Wheel Skills

Wheelies are more than a trick. They are an essential navigation tool. iStock photo by Mark Kostich

A series of videos may help build skills needed for wheelchair life.

A new series of short videos aims to help manual wheelchair users develop skills and techniques to increase their independence and avoid some of the medical problems that people with spinal-cord injuries (SCI) experience as they age.

The videos were produced through the SCI Empowerment Project, funded by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, within the University of Washington (UW) Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. It was directed by Rina Reyes, MD, associate professor and medical director of the UW Medicine SCI Rehabilitation Program.

The videos promote proper wheelchair skills to preserve long-term shoulder health and prevent falls. Some of the videos include wheelies in place, wheelies moving forward, wheeling from grass to sidewalk, turning in tight spaces, descending a ramp in a wheelie and navigating curbs, bumpy terrain and potholes.

The videos address a gap in rehab care that therapists and clinicians increasingly see as a result of shortened rehab inpatient stays. Newly injured patients don’t have enough exposure to wheelchair skills during therapy. Learning these skills is essential for patients to confidently navigate their world and return to a full life.

The videos are available at youtube.com/uwspinalcordinjury. For more on the SCI Empowerment Project, visit sci.washington.edu/empowerment.


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