Important wheelchair skills for new manual wheelchair users: health care professional and wheelchair user perspectives

Kerri A. Morgan, Jack R. Engsberg, David B. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this project was to identify wheelchair skills currently being taught to new manual wheelchair users, identify areas of importance for manual wheelchair skills' training during initial rehabilitation, identify similarities and differences between the perspectives of health care professionals and manual wheelchair users and use the ICF to organize themes related to rehabilitation and learning how to use a manual wheelchair. Method: Focus groups were conducted with health care professionals and experienced manual wheelchair users. ICF codes were used to identify focus group themes. Results: The Activities and Participation codes were more frequently used than Structure, Function and Environment codes. Wheelchair skills identified as important for new manual wheelchair users included propulsion techniques, transfers in an out of the wheelchair, providing maintenance to the wheelchair and navigating barriers such as curbs, ramps and rough terrain. Health care professionals and manual wheelchair users identified the need to incorporate the environment (home and community) into the wheelchair training program. Conclusions: Identifying essential components for training the proper propulsion mechanics and wheelchair skills in new manual wheelchair users is an important step in preventing future health and participation restrictions.Implications for Rehabilitation Wheelchair skills are being addressed frequently during rehabilitation at the activity-dependent level. Propulsion techniques, transfers in an out of the wheelchair, providing maintenance to the wheelchair and navigating barriers such as curbs, ramps and rough terrain are important skills to address during wheelchair training. Environment factors (in the home and community) are important to incorporate into wheelchair training to maximize safe and multiple-environmental-setting uses of manual wheelchairs. The ICF has application to understanding manual wheelchair rehabilitation for wheelchair users and therapists for improving the understanding of manual wheelchair use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-38
Number of pages11
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017

Keywords

  • Clinician
  • ICF
  • rehabilitation
  • spinal cord injury
  • wheelchair training

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