Partnering Power Mobility with Assistive Technology to Optimize Function and Participation
Assistive technologies (AT) include any equipment or system whether commercially available or customized that is used to improve or maintain the functional abilities of individuals who have disabilities. Although assistive technologies can be manual, mechanical, or electronic their primary purpose is to assist the individual in a way that maximizes their independence and quality of life.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic progressive disease of the central nervous system that results in the majority of individuals using manual and/or power wheelchairs within 10-15 years of disease onset. A significant number of these individuals will also benefit from the provision of carefully selected assistive technology, which when paired with their mobility device can maximize their independence, family roles, employment options, and participation in ADL. Additional benefits of AT include reduced dependence on human assistance and concurrent caregiver strain and financial cost, increased compliance with symptom management and wellness behaviors, and increased safety in home and community environments.
Objectives: By the end of the Poster Session, participants will be able to:
1. Identify 4 types of assistive technology available for individuals with MS.
2. List a minimum of 5 benefits in ADL for assistive technology users.
3. Describe how wheelchair electronics can be used to control assistive technology devices
Methods: Using the HAAT model to evaluate individuals with MS, within an interdisciplinary team setting typically results in the optimum functional outcome with less device abandonment. Three case studies are presented that demonstrate utilization of this model of care, and a variety of assistive technology options for power wheelchair users who have tetraparesis from MS.
Results: Outcomes of three case studies are discussed including pre- and post-device function and feedback from the AT users.
Conclusions: Advantages and limitations of assistive technology use are discussed. Resources and references for AT will be provided