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Original Research: Wheelchair-related topics for less-resourced environments (LREs)

Discriminatory validity of the Aspects of Wheelchair Mobility Test as demonstrated by a comparison of four wheelchair types designed for use in low-resource areas

Karen L. Rispin, Elisa Hamm, Joy Wee

African Journal of Disability; Vol 6 (2017), 11 pages. doi: 10.4102/ajod.v6i0.332

Submitted: 21 October 2016
Published:  08 September 2017

Abstract

Background: Comparative effectiveness research on wheelchairs available in low-resource areas is needed to enable effective use of limited funds. Mobility on commonly encountered rolling environments is a key aspect of function. High variation in capacity among wheelchair users can mask changes in mobility because of wheelchair design. A repeated measures protocol in which the participants use one type of wheelchair and then another minimises the impact of individual variation.
Objectives: The Aspects of Wheelchair Mobility Test (AWMT) was designed to be used in repeated measures studies in low-resource areas. It measures the impact of different wheelchair types on physical performance in commonly encountered rolling environments and provides an opportunity for qualitative and quantitative participant response. This study sought to confirm the ability of the AWMT to discern differences in mobility because of wheelchair design.
Method: Participants were wheelchair users at a boarding school for students with disabilities in a low-resource area. Each participant completed timed tests on measured tracks on rough and smooth surfaces, in tight spaces and over curbs. Four types of wheelchairs designed for use in low-resource areas were included.
Results: The protocol demonstrated the ability to discriminate changes in mobility of individuals because of wheelchair type.
Conclusion: Comparative effectiveness studies with this protocol can enable beneficial change. This is illustrated by design alterations by wheelchair manufacturers in response to results.

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Author affiliations

Karen L. Rispin, Department of Biology, Tourneau University, United States
Elisa Hamm, Kinesiology Department, LeTourneau University, United States
Joy Wee, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queens University, Canada

Keywords

Wheelchairs; outcomes; assistive technology

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ISSN: 2223-9170 (print) | ISSN: 2226-7220 (online)

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