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Predictors of type of powered mobility aid for patients: a retrospective study in a Singapore acute hospital.

PURPOSE: Rehabilitation professionals prescribe patients with suitable powered mobility aids (PMAs) based on patient characteristics, e.g., age and mobility. However, there is paucity of literature examining patient characteristics associated with PMA types in Asian contexts. This research aims to study (i) characteristics of Singapore PMA users and (ii) correlations between characteristics and two PMA types - motorised wheelchairs and powered scooters. It is hypothesised that patients' age, mobility status and medical conditions have correlations with PMA types.

METHODOLOGY: A cross-sectional, retrospective study design was used to investigate characteristics of patients (age ≥ 21 years) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital Occupational Therapy Seating Clinic between 2017 and 2019. Comparisons of proportions of motorised wheelchair users versus powered scooter users based on characteristics were analysed using Chi-square test. Subsequently, statistically significant patient characteristics were selected for a multiple logistic regression.

RESULTS: Among 352 patients, 21% and 79% were prescribed motorised wheelchairs and powered scooters, respectively. Patients aged 61-90 years were twice those aged 21-60 years. Males were double of females. Patients of (i) an older age, (ii) more ambulant, (iii) independent in transfers and (iv) in activities of daily living (ADLs), were more likely powered scooter users. Conversely, patients of (i) a younger age, (ii) less ambulant, (iii) require assistance in transfers and (iv) in ADLs were more likely motorised wheelchair users. Patients' gender and caregiver status showed no statistically significant correlations with PMA types.

CONCLUSIONS: Rehabilitation professionals could consider patients' age, mobility status, transfer status and ADL status when prescribing PMA for Asian populations.Implications for rehabilitationGuide rehabilitation professionals in making clinical decisions on the type of powered mobility aid (PMA) to prescribe based on patients' characteristics.Aid in the development of future guidelines for rehabilitation professionals in prescription of PMAs.

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