alexa The design of attendant propelled wheelchairs.
General Science

General Science

Journal of Ergonomics

Author(s): Abel EW, Frank TG

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Abstract The attendant operated wheelchair is propelled by applying forces to handles at the rear of the chair. There are no published data to justify the design of pushing handles on existing wheelchairs. In Dundee, studies of pushing have been conducted in order to obtain subjective preferences for location and design of handles and an understanding of biomechanical factors associated with wheelchair pushing. Preferred positions for handles have been found to be in the region of 0.75 of shoulder height, 1.14 times shoulder width although deviations of +/- 5\% in these values are still rated as acceptable. The preferred positions do not correspond to minimum levels of resultant force or with lowest levels of moment in any of the upper body joints. Moments occurring at the lower back are not substantially affected by handle position. The biomechanical analysis so far has not revealed why some handle positions are more comfortable for pushing than others. Further study, involving calculation of resultant moments (rather than just sagittal plane moments) at these joints and at the lower body joints, is a next step in attempting to find the indicators of discomfort. Transferring a patient from or to a wheelchair can be a difficult operation with risks of accidents to the patient through falling and risks to the attendant of strain, particularly to the back. Current footrests on wheelchairs are a major source of the problems during transfer. A new approach to footrest design is described which solves these difficulties by using a footrest that lowers onto the floor. This has other attractive features such as providing good stability and restraint of the chair during transfer.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
This article was published in Prosthet Orthot Int and referenced in Journal of Ergonomics

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