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. 2016 Mar 29;11(3):e0152707.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152707. eCollection 2016.

Use of and Self-Perceived Need for Assistive Devices in Individuals With Disabilities in Taiwan

Free PMC article

Use of and Self-Perceived Need for Assistive Devices in Individuals With Disabilities in Taiwan

Kwok-Tak Yeung et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article


Assistive devices (ADs) can help individuals with disabilities achieve greater independence, and it can enhance the quality of their lives. This study investigated the use of and self-perceived need for ADs in individuals with disabilities, and determined the influence of gender, age as well as type and degree of disability on the use of and self-perceived need for ADs. This descriptive study utilized a cross-sectional survey design with a convenience sample of participants. A total of 1018 subjects with disabilities who visited an exhibition of assistive technology and two ADs research and development centers completed a questionnaires either by themselves or via a caregiver who completed the questionnaire on behalf of the subject or via interviewers trained specifically for this study. The Mann-Whitney U test and Kruskal-Wallis test were used to determine the influence of participant characteristics on the use of ADs. The results showed that 77.2% and 83.3% of the participants reported that they used and needed AD(s) to engage in activities of daily living. The mean quantity of the use of and self-perceived need for total types of ADs were 3.0 and 5.3, respectively. Participants with different disabilities reported different percentages of the use of various types of ADs. No difference was found between genders and among the age groups in the use of quantity of ADs. Individuals with different types and degrees of disability used different quantities of ADs. Participants with physical, visual and multiple disabilities used significantly more ADs compared to participants with intellectual disability. The total quantity of ADs used increased significantly with increased severity of disability. The mean use of assistive devices was lower compared to the mean need of individuals with disabilities. Further study is required to determine why patients feel the need for but not currently use a specific assistive device.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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The authors have no support or funding to report.