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Design journey of an affordable manual standing wheelchair

SHAIKH-MOHAMMED, Javeed
DASH, Swostik Sourav
SARDA, Vivek
SUJATHA, S
2021

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Purpose: Only 1 in 10 people with disabilities can access assistive devices, underlining the critical need for low-cost assistive products. This paper describes the design evolution of a manual user-operated standing wheelchair (SWC), translating from prototype to product.


Methods: The SWC design has been refined over 5 years through multiple iterations based on comments from user trials. The SWC product, Arise, provides standing functionality, facile outdoor mobility, afford- ability, customisability, and is aesthetically pleasing. A one-time fitting and training ensure optimal effort for operation, correct posture, and comfortable user experience. The SWC accommodates users of differ- ent sizes and body weights (up to 110kg) and minimises user effort with the use of a gas spring. Incorporating discrete adjustments enables customisation while retaining the advantages of mass manu- facturing, which is necessary for ensuring affordability.

 

Results: The SWC has been field-tested and well received by over 100 wheelchair users, and Arise was launched recently by the industry partner.


Conclusions: It should be noted that RESNA cautions on the use of any standing device without medical consultation. Nevertheless, with appropriate dissemination and awareness, it is anticipated that the afford- able SWC product, Arise, will immensely benefit the eligible users and make a difference in their quality of life.

The influence of a contoured seating base on pressure distribution and discomfort

DE MARE, Lieke
DE GROOT, Bas
DE KONING, Fleur
GEERS, Richard
TETTEROO, Daniel
2021

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Purpose: This research paper examines how contouring of a wheelchair seating base can help prevent pressure sores by distributing pressure over the buttocks. Contouring wheelchair cushioning is already done to some extent and has proved to be beneficial for pressure distribution. We researched the effect of contouring the seating base, and whether contouring the seating base affects effectiveness in pressure distribution and perceived discomfort.

 

Materials & methods: 13 healthy participants performed a within-subject experiment with three differ- ently contoured seating bases. Perceived comfort and seating pressure were measured for each condition.
Results: Results indicate that a more contoured base is positive for both comfort and increased pressure distribution.

 

Conclusions: Contoured seating bases can provide increased comfort and improved pressure distribution over flat seating bases. Future research should examine the effect of contouring on stability, as well as compare the effects of contoured seating bases and contoured cushions.

A high prevalence of manual wheelchair rear-wheel misalignment could be leading to increased risk of repetitive strain injuries

OTT, Joseph
HENDERSON, Travis
WILSON-JENE, Holly
KOONTZ, Alicia
PEARLMAN, Jonathan
2021

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Purpose: To determine the prevalence and severity of manual wheelchair rear wheel misalignment in community-dwelling manual wheelchair users and estimate the associated increases in rolling resistance (RR) and risk of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs).


Materials and Methods: Data were collected in an outpatient rehabilitation clinic, a university research laboratory, and at adaptive sporting events in the United States. Two hundred active, self-propelling man- ual wheelchair users were recruited. Angular misalignment (referred to as toe angle) while the wheelchair was loaded with the user, and the difference between the maximum and minimum toe angle (referred to as slop) with the wheelchair unloaded.

 

Results: Average results for toe angle and slop (movement in the rear wheels) were 0.92 and 0.61 degrees, respectively. Using a lab-based testing method, we quantified the impact of increased RR forces due to misalignment in increased RR forces. Our results indicate that the average toe angle while under load and slop, without loading, measured in the community increase required propulsion force by 3.0 N. Combined toe angle and slop (i.e., the worst-case scenario) added increased propulsion force by 3.9 N. Conclusions: We found that rear-wheel misalignment was prevalent and severe enough that it may increase the risk for RSIs and decrease participation. To mitigate this issue, future work should focus on reducing misalignment through improved maintenance interventions and increased manufacturing qual- ity through more stringent standards.

