Assistive technologies For People with Disabilities

Assistive technologies represent a great potential for the age domain and the market is booming. This file deals with an important question concerning the introduction and use of these technologies, and presents the projects of CURAVIVA Switzerland in connection with this theme.

The term “assistive technologies” refers to technical means to help people compensate for functional limitations. In addition to manually controlled devices, this term increasingly covers computer-aided technical means equipped with modern communication technologies. Older people, with or without disabilities, living at home or in a home, of course, represent a target group as well as the staff of the medical homes, for whom these technologies can be a support and / or a discharge. The range of “assistive technologies” can therefore be very broad, ranging from walking aids to alarm systems to electronic monitoring of vital data using sensors or robotics.

Situation in Swiss EMS

In Swiss health and social care facilities, assistive technologies such as lifting devices, electric wheelchairs or devices used for animation such as the “Paro” baby seal robot are occasionally found. Many institutions use electronic planning and documentation tools for their day-to-day operations. This brings us naturally to the theme of eHealth, which brings together the various electronic services and applications in the health sector. Although assistive technologies are increasingly used in Swiss EMS, their potential is not yet fully exploited. The Swiss eHealth Barometer – an annual survey of health sector stakeholders, in which CURAVIVA Switzerland participates as a partner – has highlighted, for EMS, a need for training in the use of new technologies. The decision to acquire and use assistive technologies depends on many factors in the technical, economic, legal and ethical fields.

Brochure: Ethical Aspects of Using Assistive Technologies

The use of assistive technologies may also raise ethical issues. How do managers integrate the needs of self-determination, freedom, privacy and security of residents into their decisions? How much technicality can be admitted without compromising the quality of human contacts in care and support? Employees of EMS will increasingly be confronted with these kinds of questions if they wish to use the opportunities offered by new technologies responsibly.

The booklet “Ethical aspects related to the use of assistive technologies in long-term care institutions (EMS)” (2016) produced for the CURAVIVA Switzerland Senior Specialized Domain offers practical tips for responsible use. assistive technologies. This booklet covers six areas of sensitive use of assistive technologies, as well as the ethical dimensions related to them.

Study: Success Factors for the Introduction and Use of Assistive Technologies

Acceptance of new technologies by end-users, ie. Residents and employees of EMS, plays a big role in the success of the technical means implemented. But what are its determining factors? A study carried out in 2014 on behalf of CURAVIVA Switzerland’s Senior Citizens’ Area focused on this issue, focusing on the point of view of healthcare staff and socio-cultural support. This study shows, among other things, that the user-friendliness and the quality of the results of the technologies implemented are very important. It has also shown that these technologies are particularly well-accepted when they allow unloading of heavy, routine or administrative work. On another side, the use of technical means for treatment in direct contact with people requiring care is not desired. The watchword is therefore: to unload the caregivers and not to replace them.

Auxiliary resources: an overview of assistive technologies

CURAVIVA Switzerland’s Senior Adult Area, in collaboration with webways, has developed the CURAsolutions technical portal, which provides an overview of new assistive technologies for EMS (only in German). The products can be searched by categories (administration, communication, mobility, orientation, care, assistance and safety) and, in order to ensure the link with the practice, they are also classified according to the main technical topics such as fire protection, prevention falls and fugues. Finally, Internet users have the opportunity to discover the areas of use and products through a virtual tour of the premises of an EMS.

How to implement assistive technologies in the future in an increasingly space-oriented habitat and care model social? The networking of different service providers and the integrated implementation of new technologies are crucial for new forms of housing and care. CURAVIVA Switzerland Senior Specialist Group has commissioned the Forschungszentrum für Informatik (Karlsruhe) to develop a concept for the integrated implementation of future “health centers” under the “2030 Housing and Care Model” from CURAVIVA Switzerland. The results are expected for 2017.

International projects: “Active and Assisted Living”    

The European Active and Assisted Living (AAL) program promotes the development of innovative, hands-on solutions that enable older people to lead an active and independent life through the technologies of the elderly. information and communication. CURAVIVA Switzerland’s Senior Adult Area regularly participates in AAL projects: as an end-user organization, it provides developers with important information about the needs of end-users, including EMS residents and the professionals who work there . In addition, new approaches and new products are being tested in collaboration with interested institutions and residents in Switzerland.

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