Site Specific Projects

Investigation of independent transfers and injury prevention among individuals with SCI

Transfers are an essential activity for wheelchair users that have been linked to injury. We will use innovative musculoskeletal ultrasound techniques and the Transfer Assessment Instrument (TAI), both developed by UPMC-SCI investigators, to gain further insight into the relationship between independent transfer technique and musculoskeletal injuries. The project has three interrelated components. These components include:

  1. The investigation of the relationship between independent transfer technique and musculoskeletal injuries.
  2. The development of two sets of web-based training materials. One set will be focused on providing clinicians with the training needed to teach individuals with SCI good transfer technique. The other set of materials will be targeted directly at individuals with SCI, thus enabling independent learning.
  3. A randomized controlled trial to test the effectiveness of the materials.

The goal is to develop a training program that minimizes the risk of repetitive strain injury and will lead to improved transfers in the SCI population.

Transfer Assessment Instrument (TAI)

For individuals who rely on wheelchairs for mobility, performing transfers is essential to achieving independence with activities of daily living. For example, transfers are required for getting into and out of bed, on and off a bathtub/shower seat, commode seat, motor vehicle seat and so on. Unfortunately transfers (along with wheelchair propulsion, weight relief, and overhead activities) are believed to largely contribute to the development of shoulder pain and injury.

In order to understand the injury mechanisms, our Clinical Biomechanics Lab has conducted research on the influence of different transfer techniques and environmental setups. We summarized our findings to develop the Transfer Assessment Instrument (TAI) – the first clinical tool for evaluating transfer skills in detail. We also proved that the TAI is reliable and functional in serving as a guideline for clinicians to evaluate and teach transfer skills.

Recently, we have been working on a modified version of the TAI that can be used as a self-assessment measure, know as the TAI Questionnaire or TAI-Q.

  • Download the TAI-Q (DOCX)

Below you can find a list of publications related to the TAI: