Mobility Scooters – Directory of Academic Studies

By Maurice

Mobility scooters have many pros and cons, many of which are backed up by scientific studies. 

On this page we've assembled every study on the benefits (and drawbacks) of mobility scooters that we could find, so you can quickly see the science behind these devices...

Study Name

Publication

Journal of Transport & Health

Purpose

This paper is a state-of-the-art review. It describes the current research knowledge on mobility scooters, shows where gaps in knowledge exist and where future research needs to focus.

Methods

This review examines the current knowledge of mobility scooters in relation to the effects they have on the user, in particular the user perspective of their device and any changes to the physical health of the user.

Results

There is a dearth of literature on mobility scooters. Where it does exist it is often research in combination with and undifferentiated from electric wheelchairs. Like scooter users, many manual wheelchair users have some physical functionality that allows them some mobility (Hoenig et al., 2002). However, whilst a useful starting point the evidence from these studies will not always be relevant to scooter users. In the UK electric wheelchairs are only provided on the NHS to those people who need wheelchairs fulltime and are unable to propel themselves in a manual wheelchair (Standards for Better Health, 2005) unlike a mobility scooter, which is a private purchase. To gain a wider understanding of what may be relevant to mobility scooter users, some evidence on wheelchairs have been included here. Where evidence relates only to scooters this has been made apparent.

Conclusion

In terms of user experience, most users felt their scooter has had a positive impact upon their lives and perceive their scooter in a positive light. Their scooter meets their needs by enabling them to independently achieve their desired activities. It is clear that matching the mobility device to the individual and training the individual to use their mobility device is important. However, neither of these occur regularly.

Study Name

Publication

Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology

Purpose

To explore the individual experience of being a scooter user and the ways in which scooters impact the individual’s community and social engagement, daily activities and enhances mobility.

Methods

A qualitative, constructive framework utilising purposive sampling and a semi structured interview was used with 14 individuals. Questions were categorised according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health framework into the three areas of activities, participation and environmental factors.

Results

The three main themes identified through the research were knowledge, engagement and environments. Knowledge included a lack of concise information, and adequate trialling and training prior to purchase.


Engagement consisted of participation and interaction demonstrating scooter use resulted in increased participation, role maintenance, choice, freedom and social interaction. Environments highlighted discrimination from the wider population and building design and barriers.

Conclusion

The research demonstrated a strong positive impact on individual’s engagement from using a scooter, while highlighting a lack of adequate knowledge about scooters, batteries, skill ability and design along with environmental challenges of discriminatory attitudes and physical barriers. The research indicates the need for pre-purchase assessments and trials along with improvements in community attitudes and environments.

Study Name

Publication

New Zealand Medical Journal

Purpose

The purpose of the study was to understand the typical mobility scooter rider,
how they use their scooter and the role it plays in their lives.

Methods

A 30-item purpose designed questionnaire was used to collect data on rider demographics and mobility status, reasons for purchasing and using a mobility scooter, patterns of scooter use, and the role it plays in the individual’s life. Riders aged 65 years and older were recruited from the wider Dunedin community.

Results

Cell

Conclusion

For the participants in this study their scooter was their prime form of transport and in several instances the scooter replaced the ownership of a car following the loss of a drivers licence. Their regular use of the scooter suggests that ownership facilitated their independence in a wide range of activities including shopping, socializing and for recreational purposes.


The independence gained by scooter ownership clearly enhanced their ability to “get around” in their community. While the use of a mobility scooter can facilitate geographical mobility it also has the potential in those who have minimum mobility restrictions to reduce the actual amount of walking an individual may do. This may in turn impact on their overall health status.

Study Name

Publication

Taylor & Francis Journal

Purpose

Older adults with low vision are a growing population with rehabilitation needs including support with community mobility to enable community participation. Some older adults with low vision choose to use mobility scooters to mobilize within their community, but there is limited research about the use by people with low vision. This paper describes a pilot study and asks the question: what are the experiences of persons with low vision who use mobility scooters?

