Analyzing Wheelchair Mobility Patterns of Community-Dwelling Older AdultsBy Karmarkar, Amol M.; Cooper, Rory A.; Wang, Hongwu; Kelleher, Annmarie; Cooper, Rosemarie; Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, Volume 48, Number 9, pages 1077-1086
Publication Date: 2011
Study determined and compared wheelchair mobility patterns for older adults during an organized sporting event and within their community. Participants were 39 veterans with spinal cord injury who were recruited during the 28th National Veterans Wheelchair Games in 2008. Of these, 26 were manual wheelchair users with a mean age of 62.5 years and 13 were power wheelchair users with a mean age of 66.9 years. All but 2 participants were male. Wheelchair related mobility data were collected using a customized self-powered data logging device capable of recording up to 3 months of mobility data on a flash memory chip. Participants were significantly more active using manual wheelchairs during the games than when using their chairs in their homes in terms of distance traveled, with 4,466.2 versus 1,367.4 meters logged; and average speed of propulsion, measured as 0.76 versus 0.64 meters per second. The trend was the same for power wheelchair users, with respect to distance, logging 7,306.2 versus 3,450.5 meters; and an average speed of 0.9 versus 0.7 meters per second. Study results suggested that context and environment affect the extent of wheelchair use among older adults. Clinical implications for matching older adults with the appropriate wheeled mobility device to meet their needs are discussed.
VA Rehabilitation Research & Development Service (Web Site: http://www.rehab.research.va.gov )
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