1887

oa African Journal of Disability - Exploring the impact of wheelchair design on user function in a rural South African setting : original research

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2223-9170
  • E-ISSN: 2226-7220

 

Abstract

Wheelchairs provide mobility that can enhance function and community integration. Function in a wheelchair is influenced by wheelchair design.


To explore the impact of wheelchair design on user function and the variables that guided wheelchair prescription in the study setting.
A mixed-method, descriptive design using convenience sampling was implemented. Quantitative data were collected from 30 wheelchair users using the functioning every day with a Wheelchair Scale and a Wheelchair Specification Checklist. Qualitative data were collected from ten therapists who prescribed wheelchairs to these users, through interviews. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to identify relationships, and content analysis was undertaken to identify emerging themes in qualitative data.
Wheelchairs with urban designs were issued to 25 (83%) participants. Wheelchair size, fit, support and functional features created challenges concerning transport, operating the wheelchair, performing personal tasks, and indoor and outdoor mobility. Users using wheelchairs designed for use in semi-rural environments achieved significantly better scores regarding the appropriateness of the prescribed wheelchair than those using wheelchairs designed for urban use ( = <0.01). Therapists prescribed the basic, four-wheel folding frame design most often because of a lack of funding, lack of assessment, lack of skills and user choice.
Issuing urban type wheelchairs to users living in rural settings might have a negative effect on users' functional outcomes. Comprehensive assessments, further training and research, on long term cost and quality of life implications, regarding provision of a suitable wheelchair versus a cheaper less suitable option is recommended.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/ajdis/4/1/EJC172825
2015-01-01
2020-11-28

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error