Adult ambulatory assistive devices: need for an improved design
The pairing of healthcare practitioners with engineers can produce products to revolutionise patient care. This paper discusses benefits of a novel-design ambulatory assistive device to promote gait efficiency and safety in adult individuals with balance disorders. Posterior-wheeled walkers are commonly used and reported in paediatric research literature to promote increased walking speed and decreased energy demand, when compared to anterior-wheeled walkers. Posterior walkers are not commonly utilised for adults in the USA, likely, due to limited commercial availability and problems with size and function of current designs. This paper reports a new equipment design for an adult posterior-wheeled walker with features that promote optimal skeletal alignment, allow normal stride length, and provide protection against backward and lateral falls, while reducing mechanical vibration within the device itself. Additional features enhance ease of storage, transport, and aesthetics.
Keywords: gait efficiency, safety, adult balance disorders, ambulatory assistive devices, wheeled walkers, posterior walkers, mobility aids, equipment design, healthcare technology, patient care, skeletal alignment, stride length, backward falls, lateral falls, mechanical vibration