Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wheelchair Breakdowns

Wheelchair breakdowns are very disrupting to children and their families.  When a specialized wheelchair breaks many children do not have a back up, making it difficult for positioning, comfort and most importantly a mode of transportation.  Pediatric therapists are frequently called upon to help with quick fixes of wheelchairs. 

Recent research in the American Journal of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation found that about 53% of wheelchair users with spinal cord injury experienced a wheelchair breakdown requiring repair per 6 month period. Previously the rate was about 45% from 2004-2006. In addition, the number of adverse consequences was more than twice as high during the 2006-2011 period than the 2004-2006 period. Power wheelchairs had more problems than manual wheelchairs. Another interesting point was that individuals whose wheelchairs were funded by Medicare or Medicaid had higher rates of breakdowns and consequences, compared to those covered by private insurance or other sources.

Do you find that wheelchairs are breaking down more often than they used to?  Do you find that routine maintenance helps to decrease wheelchair breakdowns?

Reference: Wheelchair breakdowns becoming more common. Retrieved from the web on 5/10/12 at


kidzpta2 said...

because they make them with crap. For what they cost (often the cost of a new car) they are all lemons. We would not put up with our new cars falling apart so often! We can send people into space but cannot make a decent w/c????

Your Therapy Source Inc said...

Many wheelchairs do fall apart so easily so I agree. Only comment is that we want them so lightweight that we have to make a trade off (or perhaps that is just what I have told myself over the years).

The bottom line is the children and their families are left to deal with the fall out which can be very difficult.

Thanks for the comment.

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