DOI: 10.5014/ajot.2023.050150 ISSN: 0272-9490

Impact of Seating and Mobility Services for Individuals With Disabilities in El Salvador

Nathan Short, Heather St. Peters, Jonah Eckert, Natalie Grady, Erin Kline, Holly Weber
  • Occupational Therapy


Importance: Outcomes research on the impact of seating and mobility services delivered using a short-term medical mission (STMM) model is limited.

Objective: To evaluate the impact of seating and mobility services on the occupational performance of individuals with disabilities in El Salvador.

Design: One-group retrospective pretest–posttest.

Setting: Clinical (El Salvador).

Participants: Individuals with disabilities in El Salvador.

Outcomes and Measures: Survey and the standardized Wheelchair Outcome Measure (WhOM) for those who received a wheelchair as their mobility device.

Method: Participants rated satisfaction with performance of preferred in-home and out-of-home occupations on the WhOM before and after receiving seating and mobility services.

Results: For most survey questions assessing the impact on activities of daily living, more than 86% of the respondents selected agree or strongly agree. Nearly half of the respondents reported that questions regarding work and education were not applicable. Participants’ WhOM scores (n = 86) demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in performance satisfaction for both in-home (p < .001; d > 1) and out-of-home (p < .001; d > 1) occupations after they received services, with a huge effect size (d > 2).

Conclusions and Relevance: The findings suggest that seating and mobility services provided by rehabilitation professionals in El Salvador improved occupational performance for people with disabilities. Compared with STMMs that solely provide equipment, the findings emphasize the importance of professional service provision with education and training as best practice.

What This Article Adds: Seating and mobility services delivered through a STMM model may improve occupational performance for individuals with disabilities. However, STMMs should be carefully planned in collaboration with in-country partners, provide customized seating systems, and include education and training from licensed rehabilitation professionals.

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