Date Presented 04/21/2023

This presentation reports on a survey of 198 people with disabilities who shared their experiences with medical devices used at home and in health care facilities, highlighting the significance and complexity of device inaccessibility.

Primary Author and Speaker: Maysam Ardehali

Additional Authors and Speakers: Rochelle Mendonca, Roger O. Smith

Contributing Authors: Rochelle Mendonca, Roger O. Smith

There are tremendous disparities in healthcare access that prevent timely diagnosis and treatment of older adults and PwD due to the inaccessibility of medical equipment. We conducted a national survey to gain a better understanding of how PwD perceive the accessibility of the medical devices they use at home or at healthcare facilities and their knowledge of laws and regulations related to medical devices. We distributed a web survey nationally and received 198 responses from individuals aged 18-80+ with diverse representation. For medical devices at home, 44% found the selection of their devices Extremely or Very Challenging, 28% reported the purchasing as Extremely or Very Challenging, 71% described their medical devices as Extremely or Somewhat Difficult to use, 52% expressed being Extremely or Somewhat Dissatisfied with their purchase. 62% stated they had no prior information about the accessibility of their medical devices prior to purchase. For medical equipment at healthcare facilities, 59% reported the equipment as Extremely or Very Challenging to use, 60% reported being Extremely or Somewhat Dissatisfied with the devices they used, and 61% reported no prior knowledge of the accessibility of the equipment they used. 87% indicated they were either Not familiar at all or Slightly familiar with US Access Board standards. We also asked our participants to rate their agreement with the following statement: ‘Knowing about the accessibility ratings of medical devices as it relates to my specific impairments will be very helpful in informing my purchases.’ 89% of our participants Strongly or Somewhat agreed. In conclusion, this study highlights the significance of the need for PwD to be informed about the accessibility of medical devices and equipment they will be using. OT practitioners have the opportunity to objectively quantify medical device accessibility and assist these individuals with proper medical device selection.


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