Our wheelchair project – helping people with MND around the world

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Karen Pearce, the MND Association’s Director of Care, blogs about presenting the Association’s wheelchair project at the Allied Professionals Forum, which happened prior to the International Symposium on ALS/MND.

Karen PearceAt the Allied Professionals Forum I had the opportunity to present our wheelchair project, particularly looking at anticipating future needs and the powered neuro wheelchair. The presentation seemed to go well, however there were no questions at the end. In my mind this could mean a few things, either what I had said wasn’t interesting, or it wasn’t relevant or maybe I had covered everything people wanted to know. This felt unlikely to me.


Thankfully after the presentation a few people approached me, a couple to ask for our evidence so they could influence the people who provided powered wheelchairs in their country. Another person asked about how a feature of the powered neuro wheelchair could possibly be used if the wheelchair was tilted back. Fortunately she uses wheelchairs from one of the manufacturers we work with. Following my talk she is going to ask them for a demonstration model for her to try – a fantastic example of sharing work that will now hopefully support across many countries.

Powered wheelchairs

Healthcare researchers in USA and Australia to use our approach

I was even more delighted that evening when speaking to colleagues from the USA and Australia, they are doing some interesting studies into the use of equipment and keen on our anticipatory approach, and I was interested in their thinking about different equipment being more useful in different presentations of MND. This seems logical, however not much research has been done on this and we are hoping to work across the miles to investigate this more.

It just goes to show, a fifteen minute presentation can result in exciting opportunities to improve services for people with MND that might span thousands of miles!

More information on powered neuro wheelchairs in on our website.

A video of Karen’s presentation is available to view online. Videos of the other presentations from the Allied Professionals Forum are also online.

The MND Association’s vision is a world free from MND. Realising this vision means investing more in research, further developing partnerships with the research community, funding bodies and industry, while ensuring that advances in understanding and treating MND are communicated as quickly and effectively as possible. Our Research Development team, composed of 11 members, work hard to achieve this. Principally, the Research Information team within this are involved in communication activities including this MND Research blog.

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