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Capturing the True Value of Assistive Technologies to Consumers in Routine Outcome Measurement

D. de Jonge, W. Stevens,

Academic Literature

2016

(1) Background: Recent reforms in Australia, providing people with disability and older people with choice and control over allocated funding, have altered consumer expectations and transformed the landscape of assistive technology (AT) service provision. The purpose of this study is to report on the routine AT outcomes of people who accessed an AT consultation service and examine how well these capture the impact of AT on their lives; (2) Methods: This study, which uses mixed methods for concurrent triangulation of the data, reports on the outcomes for 127 people who acquired a range of assistive technology in 2015 and examines the adequacy of an existing service outcome framework in capturing the true value of these technologies to AT users. Outcome data was routinely collected by a community service 2-4 months following an AT consultation. A telephone or face-to-face interview gathered demographic information as well as AT outcomes, using two standardized tools, the Individualized Prioritised Problem Assessment (IPPA) and the EATS 6D. Qualitative comments relating to the impact of the AT on the person's life were also documented; (3) Results: The acquired AT generally met or exceeded expectations of the person using the AT and the attending health professional. Overall, people experienced decreased difficulty and increased feelings of autonomy, with most of the reported improvements identified in mobility and usual activities; (4) Conclusion: Routine outcome data provide some evidence of the value of AT in addressing concerns as identified by clients. Qualitative data, which captured the impact of AT on people's lives, suggest that the empowering and transformative aspects of AT are not currently being captured by existing measures.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Technologies

Domain/s: Community and civic participation

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