Wheelchair prescription after spinal cord injury: satisfaction and functional mobility

Nadine Wolf, Lebogang Maseko, Patricia De Witt, Denise Franzsen

Abstract


Introduction: Globally, rehabilitation services aim to address activity limitations and participation restrictions for those with
mobility issues. Therefore, the prescription of wheelchairs is integral to the work of rehabilitation professionals, particularly
occupational therapists. The dearth of research in South Africa necessitated this study into wheelchair prescription,
satisfaction with and the functional mobility in the prescribed wheelchairs for individuals with spinal cord injury.
Method: A cross sectional, descriptive, non-experimental research design was used to collect data from 40 participants
using a demographic questionnaire, the Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with Assistive Technology (QUEST) 2.0
and Wheelchair Users Functional Assessment (WUFA). The data were analysed descriptively to determine the satisfaction
with and the functional mobility in the wheelchair as well as the association between these variables. The influence of
involvement in the prescription of the wheelchair, the type of wheelchair prescribed on satisfaction and the functional
mobility in the wheelchair were also considered.
Results: Of the 40 participants, 34 (85%) were prescribed rigid-frame wheelchairs and only six participants (15%) received
folding frame wheelchairs. Over 87.98% of the participants had a high level of satisfaction with their prescribed wheelchair
and 84.82% reported being functionally mobile in their wheelchairs. High involvement in the prescription of the wheelchair
resulted in higher scores for both satisfaction and functional mobility.
Conclusion: This study concluded that a rigid-frame wheelchair facilitated functional mobility in individuals with SCI
in the South African context. The greater the involvement of participants in the wheelchair prescription process, the
higher their satisfaction with their wheelchair and functional mobility, indicating the importance of client-centeredness
in wheelchair prescription in occupational therapy.

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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