Development and consumer validation of the Functional Evaluation in a Wheelchair (FEW) instrument.

PURPOSE: The purpose of the study is to develop an outcome measurement tool to investigate functional performance of consumers using seating and wheelchair systems as their primary seating and mobility device. The instrument is undergoing systematic development in three phases. The results of Phase 1 will be reported.

METHOD: Manual and power wheelchair users were interviewed using a modified version of a client-centred outcome measure. An item bank was derived based on the interview data. Subjects were then asked to validate item categories of the new instrument, and finally to self-administer the first version of the instrument.

RESULTS: Subjects reported 154 self-care, productivity, and leisure occupational performance issues related to their current seating-mobility system. Based on their input, 10 categories (i.e. transfers, reach, accessing task surfaces, transportation-portability, human-machine interface, architectural barriers, transportation-accessibility, transportation-securement, natural barriers and accessories) were validated for inclusion in the new outcome measure, Functional Evaluation in a Wheelchair (FEW).

CONCLUSION: The items on the FEW focus on the interaction between the consumer, the technology, and the milieu. Consumers viewed the overall importance of FEW categories for seating-mobility system users differently than when they self-administered the FEW.