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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(2), 2244-2261; doi:10.3390/ijerph110202244
Article

Exploring Powered Wheelchair Users and Their Caregivers’ Perspectives on Potential Intelligent Power Wheelchair Use: A Qualitative Study

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Received: 2 December 2013; in revised form: 30 January 2014 / Accepted: 10 February 2014 / Published: 21 February 2014
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Abstract: Power wheelchairs (PWCs) can have a positive impact on user well-being, self-esteem, pain, activity and participation. Newly developed intelligent power wheelchairs (IPWs), allowing autonomous or collaboratively-controlled navigation, could enhance mobility of individuals not able to use, or having difficulty using, standard PWCs. The objective of this study was to explore the perspectives of PWC users (PWUs) and their caregivers regarding if and how IPWs could impact on current challenges faced by PWUs, as well as inform current development of IPWs. A qualitative exploratory study using individual interviews was conducted with PWUs (n = 12) and caregivers (n = 4). A semi-structured interview guide and video were used to facilitate informed discussion regarding IPWs. Thematic analysis revealed three main themes: (1) “challenging situations that may be overcome by an IPW” described how the IPW features of obstacle avoidance, path following, and target following could alleviate PWUs’ identified mobility difficulties; (2) “cautious optimism concerning IPW use revealed participants” addresses concerns regarding using an IPW as well as technological suggestions; (3) “defining the potential IPW user” revealed characteristics of PWUs that would benefit from IPW use. Findings indicate how IPW use may help overcome PWC difficulties and confirm the importance of user input in the ongoing development of IPWs.
Keywords: intelligent power wheelchair; mobility; obstacle-avoidance; path following; navigation; user-centered design; disability; safety intelligent power wheelchair; mobility; obstacle-avoidance; path following; navigation; user-centered design; disability; safety
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kairy, D.; Rushton, P.W.; Archambault, P.; Pituch, E.; Torkia, C.; El Fathi, A.; Stone, P.; Routhier, F.; Forget, R.; Demers, L.; Pineau, J.; Gourdeau, R. Exploring Powered Wheelchair Users and Their Caregivers’ Perspectives on Potential Intelligent Power Wheelchair Use: A Qualitative Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 2244-2261.

AMA Style

Kairy D, Rushton PW, Archambault P, Pituch E, Torkia C, El Fathi A, Stone P, Routhier F, Forget R, Demers L, Pineau J, Gourdeau R. Exploring Powered Wheelchair Users and Their Caregivers’ Perspectives on Potential Intelligent Power Wheelchair Use: A Qualitative Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2014; 11(2):2244-2261.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kairy, Dahlia; Rushton, Paula W.; Archambault, Philippe; Pituch, Evelina; Torkia, Caryne; El Fathi, Anas; Stone, Paula; Routhier, François; Forget, Robert; Demers, Louise; Pineau, Joelle; Gourdeau, Richard. 2014. "Exploring Powered Wheelchair Users and Their Caregivers’ Perspectives on Potential Intelligent Power Wheelchair Use: A Qualitative Study." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 11, no. 2: 2244-2261.


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