Performance of Manual Wheelchair Skills by Wheelchair Users: Randomized Controlled Comparison Between Conventional Rear Anti-Tip Devices and a New Design

R. Lee Kirby MD, Cher Smith, BSc (OT), Paula Rushton, MSc (OT), Donald A. MacLeod, MSc


Our objective was to test the hypothesis that, in comparison with participants using manual wheelchairs equipped with conventional rear anti-tip devices (C-RADs), wheelchair users using a new design (Arc-RADs, so-named because the RAD arm deploys through an arc) perform RAD-relevant wheelchair skills better and as safely. In this randomized, controlled study, we studied 14 wheelchair users. Participants were provided with wheelchair skills training. For the Control and Arc-RAD groups, the mean (±1SD) subtotal percentage RAD-relevant scores from the Wheelchair Skills Test (WST version 3.2), administered a minimum of 3 days after training, were 27.5% (±8.7%) and 66.1% (±20.7%) respectively (p = 0.017). There were no serious adverse effects in either group. The Arc-RAD design allows better performance on RAD-relevant wheelchair skills than the C-RAD design, without compromising safety. The new design has the potential to improve the mobility and participation of manual wheelchair users.


rehabilitation, wheelchair, rear anti-tip device, Wheelchair Skills Test


Dr. R. Lee Kirby, Dalhousie University, Room 206, Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre, 1341 Summer Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4K4.   Email:


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