Original Research - Special Collection: Wheelchair-related topics for less-resourced environments

Developing product quality standards for wheelchairs used in less-resourced environments

Anand Mhatre, Daniel Martin, Matt McCambridge, Norman Reese, Mark Sullivan, Don Schoendorfer, Eric Wunderlich, Chris Rushman, Dave Mahilo, Jon Pearlman
African Journal of Disability | Vol 6 | a288 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v6i0.288 | © 2017 Anand Mhatre, Daniel Martin, Matt McCambridge, Norman Reese, Mark Sullivan, Don Schoendorfer, Eric Wunderlich, Chris Rushman, Dave Mahilo, Jon Pearlman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 May 2016 | Published: 08 September 2017

About the author(s)

Anand Mhatre, Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Department of Veterans Affairs, United States; Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, United States; International Society of Wheelchair Professionals, University of Pittsburgh, United States
Daniel Martin, International Society of Wheelchair Professionals, University of Pittsburgh, United States
Matt McCambridge, International Society of Wheelchair Professionals, University of Pittsburgh, United States
Norman Reese, International Society of Wheelchair Professionals, University of Pittsburgh, United States
Mark Sullivan, International Society of Wheelchair Professionals, University of Pittsburgh, United States
Don Schoendorfer, International Society of Wheelchair Professionals, University of Pittsburgh, United States
Eric Wunderlich, International Society of Wheelchair Professionals, University of Pittsburgh, United States
Chris Rushman, International Society of Wheelchair Professionals, University of Pittsburgh, United States
Dave Mahilo, International Society of Wheelchair Professionals, University of Pittsburgh, United States
Jon Pearlman, Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Department of Veterans Affairs, United States; Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, United States; International Society of Wheelchair Professionals, University of Pittsburgh, United States


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Abstract

Background: Premature failures of wheelchairs in less-resourced environments (LREs) may be because of shortcomings in product regulation and quality standards. The standards published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) specify wheelchair tests for durability, safety and performance, but their applicability to products used in the rugged conditions of LREs is unclear. Because of this, wheelchair-related guidelines published by the World Health Organization recommended developing more rigorous durability tests for wheelchairs.
Objectives: This study was performed to identify the additional tests needed for LREs.
Methods: First, a literature review of the development of ISO test standards, wheelchair standards testing studies and wheelchair evaluations in LREs was performed. Second, expert advice from members of the Standards Working Group of the International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP) was compiled and reviewed.
Results: A total of 35 articles were included in the literature review. Participation from LREs was not observed in the ISO standards development. As per wheelchair testing study evidence, wheelchair models delivered in LREs did not meet the minimum standards requirement. Multiple part failures and repairs were observed with reviewed field evaluation studies. ISWP experts noted that several testing factors responsible for premature failures with wheelchair parts are not included in the standards and accordingly provided advice for additional test development.
Conclusion: The study findings indicate the need to develop a wide range of tests, with specific tests for measuring corrosion resistance of the entire wheelchair, rolling resistance of castors and rear wheels, and durability of whole wheelchair and castor assemblies.

Keywords

International Society of Wheelchair Professionals; less-resourced environments; literature review; wheelchairs; wheelchair standards; wheelchair testing; World Health Organization

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