Journal Club Discussion #4: Adaptive Equipment

Hey readers! This week’s journal club discussion is on adaptive equipment (AE). While I was completing my fieldwork experience at the VA, I observed the OT recommending AE to patients on a daily basis. Adaptive equipment is super important in the recovery process and aids patients in being independent post-discharge. It can also be used during therapy sessions in the hospital by motivating patients to dress themselves using a dressing stick, shoehorn, sock aid, and/or reacher rather than asking for help.

This week’s journal article is called “Rate and Duration of Adaptive Equipment Use and Factors Affecting Use After Discharge from Inpatient Rehabilitation” by Jamie Theuer, BA. The article can be found on the American Journal of Occupational Therapy if you are an AOTA member here. Be sure to comment your thoughts down below, happy reading!

Background Info – It is very common for patients to be provided with AE after discharge or during their stay in inpatient rehabilitation. However, there are many factors that go into safe and proper use of AE. These include patient, environment, equipment, and training factors. If the necessary AE is not used, it may cause decreased safety and independence. The author assessed how these factors impact the use of AE after discharge.

The Results – Approximately 2/3 of patients use recommended AE after discharge. Some significant patient factors for AE use include:

  • Age 70+
  • Female
  • Lower income
  • Not having a caregiver
  • Less education
  • Ability to learn and recall AE training
  • Diagnosis
  • Perception of AE/need for AE
  • Involvement in the AE selection process

Check out the article to read more about environment, equipment, and training factors!

What I Think – I think that involving the patient in the AE selection process is pivotal to the patient using it after discharge. This allows the patient to practice autonomy by deciding what they need and what they don’t need. It can also allow the patient to see the value of AE and visualize how they will use it in their own home. Finally, involving the patient in the selection process can help motivate the patient to want to use the AE they picked out.

During fieldwork, I observed the OT asking a patient questions about what kind of shower he had in his home in order to determine the proper AE for him. This was followed by practicing using a shower chair in a shower that was similar in size to his shower at home. She then asked if he thought the shower chair would help him shower independently, or if he thought he just needed shower bars. She involved the patient in the selection process by practicing using a shower chair, deciding which chair would best fit the shower in his home, and asking the patient exactly what level of AE he thought he needed, while providing her own recommendations. Hopefully, involving him in the selection process motivated him to use the AE he chose in his own home.

Question of the Week – What is the most common AE that you recommend to patients in practice or as seen in fieldwork? I mostly saw sock aids, reachers, dressing sticks, shoe horns, and shower chairs in fieldwork!

Citation: Theuer, J. (2018). “Rate and duration of adaptive equipment use and factors affecting use after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation” American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2018.72S2-PO6020


2 thoughts on “Journal Club Discussion #4: Adaptive Equipment

  1. During my long career as a nurse, I’ve personally helped patients use their AE properly. (I used to work at inpatient rehab hospital). Shower chairs were great, we used them very often. The others favorites of many of my patients were the grabbers and the stress ball they squeezed with their hands for hand and finger excersizes. And only once in my career did I see the most intricate CPM machine for hands and fingers for a burn victim that had extensive burns on her hands.

    Liked by 1 person

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