Powered mobility device use: participation and accessibility

Detta är en avhandling från Active and Healthy Ageing Research Group, Lund university

Sammanfattning: This thesis elucidates the use of powered mobility devices in a Swedish context. The overall aim was to increase and deepen the knowledge on powered mobility device use in relation to participation and accessibility in different environments and among different user groups, with a specific focus on independence and autonomy. An additional aim was to contribute to the knowledge base regarding the optimization of use of such devices. The thesis is based on four studies in which different research approaches were applied through the combination of different types of data in order to interpret the complexity of powered mobility device use. Quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods were utilized. The first study was a prospective cohort study in which data was collected using structured interviews at baseline and two follow-ups. The second study was an exploratory multiple longitudinal case study. A focus-group methodology with a descriptive design was used in the third study. The fourth study was a cross-sectional study based on survey data collected from people with spinal cord injury. The main contribution of the studies that constitute the empirical basis of this thesis is that the purpose of providing people with powered mobility devices is mostly fulfilled in that such devices provide their users’ with greater opportunities for participation. Nevertheless, there are also problems in terms of accessibility in various environmental arenas that have an impact on mobility. An additional important contribution is that the results show that the experiences of users of powered mobility devices should be taken seriously as they convey different aspects of how the use of such devices could be optimized. In conclusion, this thesis contributes to our understanding of the use of powered mobility devices and has the potential to optimize independence in terms of mobility and participation among users of such devices. Finally, the results have practical implications for occupational therapy in the provision of powered mobility devices. Likewise, this new knowledge about the needs of powered mobility device users in terms of accessibility are of importance to politicians, professionals and other stakeholders engaged in housing provision and physical planning.