Neuropsychological rehabilitation 2014 10 2125(2) 283-97 doi 10.1080/09602011.2014.970557
Use of assistive devices has been shown to be beneficial as a compensatory memory strategy among brain injury survivors, but little is known about possible advantages and disadvantages of the technology. As part of an intervention study participants were interviewed about their experiences with the use of low-cost, off-the-shelf, unmodified smartphones combined with Internet calendars as a compensatory memory strategy. Thirteen community-dwelling patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) received a 6-week group-based instruction in the systematic use of a smartphone as a memory compensatory aid followed by a brief structured open-ended interview regarding satisfaction with and advantages and disadvantages of the compensatory strategy. Ten of 13 participants continued to use a smartphone as their primary compensatory strategy. Audible and visual reminders were the most frequently mentioned advantages of the smartphone, and, second, the capability as an all-in-one memory device. In contrast, battery life was the most often mentioned disadvantage, followed by concerns about loss or failure of the device. Use of a smartphone seems to be a satisfactory compensatory memory strategy to many patients with TBI and smartphones come with features that are advantageous to other compensatory strategies. However, some benefits come hand-in-hand with drawbacks, such as the feeling of dependency. These aspects should be taken into account when choosing assistive technology as a memory compensatory strategy.