2015 Volume 27 Issue 1 Pages 7-9
[Purpose] This study examined the effects of ramp slope (1:12, 1:10, 1:8, and 1:6) on physiological characteristics and performance times of wheelchair users and the performance times of caregivers to determine which slope would be the best for wheelchairs, in order to propose a ramp slope that incorporates a universal design. [Subjects and Methods] Twenty-four healthy subjects were enrolled in this study. Fifteen of these subjects also volunteered to participate as caregivers. A wooden ramp with an adjustable slope was constructed. As manual wheelchair users, the participants performed propulsion of a wheelchair up the ramp at a self-selected pace. Four ramp slopes (1:12, 1:10, 1:8, and 1:6) were used, and the participants sequentially ascended them in order from the gentlest to the steepest slope. The caregivers also pushed a wheelchair up the ramp at a self-selected pace. The blood pressure and pulse of participants after the ascent, as well as the performance times of the caregivers and manual wheelchair users, were measured on each of the different ramp slopes. The measured data, pulse, blood pressure, and performance time, were analyzed using repeated ANOVA. [Results] Systolic blood pressure was significantly higher after ascending the 1:6 slope than after ascending the 1:12 and 1:8 slopes. Diastolic blood pressure was significantly higher after ascending the 1:6 slope than after ascending the 1:12 and 1:8 slopes. The participants’ pulses tended to increase significantly with an increase in slope. An assessment of the propulsion performance times revealed significant differences among the slopes. [Conclusion] Considering the results of the wheelchair users and caregivers, the 1:12 and 1:10 slopes are suitable ramp slopes for wheelchairs.