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Rehabilitation Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 454195, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/454195
Research Article

Barriers and Facilitators to Community Mobility for Assistive Technology Users

School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, VIC 3125, Australia

Received 25 April 2012; Revised 13 July 2012; Accepted 15 July 2012

Academic Editor: K. S. Sunnerhagen

Copyright © 2012 Natasha Layton. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Mobility is frequently described in terms of individual body function and structures however contemporary views of disability also recognise the role of environment in creating disability. Aim. To identify consumer perspectives regarding barriers and facilitators to optimal mobility for a heterogeneous population of impaired Victorians who use assistive technology in their daily lives. Method. An accessible survey investigated the impact of supports or facilitators upon actual and desired life outcomes and health-related quality of life, from 100 AT users in Victoria, Australia. This paper reports upon data pertaining to community mobility. Results. A range of barriers and enablers to community mobility were identified including access to AT devices, environmental interventions, public transport, and inclusive community environs. Substantial levels of unmet need result in limited personal mobility and community participation. Outcomes fall short of many principles enshrined in current policy and human rights frameworks. Conclusion. AT devices as well as accessible and inclusive home and community environs are essential to maximizing mobility for many. Given the impact of the environment upon the capacity of individuals to realise community mobility, this raises the question as to whether rehabilitation practitioners, as well as prescribing AT devices, should work to build accessible communities via systemic advocacy.