Petito chases trend in wheelchair seating

Friday, October 25, 2013

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – Doctors, discharge planners and patients agree: Wheelchair evaluations are better when they’re done in the home.

“This gives the therapist the opportunity to see the environment and client in a holistic way and maximize the user’s independence,” said Cindi Petito, the founder of Jacksonville, Fla.-based Seating Solutions, a wheelchair evaluation clinic, and Ocean Park, Fla.-based Lottus Designs, a home modifications consulting company. “They can also capture other things, like if the person needs a shower chair or grab bar.”

Petito in August launched Certified Home Accessibility Specialty (CHAS) Group, a network of independent occupational and physical therapists throughout Florida that perform in-home wheelchair evaluations and home safety assessments. Petito plans to eventually fold Lottus into CHAS.

CHAS is currently contracted to conduct evaluations for Univita’s managed care patients, and Petito’s getting her ducks in a row to serve other managed care patients, as well as Medicare and Medicaid patients. 

At press time, CHAS was comprised of 23 OTs and PTs, and Petito is still in the process of recruiting. Part of the process is educating therapists skilled in other areas about mobility—something they’re eager to learn, she said. 

“We’ve had a great response,” Petito said. “(Therapists) recognized there was a need but didn’t know where to start.”