Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Gerontology. 2012;58(4):378-84. doi: 10.1159/000334819. Epub 2012 Jan 4.

Prevalence and facility level correlates of need for wheelchair seating assessment among long-term care residents.

Author information

Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.



Wheelchairs are frequently prescribed for residents with mobility impairments in long-term care. Many residents receive poorly fitting wheelchairs, compromising functional independence and mobility, and contributing to subsequent health issues such as pressure ulcers. The extent of this problem and the factors that predict poor fit are poorly understood; such evidence would contribute greatly to effective and efficient clinical practice in long-term care.


To identify the prevalence of need for wheelchair seating intervention among residents in long-term care facilities in Vancouver and explore the relationship between the need for seating intervention and facility level factors.


Logistic regression analysis using secondary data from a cross-sectional study exploring predictors of resident mobility. A total of 263 residents (183 females and 80 males) were randomly selected from 11 long-term care facilities in the Vancouver health region (mean age 84.2 ± 8.6 years). The Seating Identification Tool was used to establish subject need for wheelchair seating intervention. Individual item frequency was calculated. Six contextual variables were measured at each facility including occupational therapy staffing, funding source, policies regarding wheelchair-related equipment, and decision-making philosophy.


The overall prevalence rate of inappropriate seating was 58.6% (95% CI 52.6-64.5), ranging from 30.4 to 81.8% among the individual facilities. Discomfort, poor positioning and mobility, and skin integrity were the most common issues. Two facility level variables were significant predictors of need for seating assessment: ratio of occupational therapists per 100 residents [OR 0.11 (CI 0.04, 0.31)] and expectation that residents purchase wheelchair equipment beyond the basic level [OR 2.78 (1.11, 6.97)]. A negative association between facility prevalence rate and ratio of occupational therapists (r(p) = -0.684, CI -0.143 to -0.910) was found.


Prevalence of need for seating assessment in long-term care is high overall but it varies considerably between facilities. Increasing access to occupational therapy services appears to mediate this need.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for S. Karger AG, Basel, Switzerland Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center