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Tips and Falls during Electric-Powered Wheelchair Driving: Effects of Seatbelt Use, Legrests, and Driving Speed

Corfman, TA and Cooper, RA and Fitzgerald, SG and Cooper, R (2003) Tips and Falls during Electric-Powered Wheelchair Driving: Effects of Seatbelt Use, Legrests, and Driving Speed. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 84 (12). 1797 - 1802. ISSN 0003-9993

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Abstract

Objective: To measure the response of a test dummy while traversing common obstacles encountered by users of electric-powered wheelchairs (EPWs) to determine whether optimal wheelchair fit, use of seatbelts, and driving speed affect the frequency and severity of EPW tips and falls. Design: Repeated-measures comparison study. Setting: Constructed environment both in and around a Veterans Affairs medical center. Participant: A 50th percentile Hybrid II anthropometric test dummy (ATD) was used to simulate a person driving an EPW. Interventions: The ATD was driven in 4 different EPWs over commonly encountered obstacles at speeds of 1 and 2m/s, with and without the use of a seatbelt, and at varying legrest heights. Main Outcome Measures: The response and motion of the ATD were observed and recorded as no fall, loss of control (the ATD falls forward or sideways but remains in the EPW), the ATD falls out of the EPW, or the EPW tips completely. Results: A total of 97 adverse events out of 1700 trials were recorded: 88 were losses of control (instability) and 9 were ATD falls. No complete tips of any EPW occurred. Univariate statistical analysis indicated a significant relationship between the adverse events and the use of seatbelts, legrest condition, and test obstacles (P<.05). A mixed-model analysis confirmed the significant relationships between the adverse events and the use of seatbelts, legrest condition, and test obstacles (P<.05). However, the mixed model indicated that (1) there was no significant relationship between the adverse events and driving speed and (2) no one obstacle was designated to be the most problematic. Conclusion: Persons who use EPWs should use seatbelts and legrests while driving their EPWs, and clinicians should include common driving tasks when assessing the proper set-up of EPWs.


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Details

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Corfman, TA
Cooper, RARCOOPER@pitt.eduRCOOPER
Fitzgerald, SG
Cooper, Rcooperrm@pitt.eduCOOPERRM
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, or Units > Human Engineering Research Laboratories
Date: 1 January 2003
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Volume: 84
Number: 12
Page Range: 1797 - 1802
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1016/s0003-9993(03)00467-2
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Rehabilitation Science and Technology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0003-9993
MeSH Headings: Acceleration; Accidental Falls--prevention & control; Electricity; Equipment Design; Humans; Manikins; Safety; Seat Belts; Wheelchairs
PubMed ID: 14669186
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2012 18:27
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 14:56
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15672

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