The identification of assistive technologies being used to support the daily occupations of community-dwelling older adults with dementia: a cross-sectional pilot study.

Boger J, Quraishi M, Turcotte N, Dunal L.

Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2013 Apr 22. [Epub ahead of print]



Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto , Toronto , Canada .


Abstract Purpose: Assistive technologies (ATs) have tremendous potential to support occupations (i.e. meaningful daily activities) impacted by changes in cognition caused by dementia. However, little is known about what or how ATs are in use in community settings. This research created and piloted guided interviews intended to capture what ATs are in use, factors that affect use and gaps in support from multiple stakeholders. Method: Family caregivers (n = 3) and occupational therapists (n = 10) were chosen as pilot respondents because of their relationship to care provision, understanding of how occupations are impacted by changes in cognition and role in AT procurement. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: The interviews’ structures enabled data to be grouped into distinct categories and organized easily. The data illustrated the types of analysis that could be done given a larger sample size. It appeared that interviews captured ATs that were in use, as well as areas of non-use and perceived difficulties. Respondents identified several unmet needs and provided suggestions for desired outcomes. Conclusions: While the interview guides must be refined and validated, they are able to capture rich and comprehensive data that could be used by multiple stakeholders, such as clinicians, engineers and caregiver education groups, to target AT development, procurement, education and policy. Implications for Rehabilitation Structured interview guide developed and piloted that could be used to identify ATs in use in the community to support older adults with dementia from the viewpoints of multiple stakeholders. These data could be used to: gain an understanding of AT use and non-use, discern differences in perception between the various stakeholders, and guide development, procurement, education and policy efforts.