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Original Research Articles

Barriers in Using Assistive Devices among a Group of Community-dwelling Persons with Lower Limb Disabilities in Sri Lanka

Authors:

Inoka E Weerasinghe ,

Ministry of Health, LK; Johns Hopkins Centre for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624, N.Broadway, Baltimore MD, 21205, US
About Inoka E

Inoka E. Weerasinghe (MBBS, MSc, MD, Diploma in Applied Statistics) is an Acting Consultant Community Physician of Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka and is a Visiting Scholar of Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy.

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P Fonseka,

Department of Community Medicine, University of Ruhuna and Sri Jayawardanapura, LK
About P

P. Fonseka (MBBS, PhD) is a Professor with University of Ruhuna and Sri Jayawardanapura.

 
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S D Dharmaratne,

Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, LK; Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, University of Washington, US
About S D

S.D. Dharmaratne (MBBS, MSc, MD) is an Associate Professor and Consultant Community Physician of Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. He is an Affiliate Assistant Professor of Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, University of Washington, USA.

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J A M S Jayatilake,

Department of Oral Medicine, Faculty of Dental Sciences, University of Peradeniya, LK; University of Maryland Dental School, Baltimore, US
About J A M S

Jayatilake (BDS, PhD) is a Senior Lecturer at Department of Oral Medicine, Faculty of Dental Sciences, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and is a Visiting Scientist in University of Maryland Dental School, Baltimore, USA.

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Andrea C Gielen

Johns Hopkins Centre for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, US
About Andrea C

A.C.Gielen (ScM, ScD) is a Professor of Health, Behaviour and Society and Director of Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA Metrics and Evaluation in Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, University of Washington, USA.

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Abstract

Purpose: Rehabilitation with assistive devices is of great benefit to people with limb disabilities, enabling them to lead independent and productive lives. While assistive devices improve the quality of life of persons with lower limb disabilities by facilitating activities of daily living, there are also many barriers to their use. This study aims to describe these barriers among community-dwelling persons with lower limb disabilities in central Sri Lanka.

Methods: A community survey was conducted among adults between 18 and 59 years of age, to find persons with lower limb disabilities in Kandy Municipal Council area, in the central province of Sri Lanka. This was followed by purposive sampling to select a sub-sample of 12 individuals with unilateral lower limb disabilities for a qualitative study using in-depth interviews. Unilateral lower limb disabilities were identified using a clinical examination and World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 (WHODAS 2.0). A qualitative thematic content analysis was used to evaluate the interview text.

Results: Participants described several barriers in using assistive devices, such as unaffordable assistive technology like wheelchairs and artificial limbs, unavailability of appropriate assistive technology, difficulties associated with repair and maintenance, and problems in accessibility. Limited knowledge of modern technology also restricted their choice of better devices. Psychological barriers and stigma in using assistive devices directly affected their social lives and day-to-day activities as well.

Conclusion and Implications: People with lower limb disabilities face multiple barriers in using assistive devices. These barriers need to be addressed by improving local infrastructure and accessibility facilities, public awareness and funding, and ensuring continuous supply and maintenance services.

How to Cite: Weerasinghe, I.E., Fonseka, P., Dharmaratne, S.D., Jayatilake, J.A.M.S. and Gielen, A.C., 2015. Barriers in Using Assistive Devices among a Group of Community-dwelling Persons with Lower Limb Disabilities in Sri Lanka. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 26(1), pp.79–96. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5463/dcid.v26i1.410
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Published on 09 May 2015.

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