There is a new study about to get going at Brunel University, about adaptive equipment, and particularly the guidance they have produced on measuring the home environment.
Self-assessment in health care
Conor Acheson, an MSc student in Occupational Therapy at Brunel University, has asked us to help recruit participants for his research into available guidance for measuring adaptive equipment at home.

The main purpose of his study is to explore views and perceptions around self-assessment in health care, and using a measurement guidance book to facilitate measuring various items in the home environment for the provision of adaptive equipment.

Self-assessment has been defined in a variety of ways in recent years, ranging from any assessment that takes into account the service users’ views of their needs to those that provide individuals with information about ‘their goals, circumstances and environment’ to be used by them ‘as a basis for decision-making about their future actions and need for assistance’.

The term adaptive equipment refers to a piece of equipment that is used to increase the ability of an individual to engage in one or more tasks of daily living. Examples include grab rails, walking sticks, bath boards and raised toilet seats.

Study building on earlier Brunel University research
This research is aiming to progress research that has already taken place, developing a measurement guidance booklet to enable service users and health professionals to measure home furniture reliably and accurately for the provision of adaptive equipment.

After you have completed some tasks using this measurement guidance booklet, the researcher would like to get your views and perceptions on the idea of self-assessments, as well as insight into your experience using the measurement guidance booklet provided which assists with the measurement of your own home environment and body in order to ensure the successful fit of equipment. (e.g. walking aids, raised toilet seats, bath boards, bed/chair raisers, stair rails, grab rails).

Who can get involved with this research?
The researcher is looking to recruit participants who are:

• 60 years or older

• having some difficulty moving around in the home (for example, moving to and from furniture, managing the stairs and toileting) and think that appropriate adaptive equipment may help.

• able to speak and read English

• computer literate, with access to a computer to send and receive emails via the internet

• able to access a telephone or Skype audio to receive a phone call

• Participants may or may not be receiving informal or formal care to help with everyday tasks, and may seek assistance from carers when completing this research if needed.

• The study is not relevant to permanent wheelchair users, those who are confined to bed, or living in residential care

The research is conducted by MSc. Occupational Therapy student Conor Acheson from Brunel University London, and is being supervised by Dr. Georgia Spiliotopoulou.

It has been approved by the College of Health and Life Sciences ethics committee.

What will participants need to do?
Participants will need to communicate with the researcher via phone, Skype or email.

They will need to read the informed consent sheet and complete a document entitled ‘Stage 1 of Research’ which arranges the method for receiving the relevant materials to complete this study, and then return the document to the researcher via email or phone.

The core activity will be completing a set of scenarios, received in the post or via email, ‘Stage 2 of Research’ which includes measuring various items in their home environment with a measuring tape, using a guidebook for instruction. This should take approximately 5 – 15 minutes.

Subsequently, participants will provide feedback about the procedures via a telephone or Skype call lasting 20 to 30 minutes. The interview will be recorded and transcribed, but no names will be published during the presentation of the data.

If you might be interested in taking part, you can contact the researcher directly for full information by email or phone 0203 289 9245.