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Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2013 Nov;8(6):447-53. doi: 10.3109/17483107.2013.823575.

mobilityRERC state of the science: How science influences public policy in seating and mobility.

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Sunrise Medical , Longmont , USA .


In the United States (US), wheeled mobility and seating equipment is classified as Durable Medical Equipment (DME). DME includes a wide array of devices including canes, walkers, home oxygen equipment, hospital beds, and wheelchairs. Seating and mobility devices reflect a wide range of DME, from relatively simple standard manual wheelchairs and cushions to highly complex manual and power wheelchairs and custom seating systems. This wide range of complexity results in a wide range of policies that govern the provision of seating and mobility equipment. This article results from a presentation during the Wheeled Mobility Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center's (RERC's) State of the Science Conference in 2012. The presentation was designed to proffer key concepts related to coverage policies and policy decision-making. Topics covered include an introduction to key policy issues impacting seating and mobility equipment, a description of the barriers that prevent or hinder research being used to inform coverage policy decisions, discussion of the challenges surrounding evidence-based policy decisions regarding seating and mobility, and suggestions of strategies for including policy makers and other stakeholders in setting research priorities and in reporting research findings.


In the United States, wheeled mobility and seating equipment are classified as Durable Medical Equipments which are governed by a wide range of policies. Researchers should be encouraged to supplement research articles with articles that explicitly address clinical and policy implications of the work. Policy-makers should be encouraged to engage researchers to insure the breadth of knowledge and evidence is represented and understood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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