Research Article  |   February 2015
Taking Control: An Exploratory Study of the Use of Tilt-in-Space Wheelchairs in Residential Care
Author Affiliations
  • Sneha Shankar, MSc, MOT, is Doctoral Student and Occupational Therapist, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver; sneha.shankar@ubc.ca
  • W. Ben Mortenson, MSc, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver; Principal Investigator, International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries, University of British Columbia/Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, Vancouver; and Principal Investigator, G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Research Program, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, British Columbia
  • Justin Wallace, MOT, is Manager, Yukon Government, Health and Social Services, Continuing Care Division, Extended Care Branch, Whitehorse, Yukon
Article Information
Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia / Diabetes / Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Health and Wellness / Long-Term Care/Skilled Nursing Facilities / Neurologic Conditions / Spinal Cord Injury / Stroke / Rehabilitation, Disability, and Participation
Research Article   |   February 2015
Taking Control: An Exploratory Study of the Use of Tilt-in-Space Wheelchairs in Residential Care
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 2015, Vol. 69, 6902290040p1-6902290040p8. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.013565
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 2015, Vol. 69, 6902290040p1-6902290040p8. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.013565
Abstract

Tilt-in-space (TIS) wheelchairs are common in residential care, but little empirical evidence exists regarding how they are used by residents and staff in these settings. As part of a larger study exploring the use of wheeled mobility in these facilities, we conducted a substudy to examine how TIS wheelchairs are used in practice and to explore the experiences of the residents who use them. We conducted a series of three participant observations and interviews with 6 residents or their family members and interviewed 10 staff. Our analysis identified taking control as the main overarching theme, subsuming two subthemes: promoting comfort and mobilizing to participate. Findings suggest that power TIS wheelchairs enable user control, whereas manual TIS wheelchairs promote staff control. These findings illustrate how TIS wheelchairs may enable or inhibit occupational engagement and suggest that vigilance is necessary to prevent their use as a restraint.