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The needs of carers who push wheelchairs

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to establish the outcome of wheelchair prescription procedures for carers supporting a wheelchair user with special reference to their health and well‐being.

Design/methodology/approach – A postal questionnaire was used in conjunction with analysis of policy and practice documents in wheelchair prescription and carers' needs.

Findings – The majority of carers reported a wide range of health problems. A relationship between wheel chair type and reported carer pain was noted. Only a minority of carers considered that they had received an adequate carer's assessment, and few had received training in wheel chair management; such training where it had been carried out, led to reduced reports of pain.

Research limitations/implications – The study invites more detailed analysis of both the conditions under which wheelchair prescribing takes place and the impact of assessment and training on carers' health. The study is based on a relatively small, local sample and a more extensive study is called for.

Practical implications – Procedures for prescription of wheelchairs should be reviewed and steps taken to ensure that adequate consideration is given to the health needs of carers and the circumstances under which they will push the wheelchair.

Social implications – More thoughtful prescription of wheelchairs will lead to increased health of carers improving their quality of life and reduce demands on health services and the accompanying risk to their capacity to carry on caring.

Originality/value – The study addresses a neglected topic, which clearly identifies the consequences of inadequate prescription of wheelchairs for the health of carers, a topic generally neglected in the literature.

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Journal of Integrated Care

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Social care online
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