Users’ Perceptions on Mobility, Comfort and Usability of Manual Wheelchairs
Authors: Fausto O. Medola, Suzana Gamac, Valeria M.C.Eluic, Luis C. Paschoarelliab, Carlos A. Fortuland
Abstract: The objective of this study was to assess the users’ perceptions on the extent to which the wheelchair meet their mobility needs and overall satisfaction. Fifteen manual wheelchair users were interviewed with a questionnaire comprising questions about their perceptions on aspects of the daily wheelchair usage such as comfort and mobility. The results show that, in general, users experience seating and mobility problems related to their wheelchair. Participants reported problems to move independently in ramps, steps and with wheelchair transfers. Moreover, discomfort and pain were also reported as problems resulting from the prolonged use of wheelchairs. For the majority of the subjects, their wheelchairs are not ideally suitable to them, suggesting problems in the wheelchair prescription and provision. The results demonstrate that, from the users’ point of view, both mobility and comfort problems affect users’ experience with the wheelchair in daily usage. Such problems evidence the existing problems with the current design of manual wheelchairs. Designers and manufacturers may benefit from this knowledge when designing and producing wheelchairs that are most suitable to users’ characteristics, needs and expectations.
Keywords: Wheelchairs, Ergonomics, Mobility, Comfort, Usability
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