To test the hypotheses that, in comparison with a Control group that received standard care, users of manual wheelchairs who also received the French-Canadian version of the Wheelchair Skills Training Program (WSTP) would significantly improve their wheelchair-skills capacity and that these improvements would be retained at 3 months.
Multi-center, single-blind randomized controlled trial (RCT).
39 manual wheelchair users, a sample of convenience.
3 rehabilitation centers in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Participants were randomly allocated to the WSTP or Control groups. Participants in both groups received standard care. Participants in the WSTP group also received a mean of 5.9 training sessions (mean total duration of 5 hours and 36 minutes).
Main Outcome Measures
The French-Canadian version of the Wheelchair Skills Test (WST) (Version 3.2) was administered at baseline (T1), post-training (T2, a mean of 47 days after T1) and at follow-up (T3, a mean of 101 days after T2).
At T2, the mean ± SD total percentage WST capacity scores were 77.4 ± 13.8% for the WSTP group and 69.8 ± 18.4% for the Control group (p = 0.0296). Most of this difference was due to the Community-level skills (p=0.0018). The total and subtotal WST scores at T3 decreased by ≤ 0.5% from the T2 values, but differences between groups at T3, adjusting for T1, did not reach statistical significance (p ≥ 0.017 at a Bonferroni-adjusted α level of 0.005).
WSTP training improves wheelchair skills immediately after training, particularly at the Community-skills level, but this study did not show statistically significant differences between the groups at 3 months.