Catalysing AT access: Scaling rehabilitative services and increasing access to AT in Kenya

CLINTON HEALTH ACCESS INITIATIVE (CHAI)
January 2021

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It is estimated that about 100,000 people need a wheelchair in Kenya annually. Across the 47 counties in Kenya, anecdotal evidence showed that health centres and access points for rehabilitative services are not evenly distributed, appropriately staffed, and sufficiently equipped. The situational analysis showed that Kenya’s access challenges are driven by a policy gap, limited service points with few trained personnel, fragmented delivery landscape, no national specifications, standards or supply chain and limited financing of rehabilitative services and wheelchairs.

An AT Innovator case study: Amparo

WILLIAMS, Rhys
OLDFREY, Ben
HOLLOWAY, Catherine
December 2020

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An interview is reported with Lucas Paes de Melo, the CEO of Amparo, to discuss the journey so far of prosthetics company, Amparo. Rather than focus on the product, this insights paper provides an honest reflection of the journey to establishing an assistive technology company and delves into transferable insights. In doing so, they aim to provide insights to help current and future AT entrepreneurs to see behind the curtain of working in this space.

Wheelchair service provision education for healthcare professional students, healthcare personnel and educators across low- to high-resourced settings: a scoping review protocol

KAMALAKANNAN, Sureshkumar
RUSHTON, Paula W
GIESBRECHT, Ed
RUSAW, David F
BOUZIANE, Selsabil-A
NADEAU, Melodie
MCKEE, Jennifer
GOWRAN, Rosemary J
KIRBY, R L
PEDERSEN, Jessica P
TASIEMSKI, Tomasz
BURROLA-MENDEZ, Yohali
TOFANIN, Marco
GOLDBERG, Mary
PEARLMAN, Jon
2020

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Purpose

Appropriate wheelchair provision is necessary for addressing participation barriers experienced by individuals with mobility impairments. Health care professionals involved in the wheelchair service provision process require a specific set of skills and knowledge to enable wheelchair use that meets individual posture, mobility and daily living requirements. However, inconsistencies exist in academic programmes globally about providing comprehensive education and training programmes. The planned scoping review aims to review and synthesize the global literature on wheelchair service provision education for healthcare professional students, healthcare personnel and educators offered by universities, organizations and industries.

 

Methods

This scoping review will be guided by the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) methodological framework. Comprehensive literature searches will be conducted on various global electronic databases on health to seek out how wheelchair service provision education is organized, integrated, implemented and evaluated. Two independent reviewers will perform eligibility decisions and key data extractions. Data from selected studies will be extracted and analysed using conventional content analysis. Information related to wheelchair service provision education including curriculum development, content, teaching methods, evaluation and models of integration will be synthesized.

 

Implications and dissemination

The planned scoping review will be the first to examine all aspects of wheelchair service provision education across professionals, settings and countries. We anticipate that results will inform the content of a Wheelchair Educators’ Package, and if appropriate, a follow-up systematic review. An article reporting the results of the scoping review will be submitted for publication to a scientific journal.

Training for the HandbikeBattle: an explorative analysis of training load and handcycling physical capacity in recreationally active wheelchair users

KOUWIJZER, Ingrid
VALENT, Linda J M
BENNEKOM, Coen A M van
HANDBIKEBATTLE group
POST, Marcel W M
WOUDE, Lucas H V Van Der
GROOT, Sonja de
November 2020

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Purpose: (1) to analyze training characteristics of recreationally active wheelchair users during handcycle training, and (2) to examine the associations between training load and change in physical capacity.

 

Methods: Former rehabilitation patients (N = 60) with health conditions such as spinal cord injury or amputation were included. Participants trained for five months. A handcycling/arm crank graded exercise test was performed before and after the training period. Outcomes: peak power output per kg (POpeak/kg) and peak oxygen uptake per kg (VO2peak/kg). Training load was defined as Training Impulse (TRIMP), which is rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) multiplied by duration of the session, in arbitrary units (AU). Training intensity distribution (TID) was also determined (time in zone 1, RPE ≤4; zone 2, RPE 5–6; zone 3, RPE ≥7).

