Research

A single blind controlled study to assess advantages of power assist wheelchairs (2006)

David Harrison & Joyjit Sarkar, Posture and Mobility Service, West Midlands Rehabilitation Centre, 91 Oak Tree Lane, Selly Oak, BIRMINGHAM

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Power Assist Wheelchairs (PAWs) have been designed to provide motorised assistance to people maintaining the option of self propelling. Previous studies have shown that they can reduce strain on the upper extremities.  For a given task, the heart rate of users increased less with PAW than with conventional wheelchairs

Another possible advantage may be the ease of transport of PAWs in vehicles because they are more collapsible compared to powered wheelchairs.

Nevertheless, these wheelchairs are not in common use. There is insufficient research evidence for their benefits in terms of energy expenditure which is related to effort of propelling that can be measured objectively, and user satisfaction which is more subjective. This project is aimed at assessing these two aspects of PAWs.

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