Toward a hierarchy of adaptation to biomedical technology

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Abstract

The article attempts to derive a hierarchy of patient adaptation for a variety of technologic devices that are used in medical and nursing care. A review of related literature on some existing taxonomies of biomedical technology and an empiric foundation based on Roy's Adaptation Model suggest that patient adaptation to biomedical devices is affected by at least two factors—the degree of invasiveness and automation—that are inherent in all bedside devices. It appears that patients' need for adaptation to technology is more apparent as automation decreases and invasiveness increases. Further research is necessary to determine whether this relationship holds for all types of technology and to identify additional factors that might contribute to the development of an adaptation hierarchy for technologic devices. The nurse's role as a mediator of stress between the patient and technology is also explored.

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