The Wheelchair Procurement Process: Perspectives of Clients and Prescribers

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Abstract

Background.Increasing choices in assistive technology have made the process of procuring a wheelchair more complex and challenging. Purpose.To explore the intricacies of the procurement process from the perspectives of clients and therapists. Methods.Thirty-four participants were interviewed, including 13 wheelchair prescribers, 14 wheelchair users, and 7 wheelchair associates (family members and caregivers). Findings.Analysis revealed five main themes. “Who decides? ” described varying degrees of client involvement in the procurement process. “Expert knowledge” reflected the expert knowledge that all parties possessed. “Form versus function” captured the primary and, at times, conflicting outcomes that participants wanted to achieve. “Fitting in” depicted the environmental factors that affected wheelchair procurement. “(Re)solutions” illustrated strategies that participants felt improved the process. Implications.This study reveals clients' experiences with wheelchair procurement, identifies potential issues therapists may encounter, and suggests possible remedies they might consider when prescribing wheelchairs within a client-centred framework.

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