Purpose: Past research with JACO has principally focused on the short-term impacts on new users. Therefore, this study aims to document the long-term impacts of this assistive device on users and their family caregivers following prolonged use.
Methods: Users' characteristics, caregivers' characteristics and expenses related to JACO were documented with questionnaires designed for this study. Upper extremity performance was measured with an adaptation of an upper extremity performance test, the TEMPA, and accomplishment of life habits was documented in an interview based on the LIFE-H questionnaire. Satisfaction with JACO and psychosocial impacts of its use were measured with validated questionnaires, namely the QUEST and the PIADS-10. Impacts of JACO on family caregivers were documented with a validated questionnaire, the CATOM. Descriptive statistics were used to report the results.
Results: Seven users and five caregivers were recruited. One user had expenses related to JACO in the past two months. Users had a better upper extremity performance with JACO than without it and they used their robotic arm to accomplish certain life habits. Most users were satisfied with JACO and the psychosocial impacts were positive. Impacts on family caregivers were slight.
Conclusions: JACO increased performance in manipulation and facilitated the accomplishment of certain life habits. Users' increased participation in their life habits may slightly decrease the amount of caregiver assistance required. Future studies are needed to clarify its economic potential, its impact on caregivers' burden, including paid caregivers, and the variability in the tasks performed using JACO. Implications for Rehabilitation The use of JACO may have positive impacts on its users in terms of upper extremity performance, accomplishment of life habits, satisfaction with the device and psychosocial impacts. More research is needed to quantify more accurately the economic potential of the long-term use of JACO, to explore the factors related to the variability in the tasks performed using JACO, and to clarify the impact of JACO on caregivers' burden, including paid caregivers.
Keywords: Assistive technology; caregiver; rehabilitation; robotic; upper extremity.