 

Results: Multilevel regression analyses showed that TRIMPsRPE was not significantly associated with change in physical capacity. Time in zone 2 (RPE 5–6) was significantly associated with ΔVO2peak, %ΔVO2peak, ΔVO2peak/kg and %ΔVO2peak/kg.

 

Conclusion: Training at RPE 5–6 was the only determinant that was significantly associated with improvement in physical capacity. Additional controlled studies are necessary to demonstrate causality and gather more information about its usefulness, and optimal handcycle training regimes for recreationally active wheelchair users.

Inclusive Design: What if we built a world that was accessible to all?

McKINNON, Iain
CARR, Peter
PATRICK, Mikaela
MONGOLIA RESEARCH TEAM
ASTERINA, Nina
October 2020

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This webinar, hosted by Global Disability Innovation (GDI) hub, brings together a diverse panel of experts to discuss what inclusive design looks like in practice for them, who benefits and how it can offer methods to build a more accessible world that benefits all of us.

 

Speakers presentations were:

  • What inclusive design means to GDI Hub and why it matters, drawing on our experience working in both the UK and globally
  • An overview of inclusive design of the built environment in the UK and Kenya, including the role of access panels to embed the views of disabled people in planning and decision-making
  • An introduction to GDI Hub’s AT2030 programme including our Inclusive Infrastructure research sub-programme that is conducting six global case studies in LMIC cities around the world over the next 2-3 years.
  • The challenges and opportunities for an accessible Mongolia and the importance of Disabled People’s Organisations (DPO) engagement in decision-making
  • The importance of inclusive planning processes for accessible cities in Indonesia

Smartphone apps for transportation by people with intellectual disabilities: are they really helpful in improving their mobility?

ALANAZI, Adel
2020

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Purpose

The paper undertakes a critical assessment of the use of smartphone apps for transportation by people with intellectual disabilities. Although apps for transportation such as Uber and Careem have been developed to assist people with disabilities and have numerous benefits, people with intellectual disabilities tend to encounter their own set of difficulties in accessing these apps.

 

Materials and method

This paper presents the research findings drawn from a focus group discussion conducted with nine people with moderate to mild intellectual disabilities in Riyadh, by using a qualitative study focussed on the interpretative paradigm.

 

Results

From the interview findings, some relevant themes were identified. These were: transportation issues encountered by people with intellectual disabilities, the extent and manner of the use of smartphone apps for transportation, the benefits enjoyed by those individuals in using smartphone apps for transportation and the difficulties encountered by them.

 

Conclusions

The paper also discusses the implications for practice and presents some useful recommendations, including the need for family support and government assistance.

The value of powered mobility scooters from the perspective of elderly spouses of the users – a qualitative study

FREDRIKSSON, Carin
PETTERSSON, Ingvor
HAGBERG, Lars
HERMANSSON, Liselotte
2020

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Purpose

To explore spouses’ experiences of the value of mobility scooters prescribed to their partner.

 

Material and Methods

A descriptive design with a qualitative approach was used. Thirteen spouses (11 females) aged 65–86 years participated. Semi-structured interviews were conducted when the spouse’s partner had had the mobility scooter for 4–6 months. The interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

 

Results

The interviews showed primarily that the spouses experienced that their everyday lives and life situation had improved since their partner had received a mobility scooter. They reported that they could engage in activities of their own choice to a greater extent. The prescription of a mobility scooter to their partner had also yielded a sense of freedom related to shared activities. On the other hand, the spouses described some of the scooter’s limitations. Three categories emerged: a sense of freedom related to the spouse’s own activities, a sense of freedom related to shared activities and a somewhat restricted freedom.

