A conceptual framework of outcomes for caregivers of assistive technology users.
OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate the content of a conceptual framework concerning outcomes for caregivers whose recipients are assistive technology users. DESIGN: The study was designed in four stages. First, a list of potential key variables relevant to the caregivers of assistive technology users was generated from a review of the existing literature and semistructured interviews with caregivers. Second, the variables were analyzed, regrouped, and partitioned, using a conceptual mapping approach. Third, the key areas were anchored in a general stress model of caregiving. Finally, the judgments of rehabilitation experts were used to evaluate the conceptual framework. RESULTS: An important result of this study is the identification of a complex set of variables that need to be considered when examining the experience of caregivers of assistive technology users. Stressors, such as types of assistance, number of tasks, and physical effort, are predominant contributors to caregiver outcomes along with caregivers' personal resources acting as mediating factors (intervening variables) and assistive technology acting as a key moderating factor (effect modifier variable). CONCLUSIONS: Recipients' use of assistive technology can enhance caregivers' well being because of its potential for alleviating a number of stressors associated with caregiving. Viewed as a whole, this work demonstrates that the assistive technology experience of caregivers has many facets that merit the attention of outcomes researchers.
Demers, L; Fuhrer, MJ; Jutai, J; Lenker, J; Depa, M; De Ruyter, F
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