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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 43-49

Utilization of assistive devices in occupational therapy practice in Tamil Nadu, India: A statewide survey

External and Regulatory Affairs, NBCOT Inc., Gaithersburg, MD, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Karthik Mani
335, W Side Dr, Gaithersburg, MD 20878
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoth.ijoth_31_19

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Background: The provision of assistive devices (ADs) to enable function is a well-established component of occupational therapy (OT) practice. However, multiple client and therapist factors prevent the utilization of ADs in practice. Objectives: This study aimed to explore the utilization of ADs in OT practice in Tamil Nadu (TN). Study Design: The survey research design was used to conduct this study. A ten-item electronic survey was developed based on the research question. Methods: The survey was E-mailed to 295 occupational therapists in TN identified through convenience sampling. The survey link was also shared on four WhatsApp Messenger groups (Tamil Nadu Branch of All India Occupational Therapists' Association Official Group, OTist Group, Clinic OT, and Santosh Alumni) with many occupational therapists belonging to TN (snowball sampling). Data were collected between August 29, 2019, and September 20, 2019. Results: Thirty-five occupational therapists responded to the survey. Writing and eating utensils were the commonly prescribed ADs in TN OT practice. Client factors, cultural factors, lack of availability, cost, and therapists' skill may contribute to the limited usage of ADs in Indian OT practice. Innovating low-cost culturally acceptable ADs, educating stakeholders, and training practitioners on how to prescribe/utilize ADs in practice may mitigate the barriers related to ADs use. Conclusion: The usage of ADs in TN OT practice is limited. Multiple factors affect the utilization of ADs in the Indian context of practice. A multipronged approach focusing on innovative device development, advocacy, and skill development is needed to promote the utilization of ADs in Indian OT practice.

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