Stroke is the leading causes of long disability in the United States. Stroke reduces mobility in over half of survivors ages 65 and older. Stroke survivors may experience physical or cognitive deficits that impact their independence with mobility, self-care, home management, and community engagement. Adaptive equipment is one of the ways stroke survivors can live more independently within their home and community environments.
What is adaptive equipment? How can it help?
Adaptive equipment is any piece of equipment that can be used to make a task easier to complete. A stroke can often leave someone with cognitive changes, vision impairments, and/or paralysis on one side of the body, which limits their ability return to previous roles and routines. Use of adaptive equipment can allow someone to increase their independence with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, and feeding. There are also many adaptive equipment options for cooking, medication management, driving, leisure engagement (i.e. hunting, fishing, gardening, etc.) and return to work. Adaptive equipment is both commercially sold or can be constructed by a health care professional.
Adaptive equipment options after stroke:
- Quad-cane, single point cane, hemi-walker, rolling walker, wheelchair, scooter
- Button hook, dressing stick, bra aid, zipper pull, shoe horn, sock aid, reacher, elastic shoelaces, leg lifter
- Rocker knife, scoop dish, built-up foam handles for utensils, non-slip matting, nosey cup, vertical knife
- Long-handled sponge, tub bench, shower chair, non-slip mat, automatic soap dispenser, hand-held shower
- Bedside commode, raised toilet seat, grab bars
- Pillbox (AM/PM, weekly, monthly), pill crusher, pill splitter, electronic pill box with alarm
- Rocker knife, one-handed cutting board, one-handed or automatic can openers, one-handed cheese slicer, pot stabilizer
- Adaptive fishing gear (Strong arm support, Ty-all, fishing pole mounts), Gardening (Easy up seat and kneeler, long-handled watering cans, long-handled pruning shears)
- Spinner knob, Left-foot accelerator, swivel seat cushion, handybar, adapted cars and vans
- Walker, wheelchair, power wheelchair, lifts, canes, prosthetic/orthotic devices
- Alternative and augmented communication devices, external aids for memory and cognition
Role of Therapy
As seen above, there are several different types of adaptive equipment with several options that can be customized for each individual. The majority of the time, a physical therapist is responsible for providing recommendations for mobility equipment. An occupational therapist provides recommendations on daily living equipment, and a speech therapist provides recommendations on communication equipment. A physical, occupational, or speech therapist can evaluate and recommend appropriate equipment based on specific deficits following stroke.
If you are unfamiliar with the equipment and proper use, it is important to seek a recommendation from a health care professional with experience recommending certain products. After recommendations are provided, therapy is beneficial to provide education and training on all equipment for increased safety and independence with activities of daily living or leisure/community engagement. Contact us today at Sage Rehabilitation for a professional evaluation and recommendation.