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Psychosocial impact of mobility assistive technology on people with neurological conditions.

  • Jiménez Arberas, Estíbaliz1
  • Ordoñez Fernández, Feliciano F2
  • Rodríguez Menéndez, Sergio1
  • 1 Facultad Padre Ossó (Center attached to the University of Oviedo), Degree in Occupational Therapy, Universidad de Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 2 Facultad Padre Ossó (Center attached to the University of Oviedo), Degree in Occupational Therapy, UNIR, Oviedo, Spain. , (Spain)
Published Article
Disability and rehabilitation. Assistive technology
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2019.1648571
PMID: 31553255


A wide range of products are available to assist mobility, and it is, therefore, of great importance to obtain empirical information regarding the expected impact of the use of these products based on outcome measures. People affected by neurological disorders often use products to assist mobility such as wheelchairs (both manual self-propelled wheelchairs and externally propelled chairs such as electric wheelchairs), walkers, walking sticks, etc. It is important to conduct an assessment of the psychosocial impact of these products on the lives of affected people. We performed this assessment using the Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Devices Scale (PIADS) and a socio-demographic questionnaire. The results showed greater psychosocial benefits relating to the use of electric wheelchairs in comparison with walking sticks or manual, non-self-propelled chairs. Moreover, significant differences are present in the three subscales of the PIADS in relation to variables such as age, training in the use of assistive technology (AT) and funding. Therefore, we conclude that the use of AT should be promoted among this group as a way to improve their adaptability, competency and self-esteem, and to reduce limits on participation deriving from the physical and contextual barriers faced by this collective.Implications for rehabilitationAmong the assessment of different mobility AT displaying a higher score in the three subscales of the PIADS amongst people using electric wheelchairs than among those using non-self-propelled manual wheelchairs. On the other hand, we found that the walker has a significant score only in the competence subscale. Canes, for example the stick 4-p is significant in the three subscales, or the walking cane in terms of competence. Despite the fact that crutches and walking sticks obtained the lowest score in this study.Not only the assessment is necessary, but also the adjustment of AT to the person who is going to use it, as well as some training on how to use it. Only 23.8% of the participants received training in the use of their main assistive device in this study.The results seem to indicate that for elder users, the score on adaptability with the AT is lower. That may result in future lines of research in usability and improving in terms of the needs of end-users and these AT since a high percentage of people with neurological conditions are elder people.The application of specific scales such as PIADS that helps to measure the use and capacity of the AT prescribed to patients with neurological disease provides more informed clinical reasoning.

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