Tracking mobility-related assistive technology in an outcomes study.
The objective of this follow-up study was to describe changes in the mobility-related assistive technology devices (ATDs) that are used from shortly after discharge from a hospital setting until 5-6 months later. One hundred and thirty-nine participants who had one or more mobility ATDs (canes, crutches, walkers, and wheelchairs) that had been recommended during hospitalization were interviewed an average of 5.5 weeks after discharge and an average of 23.2 weeks later. Information about mobility ATD usage was obtained by questionnaire during face-to-face interviews. The SF-36 was used to assess perceived health status, both physical and mental, as an additional outcome. Results show that at follow-up, only 23.3% of participants were using the ATD provided at baseline as their primary aid. Seven distinct groups of participants were noted based on individual experience with ATD use from the time of discharge to follow-up. Those groups varied according to continued versus discontinued use of an ATD, single versus multiple ATD use across time, and primary versus secondary importance attributed to the ATD. The groups also differed in terms of their differential association with rehabilitation diagnosis, age, as well as physical and mental perceived health status. The findings have implications for designing ATD outcome studies and for interpreting the relationship of ATD outcomes to other variables. The information about changes in mobility-related ATDs can also help rehabilitation specialists at the point of device referral target their patients for interventions that will either increase their adherence to device prescriptions or support nondevice strategies for managing disabilities.
Demers, L; Fuhrer, MJ; Jutai, JW; Scherer, MJ; Pervieux, I; DeRuyter, F
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