Purpose: User satisfaction with assistive devices is a predictor of use and an important outcome measure. This study evaluated client satisfaction with prosthetic and orthotic assistive devices and services in three provinces in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Method: A cross-sectional study was done, using the Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with Assistive Technology questionnaire. The sample was drawn from the client register of three of the five Rehabilitation Centres in the country which are under the Ministry of Health’s Centre for Medical Rehabilitation. Clients were eligible if they had received their device in the 12 months prior to the study. Based on the number of registered clients, the sample size was calculated as 274 with a 95% confidence interval, with the final sample N = 266. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were also conducted (N = 34).
Results: Most of the assistive devices were in use at the time of the survey and were reported to be in good condition (n = 177, 66.5%). The total mean score for satisfaction (services and device combined) was 3.80 (SD 0.55). Statistically significant differences were observed in satisfaction between gender and location of residence. Effectiveness and comfort were rated as the two most important factors when using a device; at the same time, these were the most common reasons for dissatisfaction and sub-optimal use.
Conclusion and Implications: Clients were quite satisfied with the assistive device and services provided, yet many reported barriers to optimal device use and difficulties in accessing follow-up services. There is a need to examine how prosthetic and orthotic devices can be improved further for better comfort and ambulation on uneven ground in low-resource contexts and to address access barriers.