The purpose of this paper is to explain the development, methodology, and implementation
of an assistive technology (AT) service delivery protocol using a telerehabilitation
consultation model for evaluation of remote wheelchair prescriptions. The provision
of wheeled mobility and seating interventions can be complex when considering people
with intricate seating and positioning needs, environmental factors, and wide array
of product interventions. The availability of qualified practitioners with specialty
expertise in this area is limited, especially outside of urban areas. Therefore, people
are potentially isolated from rehabilitation services due to geography or physical
limitations. A repeated measure study design is used to evaluate the service delivery
protocol measured by the effectiveness of wheeled mobility and seating interventions
provided in a remote location by a generalist occupational and/or physical therapy
practitioner with consultation from an expert therapist via interactive teleconferencing.
Effectiveness is measured by magnitude of change and scored by pre and post scores
of the Functioning Everyday with a Wheelchair (FEW) outcome measure tool. Two model
programs have been specified and are currently implementing the service delivery protocol.
The live interaction has enabled remote therapists the ability to exchange personal
and health information to experts in the field from an urban facility. The impact
of this service delivery protocol will be augmented as it is to be launched and replicated
in three additional sites. Telerehabilitation is a new field that can only be measured
by its long-term impact; however, its success can be looked at by its development
and implementation into everyday clinical service delivery.