Abstract

Occupational therapists often prescribe assistive technology devices (ATDs) to assist persons with disabilities in performing daily living tasks. Estimates suggest that although most ATDs are used, a substantial proportion are never used or are discarded shortly after they are obtained. A review of the literature on ATDs was carried out to identify factors that contribute to ATD use and disuse. The review focused on persons with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, because such persons are frequent users of ATDs. Although the literature review highlighted person-, environment-, and ATD-related factors as relevant to ATD use, it also underscored the dearth of scientific study of the prescriptions, provision, and use of ATDs. A model is proposed to guide empirical research aimed at identifying non–device users from the outset of treatment so that interventions to improve ATD use may be initiated or alternative interventions implemented. The variables comprising the model pertain to the patient, the patient’s living environment, the therapist prescribing the device, and the device itself.

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