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OVERVIEW

Physical therapy has an extensive barrage of technology and equipment devices available. The rapid advances in technology benefit both clinicians and their clients. Technology ranges from exoskeletons that allow paraplegic clients to walk, monitoring devices that prevent individuals with Alzheimer from wandering out of their home, anatomy tables that replace cadavers, and equipment for biofeedback in the clinic ranging from pelvic floor contraction to balance and gait analysis. The clinician’s responsibility is to keep up-to-date with any equipment and technology relevant to their clientele and provide appropriate referral or guidance to individuals seeking more information about specific types of technology.

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HIGH-YIELD TERMS
Adaptive device An implement or equipment to increase the independence of a patient/client.
Assistive device An implement or equipment to aid patients/clients in performing movements, tasks, or activities.

EQUIPMENT

Definitions are as follows:

  • Adaptive devices: A variety of implements or equipment to increase the independence of patients/clients. Adaptive devices include the following:

    • Environmental controls.

    • Hospital beds.

    • Raised toilet seats.

    • Seating systems.

  • Assistive devices: A variety of implements or equipment to aid patients/clients in performing movements, tasks, or activities. Assistive devices include the following:

    • Canes.

    • Crutches.

    • Long-handled reachers.

    • Percussors and vibrators.

    • Power devices.

    • Static and dynamic splints.

    • Walkers.

    • Wheelchairs.

The clinician’s role is to provide the most appropriate assistive device and then teach the patient to use it correctly. The assistive devices used for gait training are described in Chapter 5.

  • Protective devices:

    • Cushions.

    • Helmets.

    • Protective taping.

    • Restraints.

  • Personal protective equipment: See the section on Wheelchairs.

  • Supportive devices:

    • Compression garments.

    • Corsets.

    • Elastic wraps.

    • Mechanical ventilators.

    • Neck collars.

    • Serial casts.

    • Slings.

    • Supplemental oxygen.

    • Supportive taping.

ASSISTIVE DEVICES

The clinician must always remember that several energy costs are associated with using various assistive devices (Table 5-10). The indications for using an assistive device include the following:

  • Decreased ability to bear weight through the lower extremities.

  • Muscle weakness or paralysis of the trunk or lower extremities.

  • Decreased balance and proprioception in the upright posture.

  • Joint instability and excessive skeletal loading.

  • Fatigue or pain.

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HIGH-YIELD TERMS TO LEARN
Non–weight-bearing A weight-bearing status used whenever a patient is not permitted to place any weight through the involved extremity.
Toe touch weight-bearing A weight-bearing status used whenever a patient is not permitted to place any weight through the involved extremity but may place the toes on the ground to assist with balance.
Partial weight-bearing A weight-bearing status used whenever a patient is only permitted to place a portion of their body weight through the involved extremity.

Assistive devices are often prescribed with an accompanying weight-bearing restriction. It must be remembered that most patients have difficulty replicating a prescribed ...

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