Methods

This study gathered the experiences of four participants with low vision, aged 51 and over, who regularly use mobility scooters. Diverse methods were used including a go-along, a semi-structured interview and a new measure of functional vision for mobility called the vision-related outcomes in orientation and mobility (VROOM).

Results

Cell

Conclusion

Scooter use supports autonomy and well-being and community connections for individuals with both mobility and visual impairments.

Low vision scooter users demonstrate self-regulation of their scooter use to manage both their visual and environmental limitations.

Issues of accessibility experienced by this sample affect a wider community of footpath users, emphasizing the need for councils to address inadequate infrastructure.

Rehabilitators can support their low vision clients’ scooter use by acknowledging issues of accessibility and promoting self-regulation strategies to manage risks and barriers.

Study Name

Publication

Taylor & Francis Journal

Purpose

To explore spouses’ experiences of the value of mobility scooters prescribed to their partner.

Methods

A descriptive design with a qualitative approach was used. Thirteen spouses (11 females) aged 65–86 years participated. Semi-structured interviews were conducted when the spouse’s partner had had the mobility scooter for 4–6 months. The interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

Results

The interviews showed primarily that the spouses experienced that their everyday lives and life situation had improved since their partner had received a mobility scooter. They reported that they could engage in activities of their own choice to a greater extent. The prescription of a mobility scooter to their partner had also yielded a sense of freedom related to shared activities. On the other hand, the spouses described some of the scooter’s limitations. Three categories emerged: a sense of freedom related to the spouse’s own activities, a sense of freedom related to shared activities and a somewhat restricted freedom.

Conclusion

Prescription of a powered mobility scooter was of value to the users’ spouses because it facilitated independent and shared activities and participation in the community. The value was mainly expressed as a sense of freedom when doing things on their own or together with their partner.


Spouses are key persons in the rehabilitation of people with mobility restrictions. Their views on the assistive device may influence the rehabilitation process. Knowledge of spouses’ experiences is thus crucial, as this may influence the future rehabilitation outcome.

Study Name

Publication

Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology

Purpose

The aim was to investigate outcomes of powered wheelchair and scooter interventions after 4-months and 1-year use regarding need for assistance when moving around, frequency of mobility-related participation, easiness/difficulty in mobility during participation, and number of participation aspects performed in everyday life.

Methods

The study was a prospective cohort study, using an instrument focusing on mobility-related participation outcomes of mobility device interventions (NOMO 1.0), at baseline, after 4-months and 1-year use.

Results

The results show that the outcomes in terms of participation frequency and easiness in mobility occur in a short time perspective, and that the effects remained stable at 1-year follow-up. The frequency of going for a walk increased most prominently (26%). Even though the majority of the participation aspects were not performed, more often they became easier to perform: 56-91% found that shopping, walking and visiting family/friends were easier. Moreover, independence outdoors and indoors increased. 

Conclusion

The overall conclusion is that changes in the participation frequency and easiness in mobility-related participation seem to occur in a short time period. Going for a walk, shopping, visiting restaurants and culture or sport events increased. Easiness in participation can therefore be considered as an important outcome dimension of powered scooters. In addition, the device clearly increased independence in mobility. 

Study Name

Publication

Taylor & Francis Journal

Purpose

Older people experiencing a decline in their mobility often choose to use a mobility scooter. They are used by those with mobility impairments to enable them to travel independently and engage in activities outside the home.


This project explored the perceptions of mobility scooters by older adults who experience mobility difficulties but do not use mobility scooters. It aimed to understand how scooters were perceived by this group to uncover any barriers to scooter use and to help in predicting future uptake.

Methods

Semi-structured interviews were carried out to enable the elicitation of attitudes and perceptions about mobility decline and mobility scooters. All the interviewees were classified as preclinically disabled so that they had some mobility limitations that would indicate that a mobility scooter could be beneficial to increase their mobility.

Results

Non-mobility scooter user are wary of scooter users due to negative experiences interacting with them. Potential personal scooter uptake is viewed with great reluctance and as an indication that they themselves have given up.

Conclusion

Older adults with mobility impairments could benefit from using a mobility scooter by gaining an improved quality of life, engagement and social relationships. However the wish to disassociate oneself with ageing or physically decline means that large proportions of this population are unwilling to.

