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Recipients of electric-powered indoor/outdoor wheelchairs provided by a national health service: a cross-sectional study

Journal title
Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
Publication year
Frank, A. O.; De Souza, L. H.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the characteristics across all ages of powered wheelchair users and the assistive technology prescribed by a regional specialist wheelchair service. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Regional wheelchair service. PARTICIPANTS: Electric-powered indoor/outdoor wheelchair (EPIOC) users (N=544) with 262 boys and men (mean age +/- SD, 41.7+/-20.7y; range, 8-82y) and 282 girls and women (mean age +/- SD, 47.2+/-19.7y; range, 7-92y). INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Demographic, clinical/diagnostic details of EPIOC recipients, including pain, (kypho)scoliosis, and ventilators. Technical features, including specialized (adaptive) seating, tilt in space, and modified control systems. Factors were related to age groups: 1 (0-15y), 2 (16-24y), 3 (25-54y), 4 (55-74y), and 5 (>/=75y). RESULTS: Neurologic/neuromuscular conditions predominated (81%) with cerebral palsy (18.9%) and multiple sclerosis (16.4%). Conditions presenting at birth or during childhood constituted 39%. Of the participants, 99 had problematic pain, 83 had (kypho)scoliosis, and 11 used ventilators. Specialized (adaptive) seating was provided to 169 users (31%); most had cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. Tilt in space was used by 258 (53%) participants. Younger people were more likely to receive tilt in space than older ones. Only 92 had specialized (adaptive) seating and tilt in space (mean age +/- SD, 29+/-17.8y; range, 8-72y). Of the participants, 52 used modified control systems. CONCLUSIONS: The diversity of EPIOC users across age and diagnostic groups is shown. Their complex interrelations with these technical features of EPIOC prescriptions are explored. Younger users were more complex because of age-related changes. This study provides outcomes of the EPIOC prescription for this heterogeneous group of very severely disabled people.

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