Development of an Educational Resource for Preventative Wheelchair Maintenance

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atrc, assistive, technology, resource, center, iqp, wheelchair, maintenance, manual


The goal of this IQP was to compile an instructional manual wheelchair maintenance resource and to develop a distribution plan for the resource to reach individuals who use wheelchairs. The Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) approached the ATRC with the request for a resource that wheelchair users can refer to in order to obtain information about routine manual wheelchair maintenance. Many users do not perform maintenance procedures, which can lead to unsafe conditions and reduce the lifespan of their wheelchair. The IQP group conducted research about wheelchair maintenance, means by which to distribute a resource, the healthcare system in Massachusetts, and the target population. They also visited rehabilitation centers and wheelchair providers to assess current practices and standards. The group then interviewed several individuals including four wheelchair users, parents of wheelchair users, staff at a DDS group home, the President of Wheelchair Unlimited, and the DDS Training Coordinator. It was determined that existing maintenance procedures are lacking because of the unavailability of easily accessible information. The group found that most people would prefer an internet resource because the ease of access, and that those who do not have internet access would prefer an instructional video. The group compiled two resources: a website and an instructional video that included three categories of preventative maintenance: weekly, monthly, and annual procedures. The website included the descriptions of the procedures, pictures and a bulletin board for users and professionals to post questions and answers. The effectiveness of the two resources was determined by interviews of two professionals from the DDS Monson Developmental Center and it was found that they were generally successful both in terms of detail and layout.