Wheelchair Project with Central CDC

Understanding recurrent wheelchair mobility issues by elderly and needy residents

“These recurring mobility issues such as high costs, shortage of spare parts, and lack of strength to use manual wheelchairs substantially impact the quality of life.”

Community Social Support Provider

What are the mobility issues?

  • Current wheelchairs in the market are mostly made for disabled people or hospital patients. Elderly users have very different needs and conditions than those people; they are frail, but not disabled.
  • Problems such as loose wires and spoilt batteries do occur, prompting the need for regular maintenance. Furthermore, there are many brands and types of wheelchairs - such that there are no common or interchangable spare parts. Workshops find it uneconomical to store a sufficient and wide variety.

What NUS CARES uncovered

  • While the scheme to make wheelchairs affordable to the elderly has been in place (i.e. Senior Mobility Fund), the post-purchase support system also needs to be improved. This includes maintenance, repair, and replacement of wheelchairs.
  • The result was a power add-on module – a battery-powered unit that can be attached to a manual wheelchair to provide the power needed to function like a motorised wheelchair. This acts as temporary mobility solution to users whose motorised wheelchairs are sent for repair, during which time they are only loaned manual wheelchairs.

“The ultimate target of this project is to develop a more holistic solution to the problems faced by these wheelchair users. The solution includes educating users and caregivers on the proper handling and maintenance of their wheelchairs.”

Dr Andi Sudjana Putra, Academic Advisor

For more details about the NUS CARES Wheelchair project, please click here.

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