Efficacy of Wheelchair Skills Training in Groups on the Wheelchair-Skill Abilities of Health Professionals

François Routhier, PEng, PhD, R Lee Kirby, MD, Valérie Lemay, OT Candidat, Malgorzata Depa, OT, MSc, Geneviève Grondin, OT, MSc, and Louise Demers, OT©, PhD
Research Centre, Montréal Geriatric University Institute, Montréal, Canada


The Wheelchair Skills Program (WSP) is an integrated system that can be used for testing and training wheelchair skills. To date, a number of methods have been used to train health professionals to perform WSP testing and training. There have only been a few reports in the literature on the efficacy of wheelchair skills training, in groups, for health professionals. The objective of this study was to document the efficacy of wheelchair skills training in groups on the wheelchair-skill abilities of health professionals. Twenty-six health professionals were trained in an 8-hour workshop. Eight participants were evaluated twice (pre and post training) with the French-Canadian version of the Wheelchair Skills Test (WST-F) (Version 3.2). There was a significant improvement between pre- and post-training on the WST-F Total Score (73.7±8.5% to 84.3±10.2%, p=0.001) and on the WST-F Advanced Sub-score (11.6±27.5% to 42.9±34.6%, p=0.008). Participants also had a better perception of their wheelchair-skills abilities after training sessions, as measured on a 10cm Visual Analogue Scale (5.7±2.6cm to 7.2±1.2cm, p=0.058). In conclusion, wheelchair skills training in group sessions seems to be an effective way to improve the wheelchair-skills abilities of health professionals who have to train and test wheelchair skills. These results have implications for the education of rehabilitation health professionals.


Wheelchair; wheelchair skills; training; health professional.


This study was being funded by the Quebec Provincial Rehabilitation Network of the Fonds de recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ). François Routhier holds a postdoctoral fellowship from the Institute of Aging of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) (2005-2007) and from the FRSQ (2004 and 2008).

Contact Information:

François Routhier, PhD, CIRRIS-IRDPQ, 525 boul Hamel est, Québec, Canada, G1M 2S8. Phone: 418-529-9141 ext 6256. Fax: 418-529-3548. Email: Francois.Routhier@rea.ulaval.ca.