 

Conclusion

Prescription of a powered mobility scooter was of value to the users’ spouses because it facilitated independent and shared activities and participation in the community. The value was mainly expressed as a sense of freedom when doing things on their own or together with their partner. Spouses are key persons in the rehabilitation of people with mobility restrictions. Their views on the assistive device may influence the rehabilitation process. Knowledge of spouses’ experiences is thus crucial, as this may influence the future rehabilitation outcome.

Rehabilitation: mobility, exercise & sports; a critical position stand on current and future research perspectives

VAN DER WOUDE, Lucas H V
HOUDIJK, Han J P
JANSSEN, Thomas W J
SEVES, Bregje
SCHELHAAS, Reslin
2020

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Background: Human movement, rehabilitation, and allied sciences have embraced their ambitions within the cycle of “RehabMove” congresses over the past 30 years. This combination of disciplines and collabo- rations in the Netherlands has tried to provide answers to questions in the fields of rehabilitation and adapted sports, while simultaneously generating new questions and challenges. These research questions help us to further deepen our understanding of (impaired) human movement and functioning, with and without supportive technologies, and stress the importance of continued multidisciplinary (inter)national collaboration.

 

Methods: This position stand provides answers that were conceived by the authors in a creative process underlining the preparation of the 6th RehabMove Congress.

 

Results: The take-home message of the RehabMove2018 Congress is a plea for continued multidisciplin- ary research in the fields of rehabilitation and adapted sports. This should be aimed at more individual- ized notions of human functioning, practice, and training, but also of performance, improved supportive technology, and appropriate “human and technology asset management” at both individual and organ- ization levels and over the lifespan.

 

Conclusions: With this, we anticipate to support the development of rehabilitation sciences and technol- ogy and to stimulate the use of rehabilitation notions in general health care. We also hope to help ensure a stronger embodiment of preventive and lifestyle medicine in rehabilitation practice. Indeed, general health care and rehabilitation practice require a healthy and active lifestyle management and research agenda in the context of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention.

Use of technology by orientation and mobility professionals in Australia and Malaysia before COVID-19

DEVERELL, Lil
BHOWMIK, Jahar
LAU, Bee Theng
AL MAHMUD, Abdullah
SUKUNESAN, Suku
ISLAM, Fakir M Amirul
MCCARTHY, Chris
MEYER, Denny
2020

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Purpose

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) professionals teach people with low vision or blindness to use specialist assistive technologies to support confident travel, but many O&M clients now prefer a smartphone. This study aimed to investigate what technology O&M professionals in Australia and Malaysia have, use, like, and want to support their client work, to inform the development of O&M technologies and build capacity in the international O&M profession.

 

Materials and Methods

A technology survey was completed by professionals (n = 36) attending O&M workshops in Malaysia. A revised survey was completed online by O&M specialists (n = 31) primarily in Australia. Qualitative data about technology use came from conferences, workshops and interviews with O&M professionals. Descriptive statistics were analysed together with free-text data.

 

Results

Limited awareness of apps used by clients, unaffordability of devices, and inadequate technology training discouraged many O&M professionals from employing existing technologies in client programmes or for broader professional purposes. Professionals needed to learn smartphone accessibility features and travel-related apps, and ways to use technology during O&M client programmes, initial professional training, ongoing professional development and research.

 

Conclusions

Smartphones are now integral to travel with low vision or blindness and early-adopter O&M clients are the travel tech-experts. O&M professionals need better initial training and then regular upskilling in mainstream O&M technologies to expand clients’ travel choices. COVID-19 has created an imperative for technology laggards to upskill for O&M tele-practice. O&M technology could support comprehensive O&M specialist training and practice in Malaysia, to better serve O&M clients with complex needs.

