Environmental control unit (ECU) permits
remote control of electronic devices for the individuals’
surroundings such as their home temperature and
entertainment systems. This allows a person to turn on or
off lights, a radio or television, and use a phone and or
unlock a door from a remote or other room location. Any
part of the person’s environment can be controlled
depending upon the system’s complexity. It enables
independence for physically and functionally disabled
clients, and reduces burden and frequency of demands on
To assess the perception of patients with cervical spine
injuries at Government Spine Institute after using
environmental control units.
Twenty (20) patients with cervical spine injuries were
approached for the study. 12 of 20 patients were selected
for the study on the basis of inclusion and exclusion
criteria. A brief questionnaire was given to the patients
when they just got admitted to the hospital. Occupational
therapists gave ECUs training to them on daily basis in
occupational therapy department for 1month. The same
questionnaire was filled up again when they got discharge.
Data were analysed using descriptive statistics.
The majority of respondents reported using ECUs in
hospital-based treatment with the patients with cervical
spinal cord injuries. However, a few respondents only
recommended ECUs for home use. High cost and the lack
of support from government or third- party
reimbursement were the primary reasons that deterred
respondents from recommending ECUs for home use.
Fifty-five percent of the respondents reported a need for
basic training and more in-depth education and training
in environmental control technologies.
Discussion & Conclusion:
ECUs were well accepted by the patients with cervical
spinal cord injuries in the inpatient setting, and increased
patients’ perceptions of independence. To maximise
usability and satisfaction, facilities should ensure that
comprehensive training on ECU use and features
available is offered to all patients, and resources are
available for timely troubleshooting and maintenance.
The future study can be done with a larger sample size to
increase the effectiveness of the study. Outcomes data are
needed to support the use of ECUs and to educate
government and third-party payers about the benefits of
ECUs for clients with quadriplegia in order to increase
rates of reimbursement
Keywords : Environmental Control Unit, Cervical Spine Injuries, Quadriplegia.