Help! I’m in a wheelchair on the 2nd floor with no elevator.

Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Blog | 3 comments

Franck Saragossi, Jolly Transport   May 22nd, 2013

Sue called to schedule a wheelchair transport for her mom to a doctor’s appointment. “But I have a problem” she said. “The apartment is on the second floor and there are no elevator. Can you send an extra person to help bring Mom down the stairs?”

 Many senior communities in South Florida were built in the 1970’s targeting young retirees or people nearing retirement who were eager to move into moderately priced apartments. Walking up one or two flights of stairs was not a major inconvenience. Fast forward twenty or thirty years and this population group now have aged with health challenges and less mobility.  So what are the options?

1. A wheelchair transport company will not risk the patient nor their personnel with possible injury by going down 1 or 2 sets of stairs. Our company’s policy is for the driver to go down or up one stair only.  There is a specialized wheelchair that navigates stairs such as the Ferno EZ Glide but due to their high cost and low frequency of use, they are not widely available. Access2Care, a subsidiary of American Medical Response (AMR), may have these or similar specialized chairs.

Some wheelchair transport may be billed through the transportation benefit available in some health insurance policies. If your health insurance policy has a transportation benefit, please contact us at to determine if we can assist you.

2. Will a non emergency stretcher transport team be able to go down two flights of stairs? Some non emergency medical transport companies provide stretcher service with just one person. For maximum safety to the patient, make sure you deal with a company that has two people doing a non emergency stretcher transport. One of the drivers would have to lift one end of the stretcher above his shoulder to keep the stretcher level – a high risk maneuver for the patient and the drivers that non emergency medical transport companies will not do.

3. Fire Rescue of the city Fire Department will respond to a 911 call but will take the patient to the nearest hospital not to a doctor’s office. Additionally, the patient may end up having to pay for the transport if Medicare denies the claim. Our local Fire Rescue charges $750 to show up and $12/mile.

4. A private ambulance company such as AMR, Medics or American Ambulance can perform the stretcher transport on a private pay basis at a price similar to the Fire Rescue option above.

For Sue in the situation above, a doctor that does house calls may be a short term fix. The permanent solution will require moving mom to a ground floor home.

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One Response to “Help! I’m in a wheelchair on the 2nd floor with no elevator.”

  1. Alan Kraus says:

    We have been using our insurance transport for five years. Today, for the first time, Jolly Transport was our provider. The vehicle, which was actually on-time, was the cleanest we had seen. The driver extremely professional and was waiting for me when I came out of the doctor’s office. That was a total unexpected shock. We hope to see them as our provider in the future instead of some of the others we have had that were no-shows and consistently late.

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