Wheelchair Service Provision Course

This course took place a free open online course in 2018. The course has since been updated and accredited for CEUs/CPD points and is available for you to do at any time in Physioplus, it can be started and completed at any time that suits you. It is also available in French.

Course Information

  • Course Type - Free, Open, Online
  • Course Co-ordinators - Rachael Lowe and Barbara Rau
  • Institution - Physiopedia
  • About this course - This online course will develop knowledge of wheelchair service provision.
  • Who can take part- This course is aimed at Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy professionals, clinicians, students and assistants; other interested health care professionals interested in this subject are more than welcome to participate. 
  • Date of next course - 3 September 2018
  • Time commitment - approximately 16 hours over 4 weeks
  • Language - the will be an English and French version of the course
  • Requirements - You will complete online learning activities, engage with additional resources, take part in the conversation online and complete the course evaluation.
  • Assessment - There will be a final quiz.
  • Awards - Physioplus completion certificate and CPD points. CEUs in 30 states in the USA and in South Africa.

Course Access

This course was the annual free online course from Physiopedia in October 2018. You can access the courses here:


The wheelchair is one of the most commonly used assistive devices for enhancing personal mobility, which is a precondition for enjoying human rights and living in dignity. For many people, an appropriate, well-designed and well-fitted wheelchair can be the first step towards integration, participation and inclusion in society.

A wheelchair must meet the user’s individual needs and environmental conditions, provide postural support, and be safe and durable. The wheelchair must be available and affordable and be maintainable and sustainable in the country of use. This is not always easy, because wheelchair users are a diverse group with different requirements and environmental and socioeconomic conditions.

A wheelchair is much more than just an assistive device for many people with impairments; it is the means by which they can exercise their human rights and achieve inclusion and equal participation. A wheelchair provides mobility, ensures better health and quality of life, and assists people with an impairment to live full and active lives in their communities.

The course will provide a framework to develop theoretical principles for the management of wheelchair service delivery in all contexts. It will introduce the role of the wheelchair in mobility, explore assessment and the roles of the multidisciplinary team in wheelchair service delivery, as well as provide a theoretical understanding of management techniques and related clinical considerations. It will not teach practical skills or lead to any clinical qualification. The global network formed through this course will allow for shared knowledge and experiences to support good health care and a better quality of life for individuals who require the use of a wheelchair for mobility around the world.


This course aims to provide a basic theoretical understanding of wheelchair mobility and to develop an understanding of the theoretical principles, skills and knowledge underlying the management skills and knowledge in the management of wheelchair service delivery.

Intended Audience

This course is aimed at Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy professionals, clinicians, students and assistants; other interested health care professionals interested in this subject are more than welcome to participate. 

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course you will be able to:

  • list at least seven benefits of an appropriate wheelchair for a wheelchair user
  • explain how wheelchair service personnel can support a wheelchair user’s right to personal mobility
  • list at least five ways wheelchair users can be actively involved in wheelchair provision
  • list physical and/or functional reasons why a wheelchair user may need additional postural support
  • list four benefits of additional postural support
  • list at least five design features of an appropriate wheelchair
  • explain how wheelchair design can impact on user function and satisfaction
  • discus how wheelchair users may be referred to a wheelchair service;
  • explain the purpose of wheelchair assessment;
  • examine the use of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) in Wheelchair Assessment
  • discuss how the assessment interview can assist in selecting the most appropriate wheelchair and to identify what a wheelchair user may need to learn
  • demonstrate the correct way to take measurements from a wheelchair user for an appropriate wheelchair
  • list all the steps to fitting in the correct order
  • describe how to check size and common adjustments of a wheelchair for an individual wheelchair user.
  • list 5 skills wheelchair service personnel can teach wheelchair users when they receive a new wheelchair
  • describe two “good practice training methods”
  • describe how to care for a wheelchair at home
  • identify three common technical problems with a wheelchair and explain how these problems can be solved within the local community/context

Course Structure

This course will be divided into 4 sections and it is suggested (but not required) that each section be completed over the duration of approximately a week. Please note that no deadlines are applied and this course can be started and completed according to your own schedule. We expect the required elements of each section/week to take around 4-6 hours depending on your schedule and learning style. Additionally there are many optional resources provided and if you choose to review these the course could take significantly longer to complete.

It’s not going to be easy, we’ll expect you to work hard for your completion certificate! You won’t be sitting back and watching webinars, we’ll expect you to undertake reading tasks, complete quizzes, perform literature searches and other learning activities. You’ll need to reflect on your own experiences and make written contributions to the discussion forum. This forum is where we can learn from each other’s experiences and knowledge from all around the world! At the end of the course, when you have completed all of the required elements, you will be able to download a certificate of completion and 16 Physioplus points will be added to your personalised learning dashboard.

Course Outline

  • Section 1: Introduction to Wheelchair Mobility and Wheelchair Service Provision
  • Section 2: Wheelchair Design and Steps to Appropriate Wheelchair Provision
  • Section 3: The Wheelchair User: Fitting, Wheelchair Skills and Maintenance Training
  • Section 4: Wheelchair Service Delivery; Wheelchair Provision and Stakeholders.
  • Section 5: Final Tasks and Optional Assignment

Types of learning activity involved

Reading Physiopedia pages, journal articles, book chapters. Watching videos. Attempting quizzes. Participating in an international discussion forum.


This course is FREE!


This is a completely online course which will take place in Physiopedia's complimentary e-learning platform Physioplus - you can see the course details here. You will need need to set up a trial account to access the course which will become available on the site on 3 September 2018.

Time Commitment

Completing this course will involve approximately 16 hours of learning activities that can be completed online on a participant’s own schedule.


There will be an English and a French version of this course.

For the English course - although participants will only require basic English skills (reading skills are more important than conversational skills). Participants will be encouraged to be respectful and empathetic to those for whom English is not their first language (e.g. in the discussion forum).

Accreditation, Assessment and Certification

The course will be accredited in 32 DStates in the USA, Australia and South Africa.

On the successful completion of this course each participant will be provided with a Physioplus Certificate of Completion and PP+ Points (our own Physioplus points which are equivalent to CPD Points/CEUs). These will be awarded provided you:

  1. Be part of the Physiopedia Plus Community Culture.
  2. Log as completed all the required learning activities.
  3. Actively and appropriately participate in the course discussions.
  4. Pass a final quiz with a score of 80% or more.
  5. Complete a course evaluation form.


The World Health Organisation kindly provided the Wheelchair service training packages for this course

The International Committee of the Red Cross funded the content development of this course.

Humanity & Inclusion funded the translation of the course into French.

Various stakeholders in this specialist topic contributed their knowledge to the development and running of the course, special thanks to UCP Wheels for Humanity.