Background: Assistive devices are currently provided to people with neuro-disabling conditions to promote or maintain independence in activities of daily living. However, it is unclear whether assessment procedures performed by health care professionals to guide the provision of assistive devices are standardized.
Objective: To explore the assessment and service-delivery processes of assistive devices for people with multiple sclerosis, cerebrovascular disease and Parkinson's disease experiencing physical disability by health care professionals in the United Kingdom.
Methods: A survey was conducted among UK health care professionals working with people with neuro-disabling conditions. Descriptive and content analyses were used to code survey data.
Results: In total, 231 health care professionals completed the survey: 93 occupational therapists, 136 physiotherapists and 2 assistant practitioners. Less than half of the respondents (46%) reported use of local, national, or combined guidelines when assessing a service user's suitability or need for assistive devices. When guidelines were used, they were not consistent and not specifically for assistive devices. The respondents stated that when users were allocated small and portable assistive devices, they were supplied within four weeks. This period increased for large equipment, major home adaptions or if external specialist services and/or funding was needed.
Conclusions: Standardized operating procedures for assistive device provision are not being carried out within the UK. Variable access to assistive devices supplied by the state indicates inequity across regions. Future research should explore potential benefits of developing standardized assessment procedures for the provision of assistive devices and devise methods to reduce current variability in service delivery.
- assistive technology
- multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Norwich Medical School - Associate Tutor
- School of Health Sciences - Associate Tutor, Research Fellow
- Institute for Volunteering Research - Member
- Critical Volunteering Studies - Member
Person: Research & Analogous, Research Group Member, Research Centre Member, Associate Tutor