Geri Chairs are lesser known but deserve special attention in the home care setting and care facilities as they can be a lifesaver for caregivers and loved ones alike. Basically a geri-chair is a comfortable mobile padded recliner seat on 4 small wheels that allows caregivers to push seated patients throughout the house. Enhancing patient comfort and reducing caregiver strain due to frequent and difficult patient transfers are huge benefits. Geri-chairs further assist their users by enabling them to recline for naps and provide a convenient tray for meals.
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 lift chair up front and then fill out a claim to Medicare for reimbursement. Reimbursement may be made for a purchase of medically necessary lift chairs 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 lift chair 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 in a lift chair 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.