|Authors||Simon Judge, Zoë Clarke, Susan Baxter, Heath Reed, Nicola Heron, Avril Mccarthy, Joe Langley, Andrew Stanton, Oliver Wells, Gill Squire, Ann Quinn, Mark Strong, Pamela J Shaw, Christopher J Mcdermott|
|Journal||Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration, August 2016|
|External||Download Paper Publication|
Current practice and guidelines recommend the use of neck orthoses for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to compensate for neck weakness and to provide surrogate neck control. However, available options are frequently described by patients as restrictive and unsuitable and there was a need for a new device that addressed the needs of people with ALS. This project utilized a co-design process to develop a new neck orthosis that was more flexible yet supportive. Following development of a prototype device, a mixed methods cohort study was undertaken with patients and carers, in order to evaluate the new orthosis. Twenty-six patients were recruited to the study, with 20 of these completing all phases of data collection. Participants described the impact of neck weakness on their life and limitations of existing supports. Evaluation of the new orthosis identified key beneficial features: notably, increased support while providing a greater range of movement, flexibility of use, and improved appearance and comfort. In conclusion, the results of this evaluation highlight the value of this alternative option for people with ALS, and potentially other patient groups who require a neck orthosis.