Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 53 Number 2, 2016
   Pages 279 — 294

Abstract — Transfer component skill deficit rates among Veterans who use wheelchairs

Alicia M. Koontz, PhD;1* Chung-Ying Tsai, PhD;1 Nathan S. Hogaboom, BS;1 Michael L. Boninger, MD1–2

1Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Department of Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA; and Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; 2Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

Abstract — The purpose of this study was to quantify the deficit rates for transfer component skills in a Veteran cohort and explore the relationship between deficit rates and subject characteristics. Seventy-four men and 18 women performed up to four transfers independently from their wheelchair to a mat table while a therapist evaluated their transfer techniques using the Transfer Assessment Instrument. The highest deficit rates concerned the improper use of handgrips (63%). Other common problems included not setting the wheelchair up at the proper angle (50%) and not removing the armrest (58%). Veterans over 60 yr old and Veterans with moderate shoulder pain were more likely to set up their wheelchairs inappropriately than younger Veterans (p = 0.003) and Veterans with mild shoulder pain (p = 0.004). Women were less likely to remove their armrests than men (p = 0.03). Subjects with disabilities other than spinal cord injury were less inclined to set themselves up for a safe and easy transfer than the subjects with spinal cord injury (p </= 0.001). The results provide insight into the disparities present in transfer skills among Veterans and will inform the development of future transfer training programs both within and outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Koontz AM, Tsai CY, Hogaboom NS, Boninger ML. Transfer component skill deficit rates among Veterans who use wheelchairs. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2016;53(2): 279–94.

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