Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 53 Number 5, 2016
   Pages 585 — 598

Abstract — Everyday sitting behavior of full-time wheelchair users

Sharon E. Sonenblum, PhD;1* Stephen H. Sprigle, PhD, PT;1 James S. Martin, MS, PE2

1Rehabilitation Engineering and Applied Research Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA; 2George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Abstract — The objective of this study was to describe the in-seat movement and weight-shifting behavior of full-time wheelchair users. We measured everyday sitting behavior for 192 d across 28 individuals who used manual wheelchairs as their primary mobility device. To obtain the measurements, we used eight thin force sensors placed under participants' wheelchair cushions. On a typical day, participants spent an average of 10.6 +/–3.0 h in their wheelchair and transferred out of the wheelchair 8.4 +/–4.3 times. Participants only performed pressure reliefs (90% off-loading of the entire buttocks for at least 15 s) 0.4 +/–0.5 times per hour they were seated in the chair, but they performed weight shifts (WSs) (30%–90% off-loading of at least one side of the buttocks for 15 s) with a frequency of 2.4 +/–2.2 times per hour. Despite the higher frequency of WSs, they were not performed in a routine manner. Half of the days studied included one segment of upright sitting lasting at least 2 h without a WS. Given these observations, we conclude that seating evaluations should emphasize positioning individuals in a way that facilitates reaching, leaning, and transferring in a safe manner, not only to improve function but also to affect buttocks loading.

Key Words: activity, behavior, buttocks, interface pressure, monitoring, pressure relief, pressure ulcer, sitting, spinal cord injury, weight shift, wheelchair.

View HTML ¦ View PDF ¦ Contents Vol. 53, No.5

This article and any supplemental material should be cited as follows:
Sonenblum SE, Sprigle SH, Martin JS. Everyday sitting behavior of full-time wheelchair users. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2016;53(5):585–98.

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