Content » Vol 36, Issue 2

Older people's use of powered wheelchairs for activity and participation

Åse Brandt A1, Susanne Iwarsson A2, Agneta Ståhle A3
A1 Danish Centre for Technical Aids for Rehabilitation and Education Århus Denmark
A2 Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Occupational Therapy Lund University Sweden
A3 Department of Technology and Society, Division of Traffic Planning Lund University Sweden

DOI: 10.1080/16501970310017432


Objective: The aims of this study were to investigate outcomes of older people's use of powered wheelchairs and risk factors for negative outcomes. Design: The study was a cross-sectional interview-study including 111 powered wheelchair users over 65 years of age. Results: All participants used their powered wheelchair in the summer; nearly all users regarded it as important and found that it gave them independence. The wheelchair made activity and participation possible for the users. The most frequent activity in the summer was going for a ride, and in the winter it was shopping. However, some could not use the wheelchair for visits, and supplementary travel modes are called for. Users who could not walk at all or who could not transfer without assistance were more likely not to be able to carry out prioritized activities. Furthermore, other risk factors for negative outcomes and need for further research were identified. Conclusion: The use of powered wheelchairs is a relevant societal intervention in relation to older people with limited walking ability in order to make activity and participation possible. It is likely that a larger proportion of older people could benefit from this intervention, in particular if current practices are improved taking activity and participation outcomes into consideration.

Lay Abstract


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