Wheelchair and Seating Program - What To Expect

Care that's unique to your individual needs

Each person's wheelchair and seating needs are individual; therefore the process varies from person to person.

The following is a general outline of the wheelchair/seating process which follows the World Health Organization (2008) guidelines for wheelchair service delivery. The stages in this process, as well as the types of interventions that may occur in each stage, are outlined below.

How you proceed through the stages and the length of time it takes is unique to your individual needs. Many factors influence this process including you, your vendor, the therapist, family, care providers, availability of these people for appointments, transportation availability, availability of equipment to try, manufacturer's timeliness, funding sources, etc. Please note the process takes several months.

Also note that because your process is unique to you, some contents of each stage may vary, or occur in a different stage. You may not require all the stages outlined here or some stages may be combined. If you have any questions, please ask your seating program therapist.


The assessment is scheduled by the program secretary who will contact you approximately 1 month prior to the assessment appointment. The assessment occurs at Parkwood Institute Main Building and usually takes 1 ½ to 2 hours to complete. Please register with the program secretary when you arrive. 

This assessment provides you with the opportunity to discuss your individual wheelchair and seating needs with the Seating Program therapists. There is no fee for the service provided by these therapists.

The assessment is conducted by two Seating Program therapists and is comprised of:

  • A review of your concerns/problems and goals
  • An evaluation of your present wheelchair and/or seating equipment
  • A physical assessment that requires you to transfer onto a raised mat (we have a ceiling track lift)
  • A summary of assessment findings
  • You identifying your choice of vendor
  • The development of a plan with you

Selection and prescription of your wheelchair and seating equipment

Based on the assessment findings, the wheelchair and seating equipment to best meet your seating and mobility needs will be discussed with you and recommendations will be made. These recommendations are reviewed with you and your vendor of choice and the Seating Program therapist at a second appointment where the prescription process is started.

Depending on the needed equipment and circumstances, trying the wheelchair and/or seating equipment may be recommended to help determine how well it will meet your physical and lifestyle needs. This will be arranged with you, the Seating Program therapists and your vendor of choice over one or several more appointments.

Once the details of the wheelchair and/or seating equipment that meet your needs are identified, the therapist and vendor will review the details with you. A prescription document is also completed at this time.

Funding and ordering your wheelchair and/or seating equipment

Funding for your prescribed wheelchair and/or seating equipment needs to be in place before the vendor can order your new equipment. You need to discuss and confirm with your vendor how the equipment costs will be funded/paid for.

The Seating Program therapists are authorizers for the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care's Assistive Devices Program (ADP) (link opens in a new browser window). They will determine if you are eligible for financial assistance for this program.(this is usually completed during the assessment). If you are eligible they assist you in completing the application forms. ADP covers up to 75% of the cost of eligible equipment. If you also receive Ontario Disability Support Program funding (ODSP), then the other 25% of the cost of eligible equipment is covered.

All other funding needs will be your responsibility. The seating program therapists can assist by providing supporting documentation for you to submit to various funding resources, if needed.

The funding process may take a few weeks to a few months depending on the resources used. You need to let your vendor know when you have received the necessary funding for your equipment (except ADP and ODSP) so the equipment can be ordered.

The time frame from placing the order to the equipment arriving varies and is dependent on the availability of the equipment from each of the manufacturers involved. Not all equipment comes from the same manufacturer.

Preparation and fitting of your wheelchair and/or seating equipment

Once the vendor receives all the prescribed equipment, the vendor assembles the equipment. Once assembly is complete an appointment will be scheduled with you, the vendor and the Seating Program therapist to set up, and adjust the equipment to your specific needs as identified in the assessment and prescription document. It may take several appointments to complete the fitting.This is to ensure proper set up of the equipment and provision of custom components to meet your specific needs  

Follow up

The plan for follow up appointments will be discussed towards the end of the fitting process. A follow up appointment allows opportunity to review the set up and fitting of the equipment after it has been used for a few weeks. Follow up is often combined with the fitting process, or may be completed by telephone depending on the circumstances.

For Health Professionals

The Seating Program at Parkwood Institute believes in education as a means to improving all people's access to effective and satisfactory wheelchair and/or seating. To this end, the Seating Program provides various formal and informal educational opportunities for health professionals.

Informal education

The Seating Program at Parkwood Institute is a firm believer in informal education. Informal education occurs through observation, hands on interaction with our therapists and discussion of specific cases and issues. The following informal opportunities are available at this time:

  • Health professionals are welcome to attend the Seating Clinic with their client. Learn about the referral process.
  • Health professionals are also welcome to attend clinics to observe the assessment process. To arrange these please contact the Seating Program at 519 685-4292 ext. 42199.
  • The Seating Program does provide consultation services to community OTs and PTs, provided the client and community therapist come to Parkwood lnstitute.

Formal education

Formal Education usually takes the form of a workshop. Seating Program therapists are actively involved in presenting workshops, in-services or seminars at different venues related to wheelchair and seating. 

Contact the Seating Program for further information.