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Wheelchair Skills Training Program: A Randomized Clinical Trial of Wheelchair Users Undergoing Initial Rehabilitation

By MacPhee, Angela H., MSc; Kirby, R. Lee, MD; Coolen, Anna L., MSc; Smith, Cher, BSc; MacLeod, Donald A., MSc; Dupuis, Debbie J., PhD; Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vol. 85, No. 1, pp. 41-50
Publication Date: January 2004

Study conducted to test the hypothesis that a brief, formalized period of wheelchair skills training is safe and results in significantly greater improvements in wheelchair skills performance than a standard rehabilitation program. Thirty-five people who used wheelchairs participated in the training program. The participants were administered the Wheelchair Skills Test (WST) version 2.4 before and after the training program. The WST was used to evaluate the respondents’ ability to perform a wide range of skills required in every life. The test has proven to be practical, well tolerated, and safe, with accurate measurement properties. The wheelchair skills that comprise the WST were separated into four levels: (1) basic skills, (2) wheelchair maneuvering and daily living skills, (3) obstacle-negotiation skills, and (4) advanced wheelchair skills. The test and subsequent training were found to be safe and practical, and it had a significant clinical effect on the independent wheeled mobility of participants who were learning to use a wheelchair for the first time. The authors contend that the findings have implications for the standards of care in rehabilitation programs.
Published by: W.B. Saunders Company, a division of Elsevier Health Sciences   (Website:

American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation    (Web Site: )
American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine    (Web Site: )
This publication is included in the library of the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC), accession number J47207

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