Our Research : Collaboration on Mobility Training (COMIT)

Collaboration on Mobility Training (COMIT)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Kevin L. Dalal (Site Investigator)

Co-PI: Rachel Cowan, Ph. D.

Abstract:

A majority of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) use a wheelchair for mobility. Although the wheelchair is one of the most enabling technologies for individuals with SCI, there are problems with wheelchairs that are impacting those that use them. Wheelchair failures are occurring at very high rates. For example, a recent study we conducted found that over 50% of wheelchair users had a failure in a six month time period. The literature also suggests that some manual wheelchair users lack the necessary skills to be completely independent in daily activities and the lack of skills was found to be correlated with a lower quality of life. To address these problems the Collaboration On Mobility Training Project (COMIT) was designed. This project includes two randomized controlled studies of rehabilitation interventions aimed at improving the skills of manual wheelchair users with SCI and their ability to maintain their wheelchairs. An end product of this project will be training programs that can be used by clinicians to teach individuals with SCI the necessary skills for achieving active participation in their lives as well as obtaining a better quality of life. This project is a collaborative effort among four SCI Model Systems (University of Pittsburgh Model Center on SCI, Midwest Regional SCI Care System, Northern New Jersey SCI System, and South Florida SCI System and Dalhousie University).