Remote monitoring of sitting behaviors for community-dwelling manual wheelchair users with spinal cord injury

Yu-Sheng Yang, PhD1, Jen-Wei You, OTS1, Na-Te Hsiao OTS1, Guan-Liang Chang, PhD2 , Jyh-Jong Chang, PhD1
1 Department of Occupational Therapy, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
2 Department of Biomedical Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan


The purpose of this study is to determine sitting behaviors of community-dwelling manual wheelchair users (MWUs). Twenty community-dwelling manual wheelchair users (MWUs) with a spinal cord injury (11 paraplegic and 9 tetraplegic subjects, cord level range from C4 to L2, ASIA level A/B) participated the study. A custom data logger with six force sensor resistors was installed on a MWU’s daily-use wheelchair. Participants were instructed to disregard the exciting of data logger and pursue their regular activities of daily life. Cumulative sitting time, averaged uninterrupted sitting time4, lift-off frequency, and the symmetry ratio of sitting weight distribution was recorded for 24hr/d over a week period. The result showed that variance of sitting time was observed between MWUs. MWUs spent 9.2 hours per day in their own wheelchair. They sat for an average of 97 minutes without appearing any life-off behavior. The average lift-off frequency was 9.4 times per day. During sitting, MWUs showed a symmetrical right-left weight distribution ratio (1.06) and an asymmetrical front-rear weight distribution ratio (0.5). Community-dwelling MWUs spent long periods of time in their wheelchairs and did not frequently engage in pressure relief technique. Regardless their neurological levels, education on the pressure relief technique is still a core component for all MWUs. Understanding of the precise sitting behaviors for community-dwelling MWUs would contribute to provide effective early interventions in preventing pressure ulcers.


Wheelchairs; Spinal Cord Injuries; Pressure ulcers


This study was funded by the National Science Council, Taiwan (NSC 952321B037001 ).

Author Contact Information:

Yu-Sheng Yang, PhD, Department of Occupational Therapy, Kaohsiung Medical University
100, Shi-chuan 1st Rd., Kaohsiung, Taiwan, R.O.C., Office Phone 886-7-312-1101 ext. 2644