Mudge, S., Rewi, D., &Channon, A.(2015). Identifying an outcome measure to assess the impact of Mobility Dogs. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 1-11.
Contact corresponding author: Suzie Mudge
PURPOSE: Mobility Dogs® trains dogs to work with people with physical disabilities to increase independence, confidence, self-esteem and participation. Mobility Dogs® seeks to critically evaluate and improve its services as it grows. This study aimed to identify and implement a standardised outcome measure into practice at Mobility Dogs®.
METHOD: Based on the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research and guided by a steering group of key stakeholders, a three-phase approach was developed to identify and assess an outcome measure. The steering group highlighted the organisation's specific needs, selected participation as the assessment domain and identified core utility requirements of the measure. A comprehensive review of evidence was undertaken to identify and rank potential measures according to the specified needs.
RESULTS: Of the seven participation outcome measures that met inclusion criteria, the three highest ranked measures were critically evaluated by the steering group to determine suitability against the organisation's needs. The Impact on Participation and Autonomy (IPA) was selected for implementation into practice at Mobility Dogs®.
CONCLUSION: Use of the IPA is an important first step for Mobility Dogs® to test the benefits of trained service dogs. This process could be replicated by other service dog organisations to identify outcome measures to assess their own services. Implications for Rehabilitation Service dogs (such as Mobility Dogs® in New Zealand) assist people living with physical impairments by performing tasks, however there is limited evidence on outcomes. The process for selecting an appropriate outcome measure for Mobility Dogs® involving partnership between Mobility Dogs® personnel and academics was an effective way to steer the project by determining important properties of the measure, before a search of the literature was undertaken. While the IPA was selected as the most appropriate outcome measure for use at Mobility Dogs®, it was the process that is valuable to replicate if other organisations wish to select an outcome measure for use in their own practice