Video Promotes Improved Wheelchair Seating for Nursing Home Residents

Demonstration of improved wheelchair seating for nursing home residents

The Benedictine Institute for Long Term Care in Mt. Angel, Ore., developed and marketed training materials on its Individualized Seating Program. It also studied the resource and cost implications of the program. The program's goals were to:

  • Improve the quality of life for those wheelchair-bound nursing home residents who required customized wheelchair seating to maximize efficient mobility and independent functioning.
  • Prevent deformity and injury that can result from long-term use of standard wheelchairs.

Key Results

  • Project staff produced two videos and related training manuals targeted to rehabilitation therapists, nursing homes, and family caregivers.
  • Both videos address a wide range of issues, including directions and challenges in assessing patients' needs, reimbursement problems, and ongoing wheelchair maintenance.
  • The institute has begun marketing these materials and developed a marketing plan.

Key Findings
The project also studied the resource and cost implications of providing customized wheelchair seating and produced a report for policymakers, funding agencies, and nursing home administrators.

  • The cost of new wheelchair equipment for the 13 participants ranged from $129 to $1,944, with an average cost of $865.
  • Cost savings were not calculated, but the report hypothesized that savings could come from reduced staff time spent repositioning residents in chairs and assisting them with certain activities of daily living, as well as from lower morbidity costs.
  • The major barriers to increased use of individualized seating are:
    • Lack of knowledge about its benefits and reimbursement restrictions.
    • Lack of adequate training materials for therapists regarding seating assessment and wheelchair selection.
    • Reimbursement policies of both private and public payers significantly limit coverage.

Funding
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided a $48,335 grant from January 1997 to January 1998.

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