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


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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    • "This demonstrates that a process of adjustment is required. 23% (of n = 140) of wheelchair clinicians and suppliers felt that a lack of family support limited wheelchair provision [33]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Wheelchairs for disabled children (≤18 years) can provide health, developmental and social benefits. World Health Organisation and United Kingdom Government reports demonstrate the need for improved access to wheelchairs both locally and internationally. The use of health economics within this field is lacking. Provision of wheelchairs based on cost-effectiveness evidence is not currently possible. We conducted the first systematic review in this field to incorporate evidence of effectiveness, service user perspectives, policy intentions and cost-effectiveness in order to develop a conceptual framework to inform future research and service development. Methods We used an adapted EPPI-Centre mixed-method systematic review design with narrative summary, thematic and narrative synthesis. 11 databases were searched. Studies were appraised for quality using one of seven appropriate tools. A conceptual framework was developed from synthesised evidence. Results 22 studies and 14 policies/guidelines were included. Powered wheelchairs appear to offer benefits in reduced need for caregiver assistance; improved communicative, personal-social and cognitive development; and improved mobility function and independent movement. From 14 months of age children can learn some degree of powered wheelchair driving competence. However, effectiveness evidence was limited and low quality. Children and parents placed emphasis on improving social skill and independence. Participation in wider society and development of meaningful relationships were key desired outcomes. Policy intentions and aspirations are in line with the perspectives of children and parents, although translation of policy recommendations into practice is lacking. Conclusions There is a distinct lack of high quality effectiveness and economic evidence in this field. Social and health needs should be seen as equally important when assessing the mobility needs of disabled children. Disabled children and parents placed highest priority on independence and psychosocial outcomes of wheelchair interventions. Translation of policy and guidelines into practice is lacking and more effective implementation strategies are required to improve services and outcomes. Future research should focus on outcome measure development, developing economic evaluation tools and incorporating these into high quality studies to address known research gaps. The novel conceptual framework maps current gaps in evidence and outlines areas for development.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · BMC Health Services Research
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    • "In a national survey of pediatric powered mobility providers, " lack of family support " was reported as a major reason in which children who were recommended a powered wheelchair did not receive one (Guerette, Tefft, & Furumasu, 2005). Issues relating to the wheelchair itself may cause parental concern. "
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    ABSTRACT: Powered mobility has been found to have positive effects on young children with severe physical disabilities, but the impact on the family has been less well documented. We evaluated the impact of early powered mobility on parental stress, negative emotions, perceived social interactions, and parental satisfaction with wheelchair characteristics such as size and durability. The participants were parents of 23 children with disabilities-10 with orthopedic disabilities (average age 30.1 months) and 13 with cerebral palsy (average age 47.0 months). Pretest assessments were completed two times: at initial wheelchair evaluation and at wheelchair delivery. A posttest assessment was completed after each child had used the wheelchair for 4-6 months. Parents reported a lower perceived level of stress at the time of wheelchair delivery, although the magnitude of this effect was fairly small, standardized mean difference (δ) = .27. They also reported an increased satisfaction with their child's social and play skills (δ = .38), ability to go where desired (δ = .86), sleep/wake pattern (δ = .61), and belief that the general public accepts their child (δ = .39) after several months using the wheelchair. Parents reported an increase in interactions within the family at the time of wheelchair delivery (δ = .66). There was no decrease in negative emotions. Parents were satisfied with most factors relating to the wheelchair itself, with areas of concern being wheelchair size and difficulty adjusting the wheelchair. The findings suggest that self-initiated powered mobility for a young child had a positive impact on the family.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2010 · Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Power mobility is a critical assistive technology for many children with special needs. Our previous work suggests that certain infants younger than the age 1 year of age can participate in formal power mobility training. KEY POINTS: This case report describes the feasibility of providing a power mobility training program with a young infant with spina bifida. Specifically, we longitudinally quantified the infant's driving ability with a joystick-controlled device (UD1), using UD1's onboard computer and video camera from an infant's age of 7 to 12 months. During the training period, the infant improved in all driving variables. The infant's Bayley III cognition and language scores also increased at a rate greater than his chronological age. CONCLUSIONS/IMPLICATIONS FOR CLINICAL PRACTICE: These results suggest that power mobility training within the first year of life may be appropriate for certain populations at risk of immobility.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2009 · Pediatric physical therapy: the official publication of the Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association
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