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Spinal Cord. 2014 Mar;52(3):209-15. doi: 10.1038/sc.2013.178. Epub 2014 Jan 28.

The association of assistive mobility devices and social participation in people with spinal cord injuries.

Author information

  • 11] School of Public Health, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, USA [2] School of Public Health, the National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan.
  • 21] School of Public Health, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, USA [2] Department of Neurological Surgery/Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY, USA.
  • 3School of Public Health, the National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We assumed that assistive technology in mobility devices (that is, wheelchairs with external power and driving modified vehicle (MV) with or without driving on wheelchair) may facilitate social participation for wheelchairs users who have spinal cord injuries (SCIs). This study examined the relationship between mobility devices and social participation in this population.

METHODS:

We included 2986 individuals who had received initial rehabilitation at one of 18 regional centers of the Model Spinal Cord Injury System in the United States, had been interviewed between 2004 and 2010, and were wheelchair users (use a wheelchair > or = 40 h per week and cannot ambulate 150 feet at home). We performed secondary panel-data analysis using a mixed-effect model on data from 3498 follow-up interviews. Participation (measured by the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique-Short Form (CHART-SF) and employment status) and the use of wheelchair and MV were recorded.

RESULTS:

Among the participants, 33% drove an MV, and 44% used an external-powered wheelchair. The use of an MV was positively related to employment and CHART-SF score, regardless of driving directly or driving with a wheelchair. People who drove an MV were found to have approximately two more business associates to contact to once a month and ∼2 additional days out of home per week compared with those without an MV. No significant association was shown between the type of wheelchair used and participation.

CONCLUSION:

The use of an MV was found to be positively associated with social participation in an SCI population.

PMID:
24469145
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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