Development of a Wheelchair Assessment Checklist: Preliminary Psychometric Analyses

Amol M Karmarkar,MS1-2 ; Diane M Collins,PhD1-2 ; Rory A Cooper, PhD1-2

1 Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA
2 Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh


Wheelchair-related injuries result as a combination of inappropriate prescription/training, inadequate wheelchair maintenance and wheelchair disrepair. Improperly functioning wheelchairs can limit mobility of users and jeopardize their safety. The objective of this study was to develop a Wheelchair Assessment Checklist and to determine its psychometric properties. Twelve assistive technology specialists with expertise in wheeled mobility technology rated two manual wheelchairs independently using the checklist to identify repairs and maintenance issues. Internal consistency and Inter-rater reliability of the checklist was determined using Cronbach’s alpha and Intraclass correlation coefficient respectively. Results suggest a very high internal consistency for both wheelchairs (wheelchair 1: α=.94, wheelchair 2: α=.96) and a moderate Inter-rater reliability (wheelchair 1: ICC=.58, wheelchair 2: ICC=.66). Differences in wheelchairs’ rating were also observed among raters. Further standardization of the checklist is needed to establish it as a reliable and valid risk assessment and safety inspection tool for improving safety of wheelchair users.


Manual Wheelchairs, Risk Assessment, Safety Inspection


The investigators would like to acknowledge participation of all raters. The work was funded by VA Center of Excellence on WARE (#B3142C).

Amol M. Karmarkar, 7180 Highland Drive building 4, 2nd floor, East Wing, 151R1-H Pittsburgh, PA, (412)-954-5312