240133 Assessing Life-Space Mobility Among People with Disabilities in Alabama

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Stephen Firsing III, MPA, MA , Dept of Human Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, Univ of Alabama at Birmingham & United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Brian F. Geiger, EdD, FAAHE , College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Department of Human Studies, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

In 2008, about 740,000 Alabamians reported some form of disability. Life-space mobility (LSM) is a validated measure of mobility and general health, important factors of quality of life for people with disabilities. LSM incorporates where a person goes, the frequency of going there, and the use of help or equipment from another person; it is a "complex functional domain impacted by sociodemographic, general-health and mental-status factors." In response to limited information, researchers are poised to assess LSM among people with disabilities in Alabama. This assessment is funded by a U.S. HUD Community Development Block Grant.

Methods: Permission was granted by the UAB Center for Aging to develop a LSM needs assessment instrument for people with disabilities and their caregivers (proxy measure). Questions address five domains: mobility within home; outside home but within yard/driveway; within neighborhood; outside neighborhood but within town; and outside town. Additional demographical and functional status questions will be incorporated. Instrument will be assessed for content validity and pilot tested. They will be distributed to both groups via agency/individual contacts and professional meetings.

Results: Identification of LSM values will lead to the development of interventions to improve mobility of people with disabilities within their home and community. This information is invaluable to policy makers, researchers, and organizations that serve people with disabilities.

Conclusions: LSM is considered to be a contributing factor to quality of life and personal independence and autonomy. There is a current need to assess LSM among people with disabilities in Alabama.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1) Define and describe life-space mobility 2) Design a life-space mobility instrument for people with disabilities and their caregivers (proxy measure) 3) Demonstrate how life-space mobility can be used to develop interventions to improve mobility among people with disabilities

Keywords: Disability, Community Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student with sufficient knowledge regarding appropriate and ethical research practices and I am a Project Coordinator for a U.S. HUD Community Development Grant
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.