Volume 50 Number 1, 2013
Pages 61 — 70
Abstract — This study used a mixed-methods approach with questionnaires and semistructured interviews to explore the views and experiences of people with neuromuscular conditions who use powered mobile arm supports (PMASs). All 170 users of PMASs who had neuromuscular conditions and lived within 200 mi of the study center were contacted by post. Of the 22 who expressed an interest, 13, aged 13 to 69 yr, took part. Participants had been using the PMAS from 6 mo to 8 yr, and the majority had Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Interviews took place in participants– homes or by telephone, and participants completed the ABILHAND and the Upper-Limb Functional Index and provided details regarding their diagnosis and experience with the PMAS. Themes that emerged were the positive influence of PMASs on psychological factors and social participation; increased range of and independence in several activities, including eating, drinking, and exercise; variations in funding and time taken for provision; participants– initial reactions; timing of initial use; reasons for nonuse; and suggestions for future development. We concluded that, in this group, PMASs improved confidence, dignity, and the ability to engage in social situations, as well as increased independence in several activities. The majority of negative aspects of use would be amenable to change.
Key words: activities of daily living, assistive technology, drinking, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, eating, exercise, feeding, mobile arm supports, neuromuscular conditions, occupational therapy, orthotic devices, qualitative research, rehabilitation, upper limb.
Last Reviewed or Updated Monday, March 11, 2013 2:10 PM