Do’s and don’ts of assistive technology in health and social care
Do identify care needs and apply the most appropriate assistive technology. Identify the issue you are trying to solve. For instance, a care recipient might want to take their own medication, but sometimes they might forget.
Do test and gather data to learn of care recipient trends. Over time, you want to be in a position to use data sets to improve health and well-being outcomes.
Do seek a provider with technology capabilities, from integrations with other services to developing their product or service.
Do trial the service before assumptions. Include the care recipient, care workers and family members whenever possible.
Do get consent. Be clear about whom the technology supports, the individual or the carer. Sometimes it will be both parties. The person using or benefiting from the technology must be involved and consent to the solution.
Do discuss the use of assistive technology with your stakeholders. Work as a team to consider assistive technology across settings, activities, and people.
Develop an action plan for the appropriate assistive technology team member if a system or device trial is agreed upon. Decide how documentation will be collected and when it will be reviewed.
Do communicate your needs with the assistive technology provider. Customisation or industry-specific is advisable.
Do consider the assistive technology provider as the expert. Contact them for product information, customer service, training, security and privacy.
Do consider the end-to-end service provided and the responsibilities. A response safeguard ensures that a care recipient’s needs are met if they don’t respond or their assistive technology fails. If there isn’t a response to their prompt to take their medication, an additional prompt or an alert to a care worker might be necessary.
Don’t forget the additional requirements for installation and usage. Will any modifications be required to the home or doorway, and will a plug socket be required?
Don’t forget to communicate with their family. Working with their loved one encourages the care recipient to use assistive technology.
Don’t put a specific device first. Compare a variety.
Don’t assume it is hard to use and people cannot use technology. An assistive technology service provider should provide appropriate technology for their markets. Mass market solutions focus on consumer usage, where as industry-specific focus on the user’s needs.
Don’t forget to train your care and social workers. Adoption rates, in the beginning, are highly regarded for the success of usage. Care and social workers have relationships with the care recipients, which need to be leveraged. If they don’t accept the new technology, their care recipients won’t trust it either.
Don’t neglect its placements. Hybrid and remote care are new market opportunities while serving care recipients in the way they need care.
Don’t ignore the problem you are trying to solve by focusing on the fancy features. Don’t choose one with limited functionality and a product roadmap to prevent longevity.
Don’t forget to consider how your assistive technology will connect and interact with other technology or software, helping you to get the most out of the assistive technology.