Assistive devices utilisation in activities of everyday life–a proposed framework of understanding a user perspective

Krantz ODisabil Rehabil Assist Technol.

2012 May;7(3):189-98. doi: 10.3109/17483107.2011.618212. Epub 2012 Mar 1.

SOURCE: Faculty of Health and Society, Malmö University, Sweden.

PURPOSE: This theoretical article proposes a framework of understanding a user perspective of assistive devices utilisation in everyday life.

METHOD: Utilising the MPT model (Matching Person and Technology) and the ValMO model (Values and Meaning in Human Occupations), a framework of understanding is proposed.

RESULTS: Main components are person, assistive device, and activity, connected by the person’s expectations and experiences concerning the doability/doworthiness (possible to do/worth doing) of an activity, and the usability/useworthiness (possible to use/worth using) of an assistive device. Expectations may differ based on not only earlier experiences (habitus), but also situational and environmental variations, and result in differing experiences. In general, the purpose of an assistive device is to increase a person’s repertoire of doable activities. For a person, this can be a function of the evaluation of possible gains, in terms of correlation between investments (in terms of time and energy), and the (expected) result of the activity.

CONCLUSIONS: The only person able to estimate the useworthiness/usability of a device and the doworthiness/doability of an activity is the user her/himself, assessing the degree at which a specific assistive device enhances the value of an activity, in turn affecting the habitus of the (presumptive) user.