Grand Theft Wheelchair!

In order to measure how well a device is or a person deals with a given vehicle, many people work on predefined obstacle courses. Kilkens et al. reviewed a wide array of wheelchair skill tests, aimed to asses the ability to propel and maneuver a wheelchair under standardized
and/or simulated conditions of daily living. Skills included in the 24 tests in order of frequency were:

- Wheelchair propulsion, assessed in terms of period of time, a fixed distance or longest distance possible.
- Transfer from and to the wheelchair, usually examining the performance in different transfers.
- Negotiation of kerbs, with kerb's height ranging from 0.025 to 0.15m, and some requiring ascending and descending the kerb.
- Ascending slopes, defined in terms of inclination (ranging from 1 to 11 degrees) and length (ranging from 3 to 21m).
- Traversing tracks, e.g. slalom, figure of eight and obstacle course.
- Sprinting over a fixed distance (ranging from 6.5 to 30m).
- Performing a wheelie was also a skill included in few of the tests assessed.
- Half of the tests included other specific wheelchair skills, e.g. managing brakes, negotiating doors or loading the wheelchair into a car.

In eight of these tests, wheelchair skills were a part of a broader measure of ADL skills like eating, bed mobility skills and washing hands. Ideally, tests have to be as efficient and as short as possible, and should not require much space or special equipment. The VFM or the TAMP take like 1 hour to complete, while the WST needs only 30 min.

The most common outcome of these tests are values like task performance time, Physical strain, Independence in performance, distance covered in propulsion, endurance and other subjective ratings like perceived difficulty. Kilkens argues that tests should have preferably a simple scoring system, convenient to use and easi to analyze. It is important to note that these metrics can be applied mostly to obstacle courses but usually not to daily living, as they are measured over a given time and trajectory.

The main problem with most of these courses is that they require a large space and investment to build structures just according to specifications. Furthermore, they are used to measure skills in controlled situations, rather than in everyday ones. Still, they are widely used because they provide a benchmark to test most wheelchairs models.


Post a Comment

Newer Post Older Post Home


Recent Comments