I've had a few thoughts about Adaptive Equipment (AE) lately
I saw this post on OT Advocacy and read the second reference, a diatribe on the lack of utility of a sandwich holder which the author's OT wanted her to use. This was interesting to me on 2 counts, first: this entry reflects an unfortunate client-therapist relationship, since there is no point in forcefully recommending devices that the client does not want, and this should have come up during a session; second: I consider myself well versed in various AE items, even some that are obscure, thanks to a tech-based fieldwork and my mother's old texts (1977?) on facilitating independence in homemakers, yet I do not believe that I had ever heard of the sandwich holder. My first reaction was "how pointless," and I had been thinking of devices that could be permanently put out to pasture. Other nominees would include the button hook (how often do you really have to wear a shirt with buttons on it?) and the oven stick (hello microwave).But instead of starting a chronicle of useless devices, I had a second thought. Just as it does a client injustice to insist upon their purchase and use of a device, it is also inappropriate to know of AE that could be potentially helpful and desireable and not allow the choice to be theirs. Despite my knowledge of AE, I am a minimalist and a Mcgyver-ist as well. Never a reacher and a dressing stick when the reacher will suffice. Never a sock aid if we can put socks on using a footstool. But if someone expresses an interest or a problem that I know of an AE solution for, no matter how outlandish, then I feel obliged to discuss it with the client and let them make the final choice. For example, I had been working with a lady in her 80s who had a tibial plateau fx and was either non or toe-touch weightbearing. So her main transport was going to be a wheelchair, using a walker for transfers. She really, really, really wanted wheelchair gloves. I didn't think that it was necessary for her to spend money on those, but she enjoyed being able to propel herself around the facility at her own will.
Another story that comes to mind is from my very first fieldwork, when an OT had constructed what she termed "claws" out of splinting material and strapping that compensated for decreased grip in a pt who'd had a spinal cord injury. The specific pt that it was crafted for loved being able to use the claws to pull up his pants. My supervisor tried the same idea with one of her outpatient clients (who'd also had a high level SCI) but was in his 20s and wanted nothing to do with pink claws. I guess what I am taking a long time to say is 'different strokes for different folks'- there will be devices that are appropriate and wanted by some clients that will not be appropriate or wanted by others. And that should be a choice left up to the client.
On a PS note, the picture above is from one of my mom's texts, of which I believe the copyright is long expired. I may look through the collection and see what other illustrations and instructions can be shared for homemade adaptations, just in case anyone is curious.