Methods of adaptation of persons with mobility impairments to a wheelchair: a literature review


Karapetian Karine Karapetovna, junior researcher, Novokuznetsk Scientific and Practical Centre for Medical and Social Expertise and Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons, 7 Malaya Street, 654055 Novokuznetsk, Kemerovo region, Russian Federation; e-mail:

Vasilchenko Elena Mikhaylovna, PhD, Director General, Novokuznetsk Scientific and Practical Centre for Medical and Social Expertise and Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons, 7 Malaya Street, 654055 Novokuznetsk, Kemerovo region, Russian Federation; e-mail:

In the heading: Original researches

Year: 2020 Volume: 2 Journal number: 4 

Pages: 59-64

Article type: scientific and practical

UDC: 364.04

DOI: 10.26211/2658-4522-2020-2-4-59-64


According to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, mobility is part of the “Activity and participation” domain. Impairments of body functions and structures can compromise person’s mobility and negatively affect the level of activity and participation. Limited mobility has a negative impact on a person’s independence and leads to a deterioration in the quality of life. The most effective method of compensating for limited mobility is the use of assistive devices. Wheelchair is one of the most prescribed assistive devices for mobility. Provision of the wheelchairs to persons with limited mobility is a complex process. Adaptation of a person to a wheelchair is one of the major issues of the process.

Aim. To identify the main methods of adaptation of people with limited mobility to a wheelchair.
Materials and methods. An analytical review of English-language literature on the principles and methods of adaptation of people with limited mobility to wheelchairs was conducted in electronic versions of journals, the official websites of national health services, associations of doctors, social, medical and other institutions, as well as in publicly available national databases.

Results. The Wheelchair Skills Program (WSP) is a well-known and recognized tool for adapting a person to a wheelchair. The Wheelchair Skills Program package is the only available structured wheelchair training program with proven psychometric properties, which is confirmed by numerous studies in different populations. Moreover, the World Health Organization is actively working to improve the provision of appropriate wheelchairs and related services to people with limited mobility. To achieve this goal, various guidelines and recommendations have been developed in recent years, and international communities and research groups have been formed.

Conclusion. Although the problem of the proper provision of wheelchairs and related services remains largely unresolved, there are materials that are already available and that need to be studied in order to be applied in practice in the Russian Federation. The implementation of a comprehensive and structured Wheelchair Skills Program among the target population is critical.

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