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The Impact of Home Modifications and Wheelchair Usability on Activity and Participation

By Harris, Frances; Yang, Hsiang-Yu; Sanford, Jon; RESNA/ICTA 2011: Advancing Rehabilitation Technologies for an Aging Society, June 5-8, 2011, Toronto, Canada,
Publication Date: 2011

Cross-sectional study measured the impact of home modifications and wheelchair usability on the activities and participation of people who rely on a wheelchair for the majority of their mobility needs. Participants were 78 experienced wheelchair users aged 20 to 76 years, 31 of whom were male. Power chairs were used by 59 percent, and manual chairs by 41 percent of participants. Three self-report instruments were administered during a single telephone interview: (1) the Assistive Technology Outcome Measure (ATOM), an 18-question measure assessing wheelchair usability; (2) Comprehensive Assessment and Solution Process for Aging Residents (CASPAR), assessing home modification needs necessary to perform activities of daily living; and (3) the Impact on Participation and Autonomy (IPA), a person-perceived measure assessing participation-restriction across multiple domains. Results indicated that both wheelchair usability and home modifications were important factors in supporting participation within the home, community, work, and in the social roles and relationships of participants. In particular, wheelchair usability appears to be a consistently important variable as individuals age. However, the effect of wheelchair usability on performance of home activities and participation in social roles diminishes when home modification needs are not met. Effective home modifications supported greater participation in both mobility related activities of daily living at home and community activities such as visiting friends and performing outdoor leisure activities. They were also associated with a higher degree of quality and respect in relationships with family and friends. However, effective home modifications did not significantly affect participation in family roles or work/education.
Published by: Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA)   (Website:

Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA)    (Web Site: )
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