In this unit the term “assistive technology” encompasses all technologies (high tech, low tech and no tech) which aid people (disabled or normal) to go about their daily life effectively and independently. In order to properly understand the uses and importance of Assistive Technology, some examples are sited below:
A short sighted student puts on glasses so he/she can read, thus, the glasses are an assistive technology.
A dyslexia patient cannot read the prescribed course texts and hence needs text-to speech software to scan and hear the words. Therefore both the scanner and the text-to-speech software are assistive technologies.
Also it has being noted that managing money is not the only problem that we are being faced with in this present society. There are also problems of facilities, technologies and the need for health care professionals to work efficiently in satisfying clients wants and demands, which tends to be a vital issue.
You have been recruited to work in a care home for 3 months. The care home has a limited access and availability of today’s assistive technologies. The manager introduces you to staff and residents as an experienced and valuable member of staff who has a good background in today’s assistive technology that is used within the health and social care sector. Your main role is to develop an understanding of the value and the use of the assistive technologies, its applications and implications on service and service users.
In relations to the above scenario write a detailed assignment covering the following points:
Investigate the use of and access to appropriate assistive and communication technologies for health and social care by:
Describing a range of technologies and devices available for use within health and social care.
Firstly, a brief introduction should be made on the meaning of Assistive Technology. These devices can be devices that substitutes or enhances physical or mental ability. According to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Assistive Technology devices are termed as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities”. These devices can be any homemade or commercially sold device which helps individuals perform some daily tasks and hence ranges from low tech to high tech (pencil grips, Braille readers, etc)
In the UK, the government tend to encourage equal participation of all individuals especially those with disabilities and thus, extends the use of AT in the health and social care sectors. Prior to this, disabled personnel’s are considered as priorities in all cases which then lead to the term called Accommodation in the use of AT devices.
WHAT THEN IS ACCOMODATION?
It might sound rather daunting in using this word here, but it also plays a vital role as it relates to a way of modifying tasks for the disabled so that they can participate equally regardless of the nature of their condition. For instance, the use of calculator for a disabled student that cannot remember mathematic figures is a way of accommodating his/her present conditions.
Below is the list of devices and products of different assistive technology been used.
Farm Management Adaptations
ceiling track lift
chair stair lift
augmentative communication devices (electronic)
electric page turners
manual page turners
personal voice amplification
computer work stations
special computer systems tactile printers
voice recognition systems
audio loop systems
FM amplification systems
infrared amplification systems
personal amplification systems
lift chairs/lift cushions
other medical equipment
adult light weight
adult travel chairs
child light weight
hand operated trikes
powered standing wheelchair
three-wheeled mobility devices
mechanical transfer lift
wheeled bath chair/commode
other therapeutic seats
postural support hardware
postural support systems
elevated mat tables
side lying boards
wheelchair restraint systems
large button phone
large print books
Describing a range of communications technologies available to services and service users.
In order to communicate properly within each other as integrated by the social and economic needs, some Sign language has being developed in recent years especially for the Deaf ones and partially deaf. Nowadays, not only the deaf needs communication training and courses but also relatives of the deaf, teachers, therapist and students of Sign Language are all participants. Below is the list of some basic communication devices that can be used by individuals
List of communication devices that can be used by individuals
augmentative communication devices (electronic)
electric page turners
manual page turners
personal voice amplification
Analysing barriers to the use of assistive technologies in health and social care
Funding: Although it has being proven to be cheap but the fact is that most AT’s are expensive and since most of the individuals cannot afford it, then they might not be able to have it unless something is done towards its provision to clients. Therefore in other to tackle this, other NGO, supported housing provision, private insurance, medicare, Medicaid, etc. can all be encouraged to support
Poor short term memory in elderly ones
Lower motivation and learning level present at elderly age
Change in users need
Unavailability of a particular device
Explaining benefits of technologies to organisations and individuals.
Wellford in (Birren, J. 1959) agreed with the importance of AT which makes life easier for the elderly, but was pessimistic as well saying that these devices deteriorates rapidly as the complexity increases.
Benefits of AT to individuals
We are all aware that whenever change is being made, everyone wants to know the benefits of it to us. For instance, in the political field, different parties campaign for election, but before people cast their vote, they will like to know the manifesto and intentions of various candidates and what they have to offer which will be beneficial. Similarly, these disabled ones will like to know the benefits of these devices before they can accept it and listed below are some of the benefits of AT to individuals;
This can be categorized into different sections as illustrated below;
Activities of daily life
The category applicable to individuals is the inner relations which encompasses of;
Helping individuals to have a good self-esteem
Building up their confidence by the use of the devices
By also ensuring that they are safe from harm and risks
By relieving them of some or all of their initial pains
By eliminating discomfort in their lives
Benefits of AT to organizations
Cost effectiveness: Most assistive technology and housing adaptations are much less expensive in the long term than conventional homecare, providing cost savings through reducing or removing existing spending on homecare
Security: the use of AT’s in most organisation has led to a well secured environment which makes the organization safe from harms and intruders. Examples of such AT’s include, CCTV, door
(Word Count: 1250 Words)
Analyze how technology can be applied to support independent living by:
2.1 Analyzing how the use of assistive technologies may support independent living.
As we all know, AT can only be beneficial if the solutions have a usability value for the individual end user. Prior to this, clients who also are humans have different needs in life which they will want to be respected and considered when introducing any device to them. These needs are classified as below:
Physical (body) -Basics (food warmth, shelter), Protection, Medication
Intellectual (Mind) – Education, Stimulation
Emotional (feelings) – Support, love, respect
Social (people) – friends, mixing with others, seeing friends & family, translators,
Cultural-Ethnicity, religion, festivals, dress, language, diet, prayer times, community magazine
From the above, we can now ensure that all or some of these needs are considered when providing devices for them. Fortunately for us and them as well, different AT’s have being developed which supports them in the following ways;
Different ways in which AT supports individuals
Moving about in the home
Knowing what clothes to put on
Lifting up and holding a child
Getting up in the morning
Opening and shutting windows
Understanding and being understood
Dressing and undressing
Moving about for shopping and banking
Making food to eat
Playing various games
Access to educational material and school
Access to media
Access to computers and regular software
Weeding of garden, etc.