Product Narrative: Prostheses. A market landscape and strategic approach to increasing access to prosthetic devices and related services in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

LIAO, Cynthia
SEGHERS, Frederick
SAVAGE, Margaret
FINEBERG, Alison
AUSTIN, Vicki
HOLLOWAY, Catherine
OLDFREY, Ben
April 2020

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While about 1.5 million people undergo amputations every year, WHO estimates that only 5-15% of amputees who need prosthetic devices in LMICs have access to them. High prices of prosthetic services in lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs), combined with high indirect costs for users (for example to travel to service points), make prosthetic services unaffordable to many of the people who need them. 

Prosthetic services can be made more affordable by: 1) increasing the number of service units (in particular, by leveraging decentralised service models and the innovative technologies that enable them); 2) establishing reimbursement schemes that encapsulate all costs to the user; and 3) leveraging alternative forms of financing for both capacity-building and user financing.

An opportunity exists to transform access to prosthetic services and products in LMICs, but this will require a coordinated effort between: 1) governments to expand service capacity; 2) global stakeholders to provide guidance on products and technologies; 3) suppliers to expand market presence and offerings; and 4) donors to support these activities. 

Five strategic objectives are proposed to accelerate access to prosthetic services in LMIC

Para-cycling race performance in different sport classes

LILJEDAHL, Johanna B
BJERKEFORS, Anna
ARNDT, Anton
NOOIJEN, Carla F J
March 2020

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Purpose: The para-cycling classification system, consisting of five classes (C1–C5) for bicycling (C5 athletes having least impairments), is mostly based on expert-opinion rather than scientific evidence. The aim of this study was to determine the differences in race performance between para-cycling classes. 

 

Methods: From official results of the men’s 1 km time trials for classes C1–C5 of seven Union Cycliste Internationale World Championships and Paralympics, median race speed of the five fastest athletes in each class was calculated (n = 175). Para-cycling results were expressed as a percentage of able-bodied performance using race results from the same years (n = 35). To assess differences between consecutive classes, Kruskal-Wallis tests with Mann-Whitney U post hoc tests were performed, correcting for multiple testing (p < 0.013). 

 

Results: Para-cyclists in C1 reached 75% (median ± interquartile range = 44.8 ± 4.2 km/h) and in C5 90% (53.5 ± 2.9 km/h) of able-bodied race speed (59.4 ± 0.9 km/h). Median race speed between consecutive classes was significantly different (χ2 = 142.6, p < 0.01), except for C4 (52.1 ± 2.8 km/h) and C5 (U = 447.0, p = 0.05). 

 

Conclusion: Current para-cycling classification does not clearly differentiate between classes with least impairments.

Required to be creative. Everyday ways for dealing with inaccessibility

WÄSTERFORS, David
2020

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Today’s society promises that people with disabilities can access anything, but in practice there are numerous obstacles, and the ways in which people deal with them can be easily missed or taken for granted by policy makers. This article draws on a project in which researchers ‘go along’ people with disabilities in Sweden who demonstrate and recount accessibility troubles in urban and digital settings. They display a set of mundane methods for managing inaccessibility: (a) using others, (b) making deals and establishing routines, (c) mimicking or piggybacking conventions, (d) debunking others’ accounts and performing local politics. The employment of these shared but tailored methods shows the difficulties to be accepted that people with disabilities still face, as well as the wide-ranging tension that exists between the grand rhetoric of inclusion and modest results. The tension implies that people with disabilities are required to be creative.

  • Declarations and policies often say that people with disabilities should have access to anything, but in practice this is not the case.
  • This study investigates what people with disabilities actually do when they have trouble accessing various places or resources. The results show their common and practical ways, and these ways are often taken for granted, overlapping, and combined.
  • People with disabilities ask others to support them when they face troubles to access places or resources, they make deals with important actors and they develop routines. They also observe, imitate and follow others’ actions, to pick out precisely those ways that suit their needs.
  • When people with disabilities find their ways in today’s society they also act with words. They argue against other people’s excuses or justifications for not providing access.
  • The study has found a lot of frustration among people with disabilities who get blocked, excluded or delayed. This gives them motives to engage in politics.

