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Research Article  |   February 1990
Upper Extremity Assistive Devices: Assessment of Use by Spinal Cord–Injured Patients With Quadriplegia
Author Affiliations
  • Susan Lipton Garber, MA, OTR, is Assistant Director for Research, Occupational Therapy Department, The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research, Houston, Texas, and Assistant Professor in the Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas. (Mailing address: TIRR, Texas Medical Center, 1333 Moursund Avenue, Houston, Texas 77030–3405)
  • Theresa Lee Gregorio, MA, OTR, is a Unit Supervisor in the Occupational Therapy Department at The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research, Houston, Texas
Article Information
Assistive Technology / Spinal Cord Injury / Practice
Research Article   |   February 1990
Upper Extremity Assistive Devices: Assessment of Use by Spinal Cord–Injured Patients With Quadriplegia
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 1990, Vol. 44, 126-131. doi:10.5014/ajot.44.2.126
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 1990, Vol. 44, 126-131. doi:10.5014/ajot.44.2.126
Abstract

Upper extremity assistive devices prescribed during the rehabilitation of the patient with quadriplegia often are discarded once the patient leaves the hospital. Therefore, we conducted this study to investigate patterns of the prescription and use of such devices and satisfaction with them. An oral questionnaire was administered to 56 spinal cord–injured quadriplegic patients 1 and 2 years after their first rehabilitation experience. Although the patients had discarded 46% of the devices within the 1st year, most of these devices were inexpensive, commercially available devices or devices made by occupational therapists. The respondents’ most frequently cited reasons for discarding a device were “improved physical function” and “alternative solutions found.” The devices retained in use most often were the more costly orthotics such as reciprocal orthoses and ball-bearing feeders. Sixty-four percent of the devices used within the 1st year were still being used at the end of the 2nd year. Thirty-five percent of all devices prescribed during rehabilitation were still in use at the end of 2 years. The results of this study have heightened therapists’ awareness of the efficacy and use of upper extremity assistive devices and have enabled them to eliminate some devices, to modify methods of instructing patients in the use of devices, and to develop alternative products.