A preliminary model of wheelchair service delivery. Academic Article uri icon


  • To integrate and expand on previously published models of wheelchair service delivery, and provide a preliminary framework for developing more comprehensive, descriptive models of wheelchair service delivery for adults with spinal cord injury within the U.S. health care system.Literature review and a qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews.Not applicable.Ten academic, clinical, regulatory, and industry experts (Department of Veterans Affairs [VA] and non-VA) in wheelchair service delivery.Not applicable.Interviewees were asked to discuss the full range of variables and stakeholders involved in wheelchair service delivery, and to limit their scope to the provision of primary subsequent or replacement chairs (not backup chairs) to adults within the United States.Most experts we interviewed stressed that clients who require a wheelchair play a central role in the wheelchair service delivery process. Providers (including clinicians, rehabilitation engineers, and rehabilitation counselors) are also critical stakeholders. More so than in other health care settings, suppliers play an integral role in the provision of wheelchairs to clients and may significantly influence the appropriateness of the wheelchair provided. Suppliers often have a direct role in wheelchair service delivery through their interactions with the clinician and/or client. This model also identified a number of system-level factors (including facility administration and standards, policies, and regulations) that influence wheelchair service delivery and ultimately the appropriateness of the wheelchair provided.We developed a detailed, descriptive model of wheelchair service delivery that integrates the delivery process and device outcomes, and includes the patient-level, provider-level, and system-level factors that may directly influence those processes and outcomes. We believe that this detailed model can help clinicians and researchers describe and consider the complexities of wheelchair service delivery. It can be used to identify factors that may be related to disparities in wheelchair service delivery and in the appropriateness of the wheelchair prescribed. Further, this model can help researchers and clinicians identify factors that may be related to disparities in wheelchair service delivery, and intervene to reduce such disparities.

publication date

  • June 2009