Building the inclusive city - Governance, access, and the urban transformation of Dubai

SANTIAGO PINEDA, Victor
2020

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This book is an anthropological urban study of the Emirate of Dubai, its institutions, and their evolution. It provides a contemporary history of disability in city planning from a non-Western perspective and explores the cultural context for its positioning. Three insights inform the author’s approach. First, disability research, much like other urban or social issues, must be situated in a particular place. Second, access and inclusion forms a key part of both local and global planning issues. Third, a 21st century planning education should take access and inclusion into consideration by applying a disability lens to the empirical, methodological, and theoretical advances of the field

Disability, mobility and transport in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A thematic review

KETT, Maria
COLE, Ellie
TURNER, Jeff
January 2020

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This paper discusses issues affecting the transport and mobility needs of people with disabilities in middle- and low-income countries and how disability intersects with a range of other factors to impact on transport needs, use and engagement. The paper is intended to stimulate discussion and identify areas for further research, and identifies a number of key issues that are salient to discussions around equitable and inclusive transport provision, including patterns of transport use, behaviour and experiences, solutions and policy directions, measuring access and inclusion, policies and intersectionality. The paper also identifies gaps in knowledge and provision, barriers to addressing these gaps, and some possible solutions to overcoming these barriers. These include shifting the focus from access to inclusion, reconceptualising how ‘special’ transport might be provided, and most importantly listening to the voices and experiences of adults and children with disabilities. Despite lack of transport often being cited as a reason for lack of inclusion of people with disabilities, there is surprisingly little evidence which either quantifies this or translates what this lack of access means to people with disabilities in their daily lives in low- and middle-income countries.

 

Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 589

https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020589

Disability at a Glance 2019: Investing in accessibility in Asia and the Pacific — Strategic approaches to achieving disability-inclusive sustainable development

TATA, Srinivas
et al
December 2019

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This report lays out foundational concepts and terminologies related to disability and accessibility, and outlines the tools and approaches for successful investment in accessibility. Furthermore, it identifies drivers and added values of investment, and analyses the status of disability-inclusive development and accessibility investment across Asia and the Pacific. Finally, it provides recommendations to governments across key areas of focus to ensure that societies are built to be sustainable and inclusive.

Case studies from Australia, the Republic of Korea and India are presented.

Exploring barriers to physical activity of patients at the internal medicine and surgical wards: a retrospective analysis of continuously collected data

KOENDERS, Niek
WEENK, Mariska
VAN DE BELT, Tom H
VAN GOOR, Harry
HOOGEBOOM, Thomas J
BREDIE, Sebastian J H
November 2019

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Purpose: To analyse physical activity of patients during their hospital stay and to explore the relationship between physical activity and barriers to physical activity.

 

Methods: This was a secondary analysis of physical activity data for patients admitted to the internal medicine and surgical wards. Physical activity data, collected with a wireless patch sensor, was operationalized as time spent lying, sitting/standing, and walking. Barriers to physical activity included patients’ pain levels, the use of urinary catheters, intravenous tubing, oxygen lines, drains, and level of dependence. Regression analysis explored the relationship between physical activity and barriers to physical activity.

 

Results: Physical activity data were collected in 39 patients (aged 27–88, mean 54 years) during hospital stay. Patients were admitted for a median of 10 d (interquartile range [IQR]: 7–15 d). These patients were lying for a median of 12.1 h (7.6–17.7), sitting/standing 11.8 h (6.3–15.7), and walking 0.1 h (0–0.3) per day. Time lying during the day related to pain levels (β = 0.4 h per unit increase in pain, p < 0.01) and drain use (β = 3.1 h, p < 0.01).

 

Conclusions: Patients spent the most time during the hospital stay lying in bed. Improved pain management and decreased drain use may be worth exploring to increase inpatient physical activity.

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