Electronic Aids for Daily Living

Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Suite 5044, Forbes Tower, Atwood and Sennott Streets, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America (Impact Factor: 0.93). 02/2010; 21(1):33-42. DOI: 10.1016/j.pmr.2009.07.008
Source: PubMed


Electronic aids to daily living (EADLs) are devices that facilitate the operation of electrical appliances in a given environment for a person with a severe physical disability. These specialized devices can provide tremendous psychological and functional benefits to someone with a severe disability, their family members and caregivers. This article provides an overview of the utility, functionality, access, acquisition, and evaluation of EADLs. It also highlights challenges in obtaining and measuring the benefits of these devices.

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    • "Electronic aids for daily living (EADLs) are devices that facilitate the operation of electrical appliances in a given environment for a person with a severe physical disability. EADLs are also referred to as environmental control units (ECUs) and environmental control systems (ECSs) [2]. Many EADLs have been designed in the past few decades. "
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    ABSTRACT: An electronic aid for daily living, using Morse code as an adapted access communication tool, is presented in this study. The study aim is to help quadriplegics operate appliances, allowing them to live more independently. This system consists of four modules: the assistive computer input device, application software, communication control board, and the appliance control nodes. ZigBee is used to avoid the problem of "line of sight" encountered with infrared transmission to permit long-distance transmission without space limitation. Also, a visual design methodology reduces the burden of operating the application software. Users can easily click control buttons on the application software through the assistive computer input device. Within a one-month evaluation, three subjects, quadriplegics who were users well-trained on operating the assistive computer input device, could smoothly manipulate the system from the beginning and became dependent on the system progressively. Data based on system activity was recorded. Also, the subjects and care-givers were questioned about their experience with the system during the evaluation period. According to the results, the three subjects totally agreed that the system changed their life significantly and the most used function was the control of television. Finally, care-givers of the three subjects appreciated the benefit of this system. They experienced fewer interruptions of their daily routine.
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    ABSTRACT: This thesis presents a compilation of published studies that evaluated assistive technology interventions for children and adults with physical disabilities. The first chapter introduces the need for and the challenges involved in studying the outcomes of assistive technology interventions. The person-environment-occupation model, together with the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) and a client-centered philosophy provided the conceptual underpinnings for this research. The purpose of this thesis was to evaluate the impact of specific assistive technology devices (ATDs) on activity performance, quality of life and caregiver assistance in order to advance knowledge about: a) the impact of assistive technology on outcomes that are both clinically relevant, and are meaningful to persons with disabilities; and b) the usefulness of specific outcome measures for assistive technology research and clinical practice. The chapters are organized into two sections. Section one studies focused on how adaptive seating technologies for children with cerebral palsy impact on activity performance and level of caregiver assistance. In these studies, parents of children with cerebral palsy used the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) to identify activities they wanted their child to do, but the child was having difficulty doing. An ABA research design was used, and results showed that the children made significant improvements in activity performance and performance satisfaction when they used the adaptive seating devices. The level of Caregiver assistance the children needed was also less for some of the activities when the study devices were used. The COPM was found to be particularly useful for studying outcomes of ATD interventions, and the caregiver assistance scale shows promise, but requires further testing. The focus of section two was the evaluation of the impact of electronic aids to daily living (EADLs) on activity performance and quality of life of adults with tetraplegia. This technology is designed to enable persons with severe motor impairments to use electronic devices such as phones, door openers and personal entertainment systems to do various daily activities from their bed or wheelchair. Two new outcome measures for assistive technology were used in the Chapter 5 study, which demonstrated that EADL had a positive impact on functional performance and quality of life. However, there were limitations with these measures. Thus, in Chapter 6 we established preliminary content validity, discriminant validity, and test-retest reliability for a new device-specific functional outcome measure for EADL. Study results showed that EADL users had significantly better functional performance and satisfaction with performance than a comparison group of nonusers of this technology. The EADL users also rated their subjective quality of life significantly higher than the comparison group of non-users. The participants in the thesis studies had positive outcomes when they used the ATDs, and this can help predict continued usage and satisfaction with these technologies. This is important considering the high cost of ATDs and the evidence of technology abandonment reported in the literature. Several of the outcome measures used in these studies can help to ensure that the needs and expectations of those who use the technology are met.
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    ABSTRACT: A within-subject ABA design was used to assess the functional impact of a novel wheelchair mounted rigid pelvic stabilizer (RPS) compared with a traditional wheelchair lap belt in a group of six children with cerebral palsy (mean age 10.4 years). The lap belt was worn during the two baseline phases which were each 3 weeks in duration. During a 5 week treatment phase the lap belt was replaced with the RPS device. Using the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) each subject's self-evaluated performance ability and satisfaction with performance for five key tasks was measured at the end of each study phase. In addition, a structured weekly interview was conducted with the primary caregivers to assess perceived changes in their child's functional performance with each task. Results of repeated measures ANOVAs were statistically significant, indicating that the RPS as compared to the lap belt is a more effective device. The RPS allowed significantly better occupational performance and satisfaction with performance as measured by the COPM. Single-subject data analyses showed clinically significant changes in task performance and satisfaction with performance when the RPS was worn as compared to the lap belt for all subjects. Caregivers' perception of functional change ratings closely corresponded to subjects' self-rated performance on specific tasks. Visual inspection of subject data also showed that, overall, the increased performance ratings for different tasks during the treatment phase decreased in the second baseline phase, when the RPS was removed, however, performance did not return to initial baseline levels. This suggests that the RPS has a facilitating effect for increasing physical functioning. These results are further discussed in terms of implications for practice, and future research.
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