Abstract

Tilt-in-space (TIS) wheelchairs are common in residential care, but little empirical evidence exists regarding how they are used by residents and staff in these settings. As part of a larger study exploring the use of wheeled mobility in these facilities, we conducted a substudy to examine how TIS wheelchairs are used in practice and to explore the experiences of the residents who use them. We conducted a series of three participant observations and interviews with 6 residents or their family members and interviewed 10 staff. Our analysis identified taking control as the main overarching theme, subsuming two subthemes: promoting comfort and mobilizing to participate. Findings suggest that power TIS wheelchairs enable user control, whereas manual TIS wheelchairs promote staff control. These findings illustrate how TIS wheelchairs may enable or inhibit occupational engagement and suggest that vigilance is necessary to prevent their use as a restraint.

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