The illustration below shows how one of the AT helps support independent living
Mr D has dementia. The calendar clock reminds him of the date and time, and he can use his pendant alarm to call for help if he needs to
Evaluating the use of assistive technology for one specific health and social care service user.
The most common AT equipment available to most individuals
Alarm button which can be pressed to call for help.
Easy 5 phone
Easy-use mobile phone
Provides reminders, e.g. ‘It’s night time, best go back to bed’
Linked to call center
Allows shopping to be ordered from home
Prevents sink / bath overflowing
Making recommendations of how assistive technologies might enhance services for individuals with specific health and social care need
Conclusions cannot just be made on how AT is important to the disabled without firstly, acknowledging that its efficiency is based on some criterions like;
Characteristics of the individuals user
Characteristics of the AT in use
The service delivery process
The integration of provision services into rehabilitation strategy
Reasons for using AT equipment
The most common problems which AT equipment were used for are:
Difficulty contacting Carer
Risk of fire
Fear of intruders
(Word Count: 1000 Words)
Evaluate implications of developments in assistive technologies which have potential for application in health and social care by:
3.1) Describing health and safety considerations in the use of assistive technologies.
New and innovative approaches to supporting carers of older people, such as technology, are now emerging (Sorensen 1997). But it has being proven by the department of health and safety that some of these AT devices can as well poise to endanger the health of individuals, hence some precautions has to be made in regards to this. Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 concluded by ensuring safe workplace
Ensures safe workplace. Employees should report all accidents & unsafe practices. Insists employers regularly audit their premises & act on any unsafe practices
3.2) Analyzing ethical considerations in the use of assistive technologies.
Before considering getting an AT for clients, we should firstly remember that they are our priority and thus, have to be consulted before to ensure;
Their preference is maintained
They are aware of the AT
They express their feeling about the decision
Their values and principles are maintained
All the aforementioned leads us to what is called a good ethics in AT. But clarity has to be made about what ETHIC is. According to Leubben (2003), “Ethics is the systematic reasoning of and critical reflection on morality” from the definition some core principles have being developed about ethics and they are
THE CORE ETHICAL PRINCIPLE
The principle of non-maleficence (do no harm)
The principle of beneficence (striving to be of benefit to someone/aiming to do good)
The principle of justice (treating everyone fairly)
Respect for patients’ autonomy (respecting someone’s rights to things like self determination, privacy, freedom, and choice and also, informed consent)
Adapted from Pellegrino et al (1989)
From the above principles and definition, it can hence be deduced that when providing AT for individuals, we must be sure that;
It does not put individuals and the organization at harm
It will be of good use and benefit to the individual, organization and other stakeholders
The individual have being accessed and confirmed to need the required AT
It does not violate any of the individuals personal beliefs, values, culture and principle
It agreed and supported by both the individual, organization and other stakeholders(e.g. relatives)
It conforms to the health and safety requirement standard set out by the legislations and policies
It will not bring about different relationship between care worker and client
3.3) Describing the impact of recent and emerging technological developments on health and social care services, organizations and workers.
Impact of recent technology in the setting
Replacing direct human contact with clients: Technological initiatives, however, are often developed primarily for economic reasons rather than to promote the social inclusion of older people and their carers. According to Magnusson, Hanson and Borg (2004), overall elder participants and their carers respond positively to such initiatives. In contrast, participating nurses express concerns that technology may replace direct human contact and obviate the need for professional staff (Whitten et al. 2003). Such attitudes may change as professionals become more accustomed to using technology in the workplace (Danskey and Bowles 2002).
Enhancing proper interaction within each other: Flatley Brennan et al. 1995) suggested the use of “computer-link” which encourages carers to discuss issues with each other using a public bulletin-board, have ready access to an electronic encyclopedia of information, and receive individual advice and support through private emails from a nurse facilitator both within and outside the organization
Developing of individuals: the introduction of AT’s to the organization has span up the need of organization to develop their individuals by sending them on trainings, seminars, workshops, etc. for an exploitation of knowledge which will in turn be useful to the organization and the individual as well.
Making individuals feel safe: individuals can now work and at the same time feel safe knowing that whenever they need help, it is always available to them by just simply, dialing a number or pushing a button. This has led to some compliment statements from individuals like;
“I could easily get help in an emergency”
3.4) Suggest how assistive technologies might influence the role of workers in health and social care in the future.
It is likely said that every thing has an advantage and disadvantage. Similarly these recent assistive technologies/ devices have its own advantages and disadvantages not only to the service users but also to the workers/carers that uses them. A recent survey shows that 80% of Carers agreed that AT’s had helped them in their caring role. Below are likely reasons influences of AT to workers;
Access to informal advice and support from fellow carers, increased self-confidence in decision-making, and in some cases reduces worker strain (Bass et al. 1998).
Access to User-friendly websites for carers e.g. In the UK, the Alzheimer’s Society’s Learning to Live with Dementia project has created a user-friendly website with the active involvement of people with early dementia and their carers (www.alzheimers.org.uk).
Reducing the workload on carers with the help of some AT’s for lifting , moving, alert, etc.
It also have some negative influence by making some workers lazy about and depending so much on AT
(Word Count: 1000 Words)
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