What is abandonment?
Abandonment occurs when a person stops using a device. There may be a number of reasons for this. On average, 30% of AT is abandoned within one year of receiving the product.
For the user, abandonment of AT can result in a lost opportunity for improving quality of life, and can lead to frustration and poor psychological outcomes.
For the service provider, there is a loss of resources and increased environmental waste, particularly when abandoned AT is unable to be recovered, reused or recycled.
As the rates of non-communicable disease and disability increase, and global populations age, it is likely that there will be more demand for AT products. Therefore, the issue of abandonment is a significant social and economic issue thneeds tosto be considered by service providers.
What causes abandonment?
- Personal factors: age, gender, acceptance and understanding of diagnosis, changes in health, mental health, changes in personal situation.
- Device factors: poor design or assembly, quality of product, durability, appearance, weight, transport difficulties, function.
- Environment factors: social support, discrimination, physical barriers.
- Service delivery factors: user participation, user training, follow up support, poor prescription, poor fitting, poor adjustment, device causes pain.
What can services do to reduce abandonment?
Satisfaction with a service is as important as satisfaction with a device in reducing abandonment.
Strategies that can help to prevent abandonment include:
- Client-centred approach: promoting the user’s involvement in all decisions leads to greater satisfaction and fewer issues.
- Quality service delivery: having structured approaches to service delivery and ensuring quality support leads to greater use of AT.
- Follow up: home visits and follow up help to support changes in the user’s condition and any need for maintenance, user training or device adjustments.
- Quality products: talking with suppliers and donors to advocate for appropriate, quality products minimises device issues.
- Peer support: connecting people with other users helps them in decision making and with acceptance of their AT.
- Client education: Better education allows clients to make informed decisions reducing the likelihood of abandonment.
- Professional development: continuing training of personnel will give them the necessary skills for quality service delivery.
- Advocacy: integrating AT, accessibility and inclusion into public policies will help overcome social and environmental factors that increase abandonment.
For more information email our Programme Director, Lauren Flaherty.