Doing a little and feeling enabled - environmental control systems are a natural fit for occupational therapy

Oral (RES)

Michèle Verdonck1, Gill Chard2, Maeve Nolan1, Elizabeth Steggles3

1) National Rehabilitation Hospital, Ireland 2) University College Cork, Ireland 3) McMaster University, Canada

Aim: Occupational therapists facilitate participation in everyday life increasingly dominated by technology. Simple environmental control systems (ECS) facilitate engagement in occupations for people with severe physical impairment but many occupational therapists overlook this technology. This paper will encourage occupational therapists to pursue the use of ECS in clinical practice.

Method: An interactive approach will enable attendees to relate their clinical experience to research that explored the lived experience of using ECS in four focus groups and six in-depth interviews. The research will be presented using verbatim transcriptions, video clips and examples of interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Results: ECS users feel enabled and reclaim the capacity "to do". Attendees will understand that these benefits are not possible without first becoming used to using ECS which can be a hassle but ultimately enjoyable.

Conclusion: Occupational therapists will appreciate the viability and importance of ECS in clinical practice.

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