If you are having issues with mobility and need assistance walking, your health care provider may suggest that you use a quad cane. Quad canes are canes that offer more stability than standard canes because the base has four rubber-capped feet instead of one.
Most quad canes are light weight and adjustable making them easy to use in a variety of instances. Many people use a quad cane for extra support when walking has been affected by injury, illness, long periods of immobilization, or conditions like arthritis. Your physical therapist can help you learn to use a quad cane during therapy sessions. This ensures that you know how to use it, and that you are using the appropriate type of quad cane to suit your needs.
If you have an Original Medicare Part B (medical insurance) plan, or a Medicare Advantage (Part C) policy, you may have coverage for a quad cane. Here is a look at how Medicare covers this sort of equipment and what restrictions there may be regarding your coverage.
Does Medicare Cover Quad Canes?
Quad canes are covered under Medicare Part B (medical insurance) as durable medical equipment. In order to be eligible for coverage, your Medicare-approved health care provider must first certify through written documentation that the quad cane is medically necessary for you. The equipment is meant to be used only by you, in your home.
If the above requirements are met, Medicare pays for 80 percent of the Medicare-approved cost, and you are responsible for the remaining 20 percent. You are also responsible for your Part B deductible which is $185.00 in 2019. Before acquiring a quad cane, ensure that the supplier participates in Medicare assignment, so you get payment from Medicare.
Which Quad Cane is Right for You?
Quad canes are available with either a narrow base, or a wide base. Which one you need depends on your strength, balance, and possible limitations. You should seek the advice of your physician or physical therapist before you obtain one, so you get the right type for your needs.
Generally, people who have significant limitations use a cane with a wide base. For less severe limitations, a narrow-based cane may be sufficient.
While many models of canes are adjustable in height, if you find a type that is not, be sure to get the correct size. Measure the quad cane next to you as you are standing. The top of the cane’s handle should reach the level of your wrist when your arm is at your side. Also make sure that your elbow is slightly bent when you are gripping the handle of the cane while using it.
Your doctor or physical therapist can assist you while you are getting used to walking with your quad cane. These are the steps you should take to use your cane comfortably and safely:
1. Hold the quad cane in the hand that is opposite your weaker leg.
2. Move the quad cane forward one arm’s length and ensure that all four base legs are touching the ground.
3. Make one step forward using your weaker leg first.
4. Press down gently on the cane’s handle for stability and move your other leg until it is just slightly past your first foot. Then keep moving by repeating the steps.
How Much Does a Quad Cane Cost?
Depending on where you live and who your supplier is, quad canes range in price between $15.00 and $25.00 for a narrow-based cane, and $35.00 and $40.00 for a broad-based cane.
For many people, using a quad cane is temporary. If you gain strength, balance, and mobility, you may be able to stop using yours. Your physical therapist or physician may recommend that you use a standard cane as a transition before you begin walking on your own again.