Impact of structured wheelchair services on satisfaction and function of wheelchair users in Zimbabwe
CITATION: Visagie, S., et al. 2016. Impact of structured wheelchair services on satisfaction and function of wheelchair users in Zimbabwe. African Journal of Disability, 5(1):1-11, doi:10.4102/ajod.v5i1.222.
The original publication is available at http://www.ajod.org
ENGLISH SUMMARY : Background: Providing wheelchairs without comprehensive support services might be detrimental to user satisfaction and function. Objectives: This paper compares wheelchair user satisfaction and function before and after implementation of comprehensive wheelchair services, based on the World Health Organization guidelines on wheelchair service provision in less resourced settings, in Zimbabwe. Method: A pre- and post-test study with a qualitative component was done. Quantitative data were collected with the Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with Assistive Technology for adults and children and the ‘Functioning Every day with a Wheelchair Questionnaire’. Data were collected from 55 consecutively sampled wheelchair users, who received a new wheelchair in the study period. Qualitative data were collected through two audio recorded focus groups and two case studies and are presented through narrative examples. Results: The proportion of adult users who were satisfied significantly increased for all wheelchair and service delivery aspects (p = 0.001 - 0.008), except follow-up (p = 0.128). The same was true for children’s post-test ratings on all variables assessed (p = 0.001 - 0.04), except training in the use of the device (p = 0.052). The biggest improvement in satisfaction figures were for comfort needs (44.3%), indoor mobility (43.2%), outdoor mobility (37.2%), safe and efficient, independent operation (33.5%) and transport (31.4%). The qualitative data illustrated user satisfaction with wheelchair features and services. Conclusion: The wheelchair service programme resulted in significant positive changes in user satisfaction with the wheelchair, wheelchair services and function. It is recommended that the Zimbabwean government and partner organisations continue to support and develop wheelchair services along these guidelines.