University of Pittsburgh Seeks Participants for Wheelchair Transfer Study

The University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Model Center on Spinal Cord Injury are seeking participants for a new research study on the effectiveness of a remote wheelchair transfer training program.

“This research is extremely important as wheelchair users transfer between 15 and 20 times per day,” said Clinical Research Coordinator Karen Greenwald, RN, BSN, CCRC. “If done incorrectly, it can lead to pain in the shoulder, elbow and hand. This can negatively impact all aspects of mobility.”

Researchers will study how effective a Web-based training program is at improving wheelchair users’ transferring.

The program is recruiting “individuals that use a wheelchair for a majority [of their] mobility and can transfer independently.” Wheelchair users do not qualify if they have pain that prohibits transferring; if they stand or use their lower extremities to transfer; or if they currently have or have had a pressure injury in the last three months. Participants need to be 18 to 75 years old.

The transfer training program is currently available for public use. It demonstrates different transfer techniques and offers transfer advice for caregivers. People who access the training program will also have access to a Facebook forum that will focus on transfer techniques and tips.

To learn more about the study or the transfer program, visit You can call (412) 822-3666 or e-mail [email protected] to speak to study coordinator Emily Bird.

The study will be conducted entirely online, and participants will complete activities such as filling out questionnaires and reviewing an interactive training module. Participants will also be asked how they currently transfer and whether they experience pain while transferring.

Researchers are ultimately looking for 200 people to participate in the study.

This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of Mobility Management.

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