

The OT

The OT must be satisfied that the client is competent and will be safe during the use of the electric mobility aid.

The OT must also agree to schedule in regular reassessments (i.e. annual) with the client to review their ability to safely operate the electric mobility aid.

The OT is to notify the client’s GP/LMO if there is a change in the client’s ability to use the electric mobility aid.

The Client

The client is required to transport, maintain, store and use the electric mobility aid correctly. The client is required to:

  • be the sole user.
  • use the electric mobility aid safely, and solely for the purpose for which it was designed.
  • use the electric mobility aid in accordance with any relevant State and Territory laws including road and traffic regulations, including the use of alcohol, medications (prescribed or over the counter) and illicit drugs whilst operating electric mobility devices.
  • wear a safety helmet(if prescribed) when operating an electric mobility aid.
  • keep the electric mobility aid in safe working order.
  • store the device in a fully enclosed, waterproof and lockable area.
  • not undertake or attempt to undertake any repairs to the electric mobility.
  • not lend, sell, modify, damage, destroy or otherwise dispose of the electric mobility aid.

The client is required to sign an agreement to undergo regular assessments with an OT and agree with any determination made by the OT. If an incident or accident occurs, the client needs to agree to reassessment.

The client is to report any changes in their medical condition that may affect their capacity to safely operate the electric mobility aid to their GP/LMO or OT.
Health Provider Hotline

1800 550 457

Health Providers can contact DVA for any enquiries by calling the Provider Hotline: (Please press Option 1 when prompted for RAP).

 

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