2012 HSR&D/QUERI National Conference Abstract
3004 — Immediate Effects of Wheelchair Skills Training in SCI
McCranie MD, Groer S, Elliot MR, Delikat JM, McGovern SR, and Dudley MA, COE- Tampa;
This multisite study evaluated the impact of the Wheelchair Skills Training Program (WSTP) on patients with Spinal Cord Impairment (SCI) who use manual wheelchairs. Objectives examined the immediate effects of WSTP on wheelchair use ability as well as examining the effects of WSTP on community participation and quality of life.
This 2-group randomized controlled design randomly assigned participants to either the WSTP group or an education control (EC) group. Evaluations were conducted at baseline, post intervention (6 weeks later), and 1 year post intervention. For this abstract we are only presenting baseline to post-intervention results. Data that were collected included the wheelchair skills test and self-reported surveys assessing quality of life and community participation. Wheelchair skills training consisted of five one-on-one sessions with a trained therapist to improve wheelchair skills. The EC group had five one-on-one sessions with a clinician to discuss improving knowledge in items such as exercise and hygiene.
Participants were predominantly male (93%) and Caucasian (84%) with an average age of 47 (+/- 13.2) years and having an SCI for a mean of 18.1 (+/- 12.5) years. Significantly higher wheelchair skills scores (p-value <0.0001) were found in the WSTP group compared to EC group at post intervention. In addition, significant change (p-value = 0.04) was seen in the mobility score from the CHART (Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique) measure.
At this time, it appears that the wheelchair skills training program is beneficial. As would be expected, mobility scores on standardized measures have increased as well. Longer-term benefits have not been determined.
This clinical trial is the first to address the provision of a wheelchair skills training program in a Veteran population. Encouraging better skills for Veterans with SCI will enable improved wheelchair safety, potentially fewer falls, and improved community participation. Implementation work is needed to encourage provision of a wheelchair skills training program for all Veterans with SCI.