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Usage patterns of environmental control units by severely disabled individuals in their homes

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3 Author(s)
von Maltzahn, W.W. ; Whitaker Found., Washington, DC, USA ; Daphtary, M. ; Roa, R.L.

The authors investigated usage patterns of environmental control units (ECUs) by severely disabled individuals in their homes and evaluated the effect of ECUs on families and caregivers. Five modular ECUs with internal data loggers were built and placed into the homes of volunteering subjects. Each week, for 16 weeks, the data of every single ECU activity were uploaded, the data logger was reset, and the subjects were questioned about their experience with the ECU. Evaluating the data showed the most important ECU functions to be telephone and attendant call, both for the disabled individual as well as the care-giver. The most used functions, on the other hand, were the control of various entertainment devices such as television sets, stereos, and VCRs. Disabled individuals with a positive outlook on life use an ECU more frequently and, therefore, benefit more from an ECU than passive and resigned users. Finally, the families and care-givers of disabled persons appreciate the benefits of ECUs as much as the disabled users did themselves

Published in:

Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 2 )