There has been a substantial increase in recent years in the availability of poweredwheelchairs and associated features. However, the psychological factorsexplaining feature use are poorly understood. The current study aims to explorethis issue. Semi-structured interviews of 15 British wheelchairs users wereconducted; all had a range of disabilities and clinically prescribed seatingfunctions. Our aim was to explore participants’ perceptions in terms of engagementand use of their wheelchair technology. Interview schedules were generatedbased on prior research on psychological factors associated with health andwell-being. Questions focused on participants’ knowledge of features and how touse them, perceived barriers and facilitating factors, motivation to use andperceptions of social support. A theory led thematic analysis identified threethemes: 1) Clinical benefits and functional alternatives, 2) Expectations vs.reality, 3) The impact of other people. There was diversity in the perceptionsthat users had of their equipment, with positive views of features linking tousers’ experience of functional benefits and matches between equipment andprior expectations. Recommendations are made to highlight functional as well asclinical benefits, to explore therapists’ experiences of their practice, toconsider how information could be presented and to explore uses of socialsupport and innovative technologies in future work.
- seating function
- assistive technology