Pediatric powered wheelchairs: results of a national survey of providers.

Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technology for Children With Orthopedic Disabilities, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, Downey, California, USA.
Assistive technology: the official journal of RESNA (Impact Factor: 0.51). 02/2005; 17(2):144-58. DOI: 10.1080/10400435.2005.10132104
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A national survey of providers of pediatric powered wheelchairs was conducted to collect background data on these professionals and to develop a "model" of their current assessment and recommendation practices. Data collected in the survey included provider demographics, frequency of powered wheelchair provision to young children, common reasons for not recommending a powered wheelchair, reasons why a child who is recommended a powered wheelchair does not receive one, current pediatric powered wheelchair assessment and recommendation practices, and subjective data regarding the efficacy of these practices and the impact of powered wheelchairs on children. Respondents rated the frequency with which they performed various wheelchair assessment and recommendation practices, and these ratings were analyzed to determine activities that were performed frequently. These activities were then combined into common "factors" using factor analysis, and the results of the factor analysis were used to create a model of current pediatric powered wheelchair assessment and recommendation practices. A total of 140 surveys were received from providers in 46 states. Of these providers, 54% were clinicians (e.g., physical therapists, occupational therapists), and 46% were suppliers (e.g., Rehabilitation Technology Specialists), representing a variety of geographic locations and facility types. The 3 major reasons for not recommending a powered wheelchair included cognitive, physical, and behavioral factors. The 3 major reasons why a child who is recommended a powered wheelchair does not receive one included funding issues, lack of family support, and transportation issues. The model of current pediatric powered wheelchair provision includes 4 assessment factors: Preliminary Clinical Assessment, Intake, Advanced Clinical Assessment, and Consideration of Other Factors. Typical recommendations include both therapeutic and nonclinical interventions. A modified version of this model, which addresses some issues identified in the survey that limit wheelchair recommendations, is currently being tested at 4 clinical sites.

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