The abandonment of assistive technology in Italy: A survey of National Health Service users

Stefano Federici, Fabio Meloni, Simone Borsci

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This study was an extension of research which began in the Umbria region in 2009. AIM: To investigate the extent to which assistive technology (AT) has been abandoned by users of the Italian National Health Service (ULHS) and the reasons for this.

Observational study. Setting: Users who received a hearing device (HD) or mobility device (MD) by ULHS between 2010 and 2013.

749 out of 3,791 ULHS users contacted via telephone completed the interview: 330 (44.06%) had a HD and 419 (55.94%) a MD.

Data were collected using a specially developed telephone interview questionnaire including the Italian version of the Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with AT (QUEST 2.0) and Assistive Technology Use Follow-up Survey (ATUFS).

134 users (17.9%) were no longer using their assigned AT device within seven months of issue and 40% of this group reported that they had never used the device. Duration of use (for how long the AT device was used before abandonment) and satisfaction with service delivery did not predict AT abandonment. People who received a HD where more likely to abandon their device (22.4%) than those who received a MD (14.4%).

Abandonment may be due to assignment of inappropriate devices or failure to meet user needs and expectations. These findings are consistent with previous data collected by Federici and Borsci in 2009. Utility of AT in use, reasons of abandonment, and importance of device and service satisfaction for the use or non-use of an AT are presented and discussed. Clinical Rehabilitation Impact: AT abandonment surveys provide useful information for modelling AT assessment and delivery process. The study confirms the relevance of person centredness approach for a successful AT assessment and delivery process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-526
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean journal of physical and rehabilitation medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Patient satisfaction
  • Self-help devices
  • Surveys and questionnaires


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