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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2012 June;48(2):217-22

Copyright © 2012 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Descriptive study about congruence in wheelchair prescription

Cherubini M. 1, Melchiorri G. 2, 3

1 Rieti Local Health Unit, Rieti, Italy; 2 Don Gnocchi Foundation IRCS, Milan, Italy; 3 Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy


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AIM: Wheelchair prescription is relevant in the prevention of muscular joint pathology, and to facilitate autonomy and the patient’s social life. However, in order to reach this goal, respecting the standards with a client-centred approach is essential. Congruence between user ability and wheelchair characteristics by making wheelchairs more “user friendly” can improve patient independence, facilitate integration into society and improve the patient’s quality of life. The purpose of this study was to analyse congruence of wheelchair use by our patients, through the consideration of specific recommendations related to each subject’s individual clinical situation. The second aim of the paper was to improve wheelchair prescriptions, by identifying the most frequent mistakes in the prescription and construction of wheelchairs.
DESIGN: Observational study, outpatient.
POPULATION: One hundred-fifty wheelchair users (average age 46.7±17.3) were analysed and described at 16.2±8.5 years from the onset of their disability. The subjects were 80 males and 70 females.
RESULTS: Sixty-eight percent of the wheelchairs were not suitable for the patients, while 32% were suitable. We reported the incidence of non-congruence with respect to each wheelchair part.
CONCLUSION: After finding a correlation between the prescription sources and suitability, the authors suggested that wheelchair prescriptions should be carried out in specialized departments, or that physician competences, and collaboration between physicians and technicians must be improved. Our data indicates the necessity to pay more attention to wheelchair prescription while considering ergonomic fitting to the individual. Clinical Rehabilitation Impact. Identifying the most frequent mistakes in the prescription and construction of wheelchairs in this paper could help to make more appropriate prescriptions.

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