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Development Vol. 37 No. 3, May/June 2000
Pages 297 - 304

Abstract - Displacement between the seating surface and hybrid test dummy during transitions with a variable configuration wheelchair: A technical note

Rory A. Cooper, PhD; Michael J. Dvorznak, BS; Andrew J. Rentschler, BS; Michael L. Boninger, MD

Departments of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, and Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261; Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA 15206; Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, UPMC Health System, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Abstract — Changing seating posture can extend the amount of time a person can safely remain seated without damaging tissue or becoming fatigued. The Excelsior is an electrically powered wheelchair that utilizes sit-to-stand (STS) and sit-to-recline (STR) motions to aid in pressure relief. The motion of the wheelchair seating system must closely follow anatomical paths or ulcers may develop from the resulting shear forces. Displacement between the person and the wheelchair seating surface is one measure of these shear forces. The displacement between a Hybrid II 50th percentile anthropometric test dummy (ATD) and the seating surface of the Excelsior wheelchair was examined during STS and STR with two cushions, a Jay Active and a low-profile Roho cushion. The difference between the backrest and ATD back angles were 4.29° ± 2.13° and 1.78° ± 1.73° for the Roho and Jay cushions respectively during STS and 3.32° ± 4.21° and 10.71° ± 6.20° during STR. These were statistically significant at p<.05. During STS, shear displacement between the Hybrid II back and Excelsior backrest did not exceed 1.5 cm for either cushion. ATD thigh-to-seat displacements were 2.5 cm for the Jay and 3.0 cm for the Roho cushion. STR produced dummy thigh-to-seat displacements of 1.5 cm and 3.5 cm for the Jay and Roho cushions respectively. Shear displacement in the ATD back was about 3.5 cm for the Roho and 6 cm for the Jay. The latter displacement should be reduced; however, the other conditions are marginal or acceptable. Hysteresis was acceptable or better for all cushion/motion combinations, with the highest net displacement of about 2.5 cm.

Key words: decubitis ulcers, pressure relief, reclining wheelchair, seating posture, stand-up wheelchair.

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