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Permobil Blog / September 6, 2018

Group 4 Power Wheelchairs


Part 18 in our series A to Z Considerations for Seating & Wheeled Mobility: A Quick Reference Clarifying Confusion Around CRT. See Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12Part 13Part 14Part 15Part 16Part 17Part 18, and Part 19.


So, what is a Group 4 power wheelchair?


Meets all of the basic power wheelchair criteria and:

Additional Medicare requirements:

  • The client requires the improved suspension to minimize pain and/or triggers of spasticity when driving over a variety of terrains and obstacles
  • The client requires the stable base to safely use maximum amounts of seat elevate and standing

What’s different than a Group 3? 

  • Group 4 bases are designed for stability to accommodate greater amounts of anterior tilt, seat elevation, and standing
  • Group 4 suspension is designed for multiple terrains and can decrease the transmission of bumps and vibration to the person in the wheelchair
  • Group 4 bases typically have a higher speed motor package

Certainly, there are clients who need the standing function for medical and functional reasons. See the lists below.

Medical Benefits

Functional Benefits

  • Spasticity control
  • Pain reduction
  • Urinary/bowel improvement
  • Range of motion improvement
  • Respiratory improvement
  • Pressure management
  • Increased independence with toileting
  • Increased independence with meal prep
  • Increased independence with self-care
  • Increased efficiency to perform daily activities by performing pressure relief in a functional standing position


There are ways to get the funding for Group 4 power wheelchairs when you determine that it is necessary for your client’s optimal independence and function. Permobil offers a unique option on Group 3 chairs in which the ATP can select the Group 3 to Group 4 upgrade in one line item. This allows the opportunity to streamline the submittal and allow a traditional funding source to deny the group 4 base upgrade only and not the entire chair. This then allows the consumer to pay for the upgrade line cost themselves or allows the dealer to submit that denied portion to a secondary funding with different standards like a vocational rehab funding source or a trust, etc. In many cases this gives the client a path to a better chair while getting the most out of their primary funding source. Check out the alternative funding resources to explore ways to help you access today's technology.



Imagine having a spinal cord injury and not being able to stand beside your spouse on your wedding day? Or, not being able to look your loved ones in the eye? Imagine being told you would NEVER stand again…and then being able to do that via your power wheelchair? Think of not only the PHYSICAL benefits but also the PSYCHOLOGICAL and EMOTIONAL benefits.

Now that you have a clearer understanding of all of the available options for adult power bases, there is one more power chair that we need to discuss: the Group 5, which is pediatric power wheelchair. Join me next week for a brief discussion of pediatric power wheelchair options!




Lindsey Sharpe, PT, DPT
Lindsey Sharpe graduated with a BA in Exercise and Sport Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007 and with her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Elon University in 2010. Lindsey was a practicing clinician for seven years primarily focusing on neurological conditions and wheelchair seating and positioning.

Lindsey was first introduced to wheelchair seating and positioning during her time on the spinal cord injury team at the University of Virginia's acute rehab hospital where she discovered her interest in and passion for this niche in the therapy world. Lindsey went on to open a brand-new seating clinic with Carolinas Healthcare System in Concord, NC where she advanced her knowledge and skills performing both inpatient and outpatient seating evaluations for clients of all ages having a variety of diagnoses.

Categories: Complex Rehab, Power

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