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Effectiveness of a Wheelchair Skills Training Program for Power Mobility Users: A Randomized Controlled Trial

This study has been completed.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Lee Kirby, Nova Scotia Health Authority Identifier:
First received: September 8, 2011
Last updated: May 6, 2016
Last verified: May 2016
This is a 3-year multi-centre, single-blinded, randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the hypothesis that wheelchair skills training (using a systematic training program called the Wheelchair Skills Training Program) improves wheelchair skills and safety of 144 powered wheelchair users. A second objective is to assess the effects of age, sex, training centre, and participant experience on outcomes, assessing the retention of benefits and assessing the impact of training on other important outcomes.

Condition Intervention
Movement Disorders
Other: Wheelchair skills training program

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
Official Title: Effectiveness of a Wheelchair Skills Training Program for Power Mobility Users: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Nova Scotia Health Authority:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Change from baseline in Wheelchair Skills, WST 4.1 questionnaire version [ Time Frame: baseline, 1 month , 3 months ]
    A measure of what the person 'can do' (capacity), 'does do' (performance), and the safety of various wheelchair skills. The Wheelchair Skills Test (WST) version 4.1 in questionnaire format will be used.

Enrollment: 116
Study Start Date: June 2012
Study Completion Date: September 2014
Primary Completion Date: September 2014 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: wheelchair training Other: Wheelchair skills training program
A training program that uses methods based on the rehabilitation, wheelchair, and motor skills literature to teach wheelchair skills.
No Intervention: Control
Standard of care only


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • new or experienced powered wheelchair users
  • use or are expected to use powered wheelchairs for at least 4 hrs/week
  • have access to a powered wheelchair with a suitable range of controller settings (i.e. able to climb a 5cm level change) for testing and training
  • equal or greater than 18 years of age
  • able to follow directions in either French or English (whichever is in use at the participating site)
  • have the potential to operate their powered wheelchairs independently
  • have room for improvement (in the opinion of the potential participant's clinician)
  • requires no more than minimal assistance for communication and auditory comprehension (in the opinion of the potential participant's clinician)
  • able to follow 2-step commands
  • demonstrate the ability to attend training sessions during the intake session
  • competent to provide their own informed consent
  • able to be comfortably seated in the powered wheelchairs that will be used for the study (if not their own).

Exclusion Criteria:

  • use or are expected to use a scooter
  • have a rapidly progressive disorder (e.g. amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or terminal cancer)
  • have significant visual impairments (legally blind)
  • have unstable medical conditions (e.g. angina, seizures)
  • have emotional problems (e.g. severe anxiety, depression) that might make participation unsafe or unpleasant
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01432418

Canada, British Columbia
GFS Rehabilitation Centre
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V5Z 2G9
Canada, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3H 4K4
Canada, Ontario
University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada, N6G 1H1
Toronto Rehab
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5G 1V7
Canada, Quebec
Centre de Réadaptation Lucie-Bruneau
Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H2H 2N8
Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherche en Réadaptation et Intégration Sociale
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, G1M 2S8
Sponsors and Collaborators
Nova Scotia Health Authority
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Principal Investigator: Lee Kirby, MD, FRCP Nova Scotia Health Authority
  More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: Lee Kirby, Attending Staff Physician, Department of Medicine, Nova Scotia Health Authority Identifier: NCT01432418     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 230378
CDHA-RS/2012-133 ( Other Identifier: Capital Health Ethics Board )
Study First Received: September 8, 2011
Last Updated: May 6, 2016

Keywords provided by Nova Scotia Health Authority:
disability evaluation
motor skills

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Movement Disorders
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases processed this record on May 23, 2017