Research

Wheelchair navigation and unilateral neglect: can the use of technology improve performance? (2008)

Geoff Harbach, West Midlands Rehabilitation Centre, South Birmingham PCT & David Punt, Faculty of Health, Leeds Metropolitan University

Download Wheelchair Navigation and unilateral neglect Harbach and Punt

Unilateral neglect is a deficit seen following stroke, and results in patients missing, or neglecting, the side of space opposite their brain lesion. The deficit is relatively common and is associated with poor outcome. Many patients with neglect do not learn to walk again and, in addition, are not able to access powered mobility because they are unable to navigate a chair safely around their environment.

Building on our previous work, which has characterised the specific nature of navigational difficulties, we now propose to evaluate whether a simple anti-bump system fitted to a power chair can assist patients in improving their ability to safely steer a power chair. The system, which was designed and built for an individual user (not with unilateral neglect) some years ago, appears to have particular utility for our target population. We propose to test the system using measures developed during our previous work.

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