Manual wheelchair-related mobility characteristics of older adults in nursing homes

Amol M. Karmarkar, Diane M. Collins, Annmarie Kelleher, Dan Ding, Michelle Oyster, Rory A. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Aim.Manual wheelchairs are commonly prescribed for older adults in nursing homes (NH). The extent of their utilisation being unknown may result in the prescription of standard wheelchairs. The purpose of this study was to quantify manual wheelchair use by nursing home residents. Methods.Seventy-two independent wheelchair users were recruited from four NH (two VA-affiliated and two private). A customised wheelchair data logger was attached to each participant's wheelchair for 1 month. Data were reduced and compared separately for VA- affiliated and private facilities by types of propulsion pattern (arms versus legs and the combination of arms and legs) using MANOVA. Results.Participants from the VA-affiliated facilities who used their arms were covering more distance (1451m versus 806m), with greater endurance (73m versus 60m) as compared to participants who used combination of arms and legs. However, no difference was observed between velocity of wheelchair propulsion between groups (0.48m/s versus 0.58m/s). For private facilities no notable difference was observed between the groups. Conclusion.Older adults who live in NH and use of wheelchairs represent a diverse cohort. The efficacy of using an objective assessment method to measure the extent of use of wheelchairs was demonstrated in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-437
Number of pages10
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Older adults
  • mobility
  • nursing homes
  • wheelchair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing


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