Opportunities - Feasibility of an app-based walker fitting and gait training education program for older adults

Feasibility of an app-based walking aid training education program for older adults
University of Calgary

Over 33% of adults aged 75 and older use walking aids such as canes, crutches, and walkers to facilitate independence and enhance balance. Walking aid use may be associated with upper body pain or injury, and increased risk of falling. These risks likely increase when walking aid users are not properly fit with their devices or trained on how to use their walking aid. To address this potential learning gap, a novel bilingual low-cost mobile application, Improving Canadians Walking Aid Skills, Learning and Knowledge© (ICanWALK©) has been developed. The ICanWALK© app allows users to select a specific skill related to fitting or walking with their walking aid and watch an instructional video on that skill. Then, the participant is videotaped while performing the skill to compare the similarity to the instructional video, while being guided through a series of skill performance questions to determine which skill components they can improve upon.

The objectives of this research are to assess the feasibility of a trial with the ICanWALK© app, and determine whether the ICanWALK© app is user-friendly and valuable for older adults. If the app is deemed useful by users this will help make the app available for clinical use by patients, caregivers, and clinicians in Canada, and will help fuel a larger randomized clinical trial to evaluate the effect of the app on clinical and functional outcomes. This research, designed and conducted with the help of patients, will help improve the experience of patients who use walking aids, both in Alberta and beyond.

Roles and Responsibilities
This opportunity is looking for older adult (over 65 years old) walking aid users and/or caregivers to form a working group that will meet virtually (once a month) to provide feedback on our study protocol and recruitment strategy, as well as provide insights into the interpretation of findings. Patient and caregiver partners will also be asked to assist in developing knowledge translation activities, and will be offered opportunities for co-authorship and patient-led presentations of findings.

Time Commitment
This project aims to start July 2023 and continue for a year. Patient partner collaboration will include monthly Zoom meetings of about 1-2 hours long each.

Compensation for attendance at monthly meetings will be offered as per AbSPORU guidelines.
This is an online activity so there are no expenses anticipated for travel or parking.

For more information or to apply
Maureen O’Brien