Original research| Volume 99, ISSUE 8, P1553-1560, August 2018

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Seasonal Patterns of Community Participation and Mobility of Wheelchair Users Over an Entire Year

Published:March 26, 2018DOI:



      To describe how people who use wheelchairs participate and move at home and in the community over an entire yearlong period, including during times of inclement weather conditions.


      Longitudinal mixed-methods research study.


      Urban community in Canada.


      People who use a wheelchair for home and community mobility (N=11).


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Use of a global positioning system (GPS) tracker for movement in community (number of trips per day), use of accelerometer for bouts of wheeling mobility (number of bouts per day, speed, distance, and duration), prompted recall interviews to identify supports and barriers to mobility and participation.


      More trips per day were taken during the summer (P= .03) and on days with no snow and temperatures above 0°C. Participants reliant on public transportation demonstrated more weather-specific changes in their trip patterns. The number of daily bouts of mobility remained similar across seasons; total daily distance wheeled, duration, and speed were higher on summer days, days with no snow, and days with temperatures above 0°C. A higher proportion of outdoor wheeling bouts occurred in summer (P=.02) and with temperatures above 0°C (P=.03). Inaccessible public environments were the primary barrier to community mobility and participation; access to social supports and private transportation were the primary supports.


      Objective support is provided for the influence of various seasonal weather conditions on community mobility and participation for people who use a wheelchair. Longitudinal data collection provided a detailed understanding of the patterns of, and influences on, wheelchair mobility and participation within wheelchair users’ own homes and communities.

      Graphical abstract


      List of abbreviations:

      GPS (Global Positioning System), PRI (prompted recall interviews)
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