PURPOSE: Older adults commonly use wheelchairs for mobility impairments regardless of their living situations. However, limited outcomes data are available to determine quality of the wheelchairs that older Americans are receiving, as well as their satisfaction with wheelchair service delivery programs. The purpose of this article was to analyze satisfaction data collected from three cohorts of older individuals living at nursing homes and in community settings. Ninety participants were residents in VA (n = 60).
METHODS: One hundred thirty two older adults completed the standardized Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with Assistive Technology. Ninety participants were residents in VA (n = 30) or private nursing homes (n = 30), and 42 were community dwelling participants. Those enrolled were either independent manual or power wheelchairs users.
RESULTS: The community dwelling group reported significantly higher levels of satisfaction with their manual wheelchairs and service delivery when compared with the private nursing home participants (4.3 versus 2.9, p = 0.002). The satisfaction was also higher for VA nursing homes than private (3.9 versus 2.9, p = 0.004). No significant differences were reported for satisfaction levels regarding powered wheelchairs use between three groups.
CONCLUSION: Level of satisfaction should be incorporated as an outcomes measure for evaluating wheelchair prescriptions and service delivery programs. This study also supports the establishment of a re-evaluation process of wheelchair fit as the users' age, to aide in provision of the best quality wheelchairs and service delivery programs.