An Expert Review of the Scientific Literature on Independent Wheelchair TransfersBy Koontz, Alicia; Toro, Maria; Kankipati, Padmaja; Naber, Megan; Cooper, Rory; Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, Volume 7, Number 1, pages 20-29
Publication Date: January 2012
Literature review was performed to identify evidence that would provide insight into the burden of setup to the performance of independent wheelchair transfers. Independent transfer was defined as a transfer that the wheelchair user requires no human assistance to perform. Setup was broadly defined as environmental factors that impact transfer performance such as height and gap differences, space available next to the target element, and obstacles near transfer surfaces. Scientific literature databases were searched until June 2009 using 43 keywords, resulting in 339 articles. These were internally reviewed and narrowed to 41 articles which were formally assessed by 13 external experts. Articles scored as moderately or highly relevant by 80 percent or more of the reviewers were included in the final results. Nineteen articles met the relevancy criteria. The aspects of setup that experts felt were addressed to some degree included vertical transfer distance, transferring across a gap, and position of the mobility device relative to target destination. None of the 19 articles were scored as having strong to very strong resulting evidence. There was a consensus among the studies that transferring to a higher surface implies greater exertion of the upper limb. However, no evidence was found regarding how high or low, how close, and how much space is needed next to the target surface to make it accessible by a majority of wheelchair users. Gathering more evidence on these issues would help determine what the limits of setup should be in order to refine current accessibility standards related to transfers in the built environment.
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Limited (Website:http://taylorandfrancis.org)
International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (Web Site: http://www.isprm.org )