Education & Evidence /

Material Matters: The Substance and Design of Custom Power Wheelchairs

(1 hrs./ 0.1 CEUs)

General Overview:

The materials used in complex rehab technology (CRT) are sophisticated and varied.  Clinicians and ATPs recommend CRT for their clients every day, and the composition of this equipment has a direct impact on the clients’ health, functional performance, physical experience, and overall quality of life.  Clinical decision making should include a more in depth understanding of the materials that make up the equipment selected.  Yet, many clinicians and ATPs have had a lack of extensive training and experience with these materials due to insufficient emphasis in current trainings and courses, productivity demands of the rehab clinic, and an ever-changing industry involving improving technologies and materials.  This 60-minute live lecture will address how materials are designed, used and combined in CRT to improve the lives of clients and provide a comprehensive look at materials that are typically incorporated into power wheelchairs.  Materials such as plastics, rubbers, gels, steel, aluminum, and copper will be reviewed, with an emphasis on the complexities and variations that exist within these deceptively general material descriptions.  By the end of the course, clinicians will have an improved ability to recognize different materials associated with individually configured power wheelchair design and be able to discuss significant advantages and disadvantages of each material.

CEU Objectives: By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Distinguish the specific materials used to fabricate the chassis and actuators of a power wheelchair including the differences in integrity and function of the selected material
  2. Compare the difference between linear and non-linear suspension springs used in power wheelchairs used in suspension spring fabrication
  3. Identify 3 implications of material choice and design in individually power wheelchair recommendations on the safety associated with the ISO wheelchair CRT standards that are intended to protect the end user.
  4. Describe at least 3 other materials used in the fabrication and design of an individually configured power wheelchair necessary to improve function utilizing the ICF model approach.
  5. Discover 2 funding considerations when procuring an individually configured power seating and mobility device with optimal materials relative to how those materials are medically necessary for the user.


AOTA Classification Code(s):  Category 2:  Occupational Therapy Process


See our upcoming onsite education courses at the Permobil Academy.


Full Course Detail Flyer PDF: Material Matters_Power Wheelchair

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