The WATCh Tool: Wheelchair Outcomes Assessment Tool for Children

To access the electronic version of the WATCh tool, please click here

The Wheelchair outcomes Assessment Tool for Children (WATCh) is a new, free to use patient-centred outcome measure developed by the Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation (CHEME) and the Shropshire Wheelchair and Posture Service. The WATCh tool has been designed to allow patients, clinicians and therapists to identify, score and monitor individual users’ most important outcomes before and after wheelchair provision. The WATCh tool allows wheelchair users across a wide range of ages and clinical needs to select outcomes of most importance to them and to give an example of what they hope to achieve for each one. The tool allows comparability across patients, and ensures that patients focus on achievable outcomes.

The WATCh tool is available in paper and electronic format. Please see the resources section below to download the paper version of the tool

Development of the WATCh tool

For full information about how we developed the WATCh tool, please read our summary report. The WATCh development project was funded as part of an NHS England research programme to develop patient-centred outcome measures (PCOMs) for use with children and young people. Our aim was to develop a PCOM for NHS paediatric wheelchair and posture services. Over 60,000 children are registered with NHS wheelchair services in England, so identifying and addressing the outcomes of most importance to these users could help services to maximise the benefits achievable within available resources. None of the outcome measures currently in use among rehabilitation specialists are believed to fully meet the needs of wheelchair and posture service provision in the UK in identifying the outcomes of importance for children and young people.

The project team comprised researchers from Bangor University’s Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation (CHEME), and staff from the Shropshire Wheelchair and Posture Service, Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, and Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group. Additional input was gained from service users and parents/carers. A questionnaire survey was sent to young wheelchair users (<18years) and their parents to explore the importance of a range of pre-defined outcomes and to identify novel outcomes. Subsequent face-to-face interviews further explored survey responses and uncovered novel outcomes.

Based on the findings of the survey and interviews, and in consultation with the service providers and service users, the WATCh questionnaire tool was developed. The final version comprises 16 outcome options, from which service users select their five most important outcomes to be monitored, describe what they wish to achieve, and rate their current satisfaction with each outcome. A follow-up WATCh tool has also been developed to allow monitoring of outcomes after wheelchair provision. The simple before and after scoring system should allow service providers to ascertain how well desired outcomes are being achieved, both for individual users and for a specific outcome across service users. The tool should be applicable to children and young people accessing wheelchair services across the UK and other countries.

Resources

If you would like to use the WATCh tool, either in clinical practice or in research, we request that you inform the research team so we can monitor usage. Please contact Dr Lorna Tuersely if you would like to use the WATCh tool or if you would like further information: l.tuersley@bangor.ac.uk