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This multi-site, collaborative study led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh investigates the equity and quality of assistive technology provision and outcomes for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). Researchers will collect data on wheelchair repair and failure, investigate the use of smart home technologies, identify barriers and facilitators to assistive technology use, explore the influence of characteristics such as financial strain, educational quality, and health literacy on differences in assistive technology quality and disseminate research findings to enable individuals with SCI to make informed choices.

Findings from this research have been published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. In their paper, the researchers report that wheelchair repairs affect more than 50% of wheelchair users with significant financial and personal cost and that high repair rates limit participation inside and outside of the home. They found disparities exist based on participant and wheelchair factors; repairs and adverse consequences appear to hit those most vulnerable with the least financial resources. 

If you sustained a traumatic spinal cord injury at least one year ago, you may be eligible to participate in this study. Researchers are looking for individuals to answer questions about their experience with wheelchairs and assistive technology. If you are interested in learning more, please visit this website.

Michael Boninger, MD, Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Lynn Worobey, PhD, DPT, Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh and a Research Scientist at the VA R&D Center of Excellence are co-principal investigators on this project.

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