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Impact and usage of pushrim activated power assist wheelchair among individuals with tetraplegia

Souza, Ana E (2007) Impact and usage of pushrim activated power assist wheelchair among individuals with tetraplegia. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The primary objective of this study was to investigate the usage of Pushrim Activated Power Assist Wheelchairs (PAPAW) among individuals with cervical level spinal cord injuries (tetraplegia) in real-life environments. Fifteen full-time manual wheelchair users with tetraplegia completed a four-week trial including a two-week own wheelchair trial and a two-week PAPAW trial where both the PAPAW provided and personal wheelchairs were tracked. The order of wheelchair use was randomized. Throughout the study period both the PAPAW and participants personal chairs were equipped with a data logging device, which collects time stamps at each wheel rotation. The PAPAWs used in this study were equipped with the JWII (Yamaha Motor Corporation). Participants were asked to daily complete a take home questionnaire with questions regarding type of wheelchair used, places visited, methods of transporting the wheelchair, obstacles preventing travel outside the home, and satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the PAPAW. At the end of each two-week trial, the Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Devices (PIADS) survey was conducted to assess the effects of the PAPAW and the personal chair on user's competence, adaptability, and self-esteem. Data logging device analyzed variables included the average daily distance traveled, average speed and the actual daily driving time. Results from this phase showed that participants used the PAPAW significantly more than their personal wheelchairs in the two-week PAPAW trial, indicating that PAPAWs might improve functional independence as well as community participation of individuals with tetraplegia. Overall benefits of the PAPAW reported by participants included easy propulsion, increased independence, and good performance in difficult terrains, increased quality of life, faster speed, and decreased upper-limb pain. Limitations reported included difficult drive wheels disassembling and transportation.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Souza, Ana Eaes33@pitt.eduAES33
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDing, Dan
Date: 24 April 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 4 April 2007
Approval Date: 24 April 2007
Submission Date: 18 April 2007
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: power assist; tetraplegia; wheelchair
Other ID:, etd-04182007-210602
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:38
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:40


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