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Title: Designing a task assessment tool for ease and risk within the domestic environment
Author: Zaheer, Asim
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 4736
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) enable people to continue to live independently, as far as possible. Slowing down a person’s decline or utilising equipment to maintain independence is a growing area of research. However, how we carry out daily tasks within the home can accelerate this decline. To date, little or no consideration has been given to quantifying load and the risk level associated with the performance of daily tasks within the home environment. This study evaluates and quantifies load and the risk level associated with the performance of domestic tasks which could be responsible for a person’s change in behaviour in the later stages of life. In order to understand the IADL tasks, an initial survey was used to gather different people’s perceptions about these tasks, and then to discover the hardest sub-task within the selected tasks. An observational study used existing ergonomic assessment methods to evaluate the postural load, and revealed that existing ergonomic tools are not enough on their own as they did not identify other risks which are associated with the performance of daily tasks. Finally, a task assessment tool for ease and risk (AER) was developed to evaluate and quantify the risk associated with the performance of daily tasks. AER is useful in the detection of early warnings (pre-event) for healthy individuals as well as for those undergoing rehabilitation, as it can easily identify the tasks that are hardest to perform. The tool is based on three risk parameters: (1) psychological perception of the tasks, (2) adopted postures and (3) manual handling. It is capable of assessing the risk level associated with individual tasks while simultaneously assessing the domestic load over a period of time. The novelty of this work is to propose a self-assessment tool which provides the knowledge about a person’s own risk associated with the performance of domestic tasks. The initial development of AER consisted of two phases: (1) development of AER and (2) evaluation of user trials, based on (a) ease of use of AER record sheet and (b) validity study. The AER trials overall used 20 healthy able-bodied participants and both trials were performed in the home environment. AER consists of a booklet and record sheets and specifically covers instrumental activities of daily living (IADL)[1] tasks but can also be extended to cover all tasks performed in the home environment. In the ease of use trial, the feedback questionnaire confirmed that AER is easy to use, free from ambiguity, applicable to almost all the tasks performed in the home environment and almost all participants agreed that AER does not require training for assessment. In the validity trials, the AER predicted risk level is measured in relation to perceived discomfort and it was found that AER has high sensitivity (78%), specificity (74%) and predictive (73% positive and 80% negative) values which revealed that AER is a sensitive and useful tool for identifying risk and perceived discomfort in performing daily tasks. It also concluded that the participants’ self-assessed (IADL) exposure scores were reasonably similar as compared to the researcher’s assessment and revealed that regular use of AER will help to obtain more accurate and reliable results. AER is able to assess the risk level associated with a single task and can also assess the general behaviour or domestic load over a period of time. AER is also helpful for identifying those tasks which required more caution when performed and which are responsible for someone’s change in behaviour in later life. Moreover, it is believed that AER may play a vital role in the development of comprehensive and proactive strategies for the detection of problems related to the home environment and for managing them effectively before it can affect a person’s quality of life.
Supervisor: Rowson, Jennifer ; Carre, Matt Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available