Study Name

Publication

Taylor & Francis Journal

Purpose

This study evaluates the effect of electric powered wheelchairs/scooters (PWC/S) on occupational performance, social participation, health and life satisfaction. In addition, this study estimates the costs and benefits of PWC/S and describes users’ experiences with the delivery process.

Methods

PWC/S improved the users’ daily lives, their ability to engage in mobility-related activities and their social participation. For a majority of the users, estimated independence, feelings of safety and self-esteem increased although overall health and life satisfaction were not significantly affected. All users thought that the therapist had considered their needs during the providing process.


Most participants (73%) were satisfied with their device at follow-up. For the 12 users who reported no change in health status between measures, the mean societal savings based on calculated costs for assistance was €6227 per person per year.

Results

Non-mobility scooter user are wary of scooter users due to negative experiences interacting with them. Potential personal scooter uptake is viewed with great reluctance and as an indication that they themselves have given up.

Conclusion

Powered scooters seems to improve occupational performance, social participation and life satisfaction for users. Moreover, these improvements seem to have an economic advantage for both users and society.

Study Name

Publication

Taylor & Francis Journal

Purpose

The aim was to explore the effect of using a powered mobility device (PMD) on older peoples' activity, participation and quality of life (QoL).

Methods

A pre- and post-intervention design with outcome measures for activity, participation (Individually Prioritized Problem Assessment, IPPA; World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule, WHODAS 2.0) and QoL (SF-36) were used. T-test was used to analyse the data. The magnitude of the effects was measured by Cohen's criteria for effect sizes (d).

Results

The sample consisted of 45 individuals (36 men) aged 66–88 years referred for prescription of a PMD. All were prescribed a powered scooter (PS). A statistically significant improvement with a large effect on IPPA in the ICF domains of Self-care (d = 2.47), Domestic life (d = 2.40), Interpersonal interactions and relationships (d = 2.08), and Community, social, and civic life (d = 2.36) was found. Medium-sized improvement on the WHODAS 2.0 domain of Participation and small improvements in the SF-36 domains of Physical Health and Role-Physical were also found.

Conclusion

A powered scoter has significant effects on the areas of activity, participation and quality fof life in elderly people.

Study Name

Publication

UCL - London's Global University

Purpose

This thesis aimed to understand how older people with mobility difficulties viewed mobility scooters. The research also aimed to uncover the prevalence of mobility scooters in the population of older people in the UK.

Methods

The research employed a mixed-methods approach by utilising a cohort database; creating and analysing a questionnaire of scooter users; and carrying out interviews with scooter users, non-scooter users and stakeholders.

Results

Cell

Conclusion

The results showed that scooters gave users a greatly valued means of independent travel. Scooter usage is increasing in the older population and is expected to continue rising, which makes the value of understanding the effect of mobility scooters of even greater importance.

Study Name

Publication

Taylor & Francis Journal

Purpose

Power wheelchairs and scooters have the potential to increase community participation for people with mobility limitations. However, there are also challenges associated with use. The aims of this study were to investigate the characteristics of adults who use power wheelchairs and scooters, explore the process of power-mobility provision and examine the benefits and challenges of use.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey design was used to recruit power wheelchair or scooter users, aged over 18 years, or their carer, living in New South Wales, Australia. The survey was distributed by mail and e-mail.

Results

Two hundred and two usable surveys were returned, 25% were power wheelchair users (median age: 57 years, IQR: 40–69) and 74% were scooter users (mean age: 81 years, IQR: 72–85). Only one-third of users (33%) consulted a health professional prior to purchasing their device. Benefits included increased independence and quality of life.


Challenges included environmental barriers and accidents. A sizeable proportion of respondents (21%) reported accidents in the previous year, often resulting in personal injury and damage to their device.

Conclusion

Power-mobility devices have many benefits for users, but can also have negative outcomes, like accidents resulting in injuries. Further high quality studies need to be conducted to determine whether the positive benefits outweigh the negative outcomes such as accidents and injuries.


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