Pilot Study of a Fall Prevention and Management Intervention Program for People With Multiple Sclerosis Who Use a Wheelchair or Scooter Full-Time

Laura A. Rice, Rebecca Yarnot, Jonghun Sung, Jacob J. Sosnoff, Deborah Backus, Libak Abou, Sa Shen, Elizabeth W. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



To examine the efficacy of a fall prevention/management intervention among persons with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) who use a wheelchair (WC) or scooter full-time.


Pre-post/follow-up trial


Community and research laboratory


Twenty-one PwMS who used a WC or scooter full-time, self-reported at least 1 fall/12 months, and could transfer independently or with minimal/moderate assistance (N=21).


Six-week, group and community-based fall prevention and management intervention. The intervention included six 2-hour in-person weekly sessions led by a physical or occupational therapist featuring interactive group discussions, skill practice, and action planning opportunities.

Main Outcome Measures

Fall frequency tracked 12 weeks pre- and 24 weeks post intervention. Outcomes were assessed pre- and post intervention and 12 weeks post intervention. Measures included surveys to examine fear of falling (FOF), fall prevention/management, quality of life, community participation, and assessment of functional mobility skills. Semistructured interviews were administered post intervention to ascertain overall experiences with the program and effect on daily life. A Friedman test with signed-rank post hoc analysis was run to determine differences across the 3 study visits.


After the intervention, fall incidence did not significantly change, but fall management strategies (P=.01-0.05), importance of community participation (P=.01), and transfer quality (P=.02) significantly improved. Moderate effect sizes were noted among concerns about falling, activity curtailment because of to FOF, and WC skills. Qualitative results indicate that participants found the intervention beneficial and applied intervention content in their daily lives.


This study is the first to describe the effect of a multicomponent fall prevention/management intervention designed specifically for PwMS who use a WC or scooter full-time. Results indicate the program has potential to reduce fall risk; however, further testing is needed to fully examine the effect of the program.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100225
JournalArchives of Rehabilitation Research and Clinical Translation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Accidental falls
  • Wheelchairs
  • Rehabilitation
  • Multiple sclerosis


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