Cover of Wheeled Mobility (Wheelchair) Service Delivery

Wheeled Mobility (Wheelchair) Service Delivery

Comparative Effectiveness Technical Briefs, No. 9

Investigators: , PhD, , PhD, MSPH, MLIS, and , MD, MPH.

Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center
Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); .
Report No.: 11(12)-EHC065-EF

Structured Abstract


Wheeled mobility service delivery is the process by which mobility impaired individuals are matched to wheeled mobility devices and provided service. Matching patients with mobility limitations with the most appropriate wheeled mobility device, avoiding under- and over-prescribing, is important for functional ability and quality of life, especially for patients with complex rehabilitation needs (i.e., long-term wheelchair users with complex medical conditions).


To describe the wheeled mobility service delivery process for patients with complex rehabilitation needs, survey the available literature on service delivery, and identify issues and areas for future research.


A search of published, peer-reviewed and grey literature and interviews with selected Key Informants. An evidence map was developed with characteristics of studies pertaining to the wheeled mobility service process identified in the bibliographic databases through March 2011.


Based on textbooks, guidelines, and published literature, the recommended service delivery process typically includes patient evaluation, equipment selection and delivery, and postdelivery training and followup. However, there is a lack of research on the effectiveness of the recommended approaches. Existing studies are primarily observational, exploratory studies designed to determine consumer use of and satisfaction with the wheeled mobility service delivery process. Additional research is needed on the topic of wheeled mobility service delivery to establish an evidence base that will allow for the development of standards and guidelines necessary for evidence-based service delivery.