Lauren von Bulow – Completed a Bachelor of Human Kinetics in Movement Science Co-op. She has also completed a post-graduate certificate from Humber College in Exercise Science and Lifestyle Management. She is currently attending Queen’s University for Masters of Science, Occupational Therapy.
Von Bulow, L.
Scoping Review: Wheelchair Mobility in the Winter
Purpose: to understand the current online literature on wheelchair mobility in the winter.
Methods: a scoping review was completed using articles found through searching four healthcare/science databases. Results and conclusions: 18 eligible articles from 307 were reported upon in the scoping review. Many common challenges were noted throughout the papers. Snow, ice, cold temperature, inaccessibility to transportation, ramps and cross slopes conditions, and wheelchair designs were identified as winter problems for wheelchair use due to poor clearing and issues with wheelchair design. Additionally, cold temperatures cause health concerns and impact wheelchair function and crosswalk buttons. Moreover, clothing and mittens are also not appropriately designed currently for wheelchair users in the winter. There is very little research to develop or improve winter wheelchair designs. Consequences of these challenges were decreased wheelchair use in winter, negative impacts on psychological and emotional wellbeing, and safety risks. Although some individual strategies are currently used to manage winter mobility issues, most were reported or suggested by youth wheelchair users, and more research is needed in order for them to be generalized and applicable for all wheelchair users. Policy changes related to snow removal and public transportation were mentioned in many articles, however very few specific suggestions were presented. Further research as well as policy makers collaborating directly with individuals with the lived experience of using WMDs is needed. This will enable a better understanding of the challenges WMD users face to best create policies to create positive change.