Safe Effective and Efficient Walking Aid Use

The use of walking aids, or more than one walking aid is significantly associated with an increased risk of falls for people with MS. 


What was the aim of this study?

The purpose of this study was to identify potential items for an observational screening tool to assess safe, effective and appropriate walking aid use among people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Such a tool is needed because of the association between fall risk and mobility aid use in this population.

What was involved?

17 health professionals from Ireland, Canada and the United States were interviewed as they watched videos of people walking in situations where falls are likely. These conversations were analysed to identify what they talked about most frequently when we asked them about safe, effective and efficient walking aid use. 


What were the findings?

Nineteen codes were identified as possible items for the screening tool. The most frequent issues raised regardless of setting and device were “device used for duration/abandoned”, “appropriate device”, “balance and stability”, “device technique”, “environmental modification” and “hands free.” The link for the full text of this paper can be found here.



Who was involved? 

This research was conducted in collaboration with Prof Marcia Finlayson, Occupational Therapist, from Queens University Kingston. Dr Susan Coote and Josephine O'Connor (year 4 physio student, UL) were the Irish team involved in the study.