Objectives: To evaluate the relation between wheelchair breakdowns, their immediate consequences, and secondary health complications after spinal cord injury. “Immediate consequences” occur when part of a wheelchair breaks and leaves an individual stranded or injured, or causes him or her to miss medical appointments, work, or school. Design: Survey, cross-sectional. Setting: Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems Centers. Participants: Full-time wheelchair users (N=771) with SCI from 9 Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems Centers, with data collected between 2011 and 2016. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Incidence of self-reported wheelchair breakdowns within the past 6 months that did or did not result in immediate consequences (ie, injury, being stranded, missing a medical appointment, or an inability to attend school/work); self-perceived health status scale; pain severity numerical rating scale; rehospitalizations; and self-reported pressure injury development within the past 12 months. Results: A total of 610 participants with complete data sets were included in the analyses. When compared to those who reported no breakdowns, participants who reported 1 or more immediate consequences had worse secondary complications: higher self-perceived health status and pain scores (partial −η2=.009-.012, P<.05), and higher odds of rehospitalization (odds ratio: 1.86, P<.05) and pressure injury development (odds ratio: 1.73, P<.05). Secondary health complications were not different in those who reported no immediate consequences compared to those who reported no breakdown. Conclusions: Wheelchair breakdowns that resulted in injury, being stranded, missing medical appointments, and/or an inability to attend work/school appear to have far-reaching impacts on health and secondary injury. Preventing wheelchair breakdowns, through either better maintenance or manufacturing, may be a means of decreasing secondary disability.
- Pressure ulcer
- Spinal cord injuries
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation