1. Jordan, Kerry MSN, RN, CNS-BC
  2. Liu, Hao PhD, PT

Article Content


The purpose of this study was to evaluate cane use among older people to aid health professionals in understanding the needs of potential and current cane users.



Improper cane prescription and use have been shown to cause adverse consequences such as instability. Many authors have emphasized the importance of proper prescription and evaluation of canes by nurses in a variety of settings. However, studies describing how elders obtain and use their canes are lacking.



Descriptive, cross-sectional study design was used in this study.



In 5 senior living communities in Arkansas from February 1 to June 3, 2008, a total of 38 cane users (aged 83 +/- 10 years) were evaluated using a questionnaire. Participants were then assessed for cane maintenance and use during ambulation.



Almost 91% of all cane users in this study obtained a cane without appropriate medical consultation: 66% through self-purchasing, family members, or friends and 25% through medical professionals who did not give proper demonstration of cane use. Since these canes have been used, nearly 97% of them have not been reassessed during routine medical office visits. In the last 12 months, 29% of these users had at least 1 fall after having used the canes. Several issues of maintenance were identified, including inappropriate cane height (53%), worn-out or loose hand grips (including those wooden canes used for more than 2 years) (16%), inadequate capability of cane height adjustment (13%), and worn-out or loose rubber tips (11%). During ambulation, improper uses were recognized as (a) holding the cane on the incorrect side (34%), (b) losing the alternating gait pattern (32%) by advancing the cane and leg on the cane side simultaneously (21%) or holding the cane in the air especially during turns (11%), and (c) showing upright posture before ambulation but progressive forward leaning (16%) or rightward leaning (8%) during ambulation.



Failure to consult a medical professional, poor cane maintenance, and incorrect use during ambulation are prevalent.


Implications for Practice:

Knowledge of these problems could assist health professionals, including nurses, to provide community service or to implement appropriate intervention strategies to address problems related to cane use.


Section Description

The 2009 NACNS National Conference will be held in St Louis, Missouri, on March 5 to 7. More than 350 clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), graduate faculty, nurse administrators, nurse researchers, and graduate students are registered. This year's theme, "Clinical Nurse Specialists: Vision, Value, Voice," demonstrates the essential leadership skills of the CNS as well as the CNS role in implementing evidence-based practice.


Seventy abstracts were selected for either podium or poster presentations. Again, this year, there is a CNS student poster session. The abstracts addressed CNS practice in 3 practice domains (spheres of influence), emphasizing patient safety and quality care outcomes, leadership, evidence-based practice, and new ways to shape CNS practice. Topics include CNS work activities incorporated into 3 spheres of influence-patients, nursing practice, organization/system-including the development of clinical inquiry skills among staff nurses, use of simulation technology, strategies to maintain clinical excellence, CNS practice in end-of-life care decisions, and many new and thoughtful ideas to support CNS education, practice, and research. Collectively, the abstracts represent the breadth, depth, and richness of the CNSs' contribution to the well-being of individuals, families, communities, as well as to the advancement of the nursing profession.


The conference abstracts were published here to facilitate sharing this emerging new knowledge with those who were unable to attend the conference. As you read each abstract, appreciate the intellectual talent and clinical scholarship of your CNS colleagues who are advancing the practice of nursing and contributing to the health of society through improved outcomes for patients and healthcare organizations. We encourage you to contact individual presenters to network, collaborate, consult, or share your thoughts and ideas on the conference topics. Watch out for next year's call for abstracts and consider submitting for presentation at NACNS' next annual conference in Portland, Oregon, on March 4 to 6, 2010.