Impact of assistive technology on family caregivers of children with physical disabilities: a systematic review
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
Purpose: To systematically review the literature on the effects of assistive technology (AT) on family caregivers of children with physical disabilities. Method: Electronic searches of Medline, CINAHL Plus, PubMed, and PsychInfo were conducted. The main search terms were AT, caregiver, physical disability, cerebral palsy and quality of life. Studies were included if they related to the impact of AT on the family caregiver of children with physical impairment. Data extraction and quality assessments were conducted by three reviewers. Results: Five articles were eligible for inclusion. Two studies rated weak quality of evidence (level 5), two studies rated moderate quality of evidence (level 3), and one article was a systematic review, rating high level of quality (level 1). A paucity of literature, small sample sizes, descriptive study designs and weak methodological quality meant a narrative review was possible. Three articles reported that AT lightened caregiver assistance in the areas of mobility, self- care and social function. Conclusions: Evidence suggests that AT has a positive impact on children with physical impairments and their caregivers. Future studies in this area could include valid and reliable outcome measures of AT use and the psychological impacts of AT on caring for a child with physical impairments.