The dual-task methodology and assessing the attentional demands of ambulation with walking devices.
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The purposes of this article are (1) to provide a preliminary examination of the attentional demands of ambulating with two commonly prescribed walking aids (a standard walker and a rolling walker) and (2) to introduce the dual-task methodology to the physical therapy community. Five subjects familiar with the appropriate use of the walkers and five subjects uninformed as to the correct use of the walkers participated in the study. Each subject completed the three phases of the experiment: (1) performing the reaction time (RT) task only; (2) performing each of the walking tasks only; and (3) performing each of the walking tasks in conjunction with the RT task, which constituted the dual-task conditions. The findings indicated that walking aided by either the rolling walker or the standard walker was highly attention demanding. More importantly, it appears that greater attentional demand was required when ambulating with the standard walker. These results are discussed with respect to the gait modifications and accuracy demands required when using these walkers. The usefulness of the dual-task methodology as a research tool for addressing clinically oriented questions is emphasized, and some potential applications of this methodology for the therapist within the clinic are discussed.
author list (cited authors)
Wright, D. L., & Kemp, T. L.