Survey builds case for rehab

Saturday, January 31, 2009

WASHINGTON--An informal coalition of industry and consumer groups plans to release a consumer survey designed to quantify the need for complex rehab equipment and services.

In January, the coalition was finalizing the two-part consumer survey, which will be available online during the first quarter of this year.

“The primary point of this survey is to raise awareness and back up any claims that we and other consumer groups make in trying to impact public policy decisions,” said Eric Larson, executive director of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA) and spokesman for the coalition.

The survey is the first undertaking by the coalition, which includes NSCIA, the United Spinal Association, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, United Cerebral Palsy, the National Coalition on Disability Rights, the Paralyzed Veterans Association, Invacare, Sunrise Medical, Permobil, The ROHO Group and AAHomecare.

Each participating consumer group has agreed to make the survey available to its members, Larson said.  The first part of the survey consists of 15 questions that ask consumers about the process of acquiring a wheelchair and whether that process met their needs.

Consumers will also have the option of completing a second, more in-depth part. Possible questions include: “Were you given a choice of manufacturers and models? Were different features of the chair explained to you? Do you feel you received the right kind of training?” Larson said. 

“We’re trying to quantify things as much as possible so we’ll have more data rather than just anecdotal information,” he said.

The coalition will share the survey results with the participating consumer groups and use the findings to support future efforts to preserve access to complex rehab products and services, Larson said.