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Development Vol. 37 No. 3, May/June 2000
Pages 325 - 334

Evaluation of the new flexible contour backrest for wheelchairs

Frédéric Parent, MScA; Jean Dansereau, PhD; Michèle Lacoste, OT; Rachid Aissaoui, PhD

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Industrial Research Chair on Seating Aids, École Polytechnique de Montréal, C.P. 6079, succ. "Centre-ville," Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3C 3A7

Abstract —  new flexible contour backrest for wheelchairs was designed with the objectives of offering adequate posture, uniform pressure distribution, and comfort to the users while keeping the advantages of conventional sling backrests, such as easy to fold, light weight, unobtrusive, and airy. The purpose of this study is to compare the new backrest with two commercially available wheelchair backrests, an adjustable-tension (AT) backrest and a back cushion on a rigid support (RS), in terms of pressure distribution, back profile accommodation, and short-term comfort. Evaluations were done with 15 nonimpaired subjects in a static position. It was shown that the new backrest distributes pressure in a more uniform way than the AT and in a way similar to the RS, while giving a better fit to subjects' trunks than other backrests because of its multiple adjustments. Finally, subjects felt that the new backrest is as comfortable as the RS and more comfortable than the AT.

Key words: backrest, comfort, posture,pressure distribution, wheelchair.

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