Lessons learned from a pediatric powered mobility lending program

Naomi Gefen, Patrice L. Weiss, Amihai Rigbi, Lori Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To evaluate children’s characteristics and impact of a powered wheelchair lending program including comparisons of diagnostic sub-groups, and validation of a predictive model of powered mobility proficiency. Methods and Materials: This retrospective study included 172 children who participated in the ALYN powered mobility lending program from 3/2009-7/2022. Demographics and functional levels were measured via questionnaires; driving proficiency was evaluated when the wheelchair was returned, and parents and children were interviewed following their participation in the program. Results: Two diagnostic groups were identified: cerebral palsy (CP) (n = 136, median = 9.75 yrs) and other neuromuscular diseases (NMD) (n = 30, median = 5.83 yrs). They differed significantly in the age they commenced PM training, the male/female ratio, walking ability and access mode. Fifty-seven percent of the participants with CP achieved powered mobility proficiency, a rate that was significantly lower than the 73% proficiency found for the NMD group. Four significant predictors were identified: communication, manual wheelchair operation, access mode and go-stop upon request. They predicted proficiency in approximately 80% of cases. Overall feedback from the parents and children indicated that their personal and family’s quality of life improved as a result of their child’s ability to use a powered wheelchair. Conclusions: A lending program provides children with opportunities to improve mobility skills in an appropriate powered wheelchair. Children who can communicate verbally, propel a manual wheelchair, use a joystick and go-stop upon request are significantly more likely to become proficient drivers; however, many who were unable to complete these tasks also improved and even became proficient drivers.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Early online date28 Oct 2023
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 28 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • cerebral palsy
  • multivariate logistic regression
  • neuromuscular disease
  • Powered wheelchair
  • proficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing

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