Importance: Adaptive equipment, such as shower grab bars and modified toilet seating, is effective but underused in the United States. To change this, a better understanding of how equipment ends up being installed is needed. We hypothesized that rehabilitation services were a major mechanism.
Objective: To examine the association between receipt of rehabilitation services and installation of adaptive equipment.
Design: Observational cohort of the National Health and Aging Trends Study in 2015 and 2016.
Participants: A total of 416 community-dwelling adults age 65 yr or older who needed bathing equipment and 454 who needed toileting equipment.
Outcomes and Measures: Study outcomes were the installation of bathing or toileting equipment. The primary independent variable was the receipt of rehabilitation services between 2015 and 2016.
Results: Among older adults who needed equipment in 2015, 34.3% had bathing equipment and 19.2% had toileting equipment installed by 2016. In multivariate logistic regression analyses, rehabilitation services were associated with installation of bathing (odds ratio [OR] = 5.07, 95% confidence interval [CI] [2.60, 9.89]) and toileting equipment (OR = 2.67, 95% CI [1.48, 4.84]).
Conclusions and Relevance: A minority of those in need have adaptive equipment installed within a year. In the current health care system, rehabilitation providers play a major role in equipment installation.
What This Article Adds: Rehabilitation providers are involved in the installation of adaptive bathroom equipment among older persons who need it. Still, most in need of equipment do not have it after a year, suggesting that further work is needed to increase access to rehabilitation providers and develop other avenues for obtaining equipment.