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The emerging technologies have improved the efficiency as well as the quality of the health and social care services significantly. Technology is used by every individual in daily life. Here are various forms of technology, which has improved citizen’s life and made difficult tasks to be completed in easy and quick way. On the other hand, in health and social care sector, it has become impossible to provide quality services to the service users, without using technology (Bryant and Bryant 2012). Integration of technologies in several crucial domains like documentation, communication, patient involvement, decision making and interventions has improved the quality of services several fold. Technology has also enhanced the satisfaction rate of health and social care workers, by reducing their burn out and work pressure. Additionally, technology advancement in health and social care research has developed several devices for assisting independent living of people with disabilities and disorders. As more people access the independent living funds and become the employer of their own personal assistants, the balance of dependency is shifting towards independence.
This assignment will focus on demonstrating the role and effectiveness of technology in supporting the independent living of people with disability. For understanding the same, the case study two patients Sally and Maggie, who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and dementia respectively, would be analyzed, for demonstrating the suitable technologies, which would improve her independent life.
Sally is a 42 years old female, who has reported initially to her GP that she is having tingling and numbness in her left foot, followed by the doubled vision. Diagnosis revealed that she is suffering from multiple sclerosis. With the progression of worsening the disease symptoms, her GP recommended her to take assistance from the assistive technology specialist for providing information and education about the assistive devices for improving her daily living with support of independent living devices. There are a number of ways, through which these innovative technologies can support and improve independent living of Sally. The uses include improvement of the quality of Sally’s life through more effective and efficient therapies. The assisted living technologies would help Sally to continue with his normal daily life instead of take assistance from others and being admitted in hospital. These devices have made the remote testing and diagnosis with treatment possible, reducing the frequency of visiting to physician’s clinic.
The physicians are also able to treat more patients in easy and effective way with the emerging technologies (Bravo et al. 2012). Sally can live her life like other independent women, instead of suffering with her disorder. Technologies can be used for modifying her kitchen utensils, her vehicles, desktop keyboards for reducing her difficulties in regular activities. The technologies can also be used for improving her cognitive as well as physical skills and abilities, by assisting her mobility and memory.
Instead of several benefits and effective way to use these technologies in supporting Sally’s life, there might be several common barriers of implementing these technologies for supporting Sally’s independent living. Some barriers are discussed here. Perceptions of Sally about the efficacy of the technologies, which might be negative due to the thoughts of using conventional treatment methods or due to less faith on the outcomes related to the assistive devices (Bhatt and GuÌˆsgen 2012). Severity of disease symptoms, which impairs the mobility of the patients are significant barrier. Psychological problems arising due to the onset of the disease including depression, emotional distress and challenging behaviour, leading to the non-usage of any technological intervention. As MS is characterized with diverse range of collaborative symptoms and ailments associated with the central ailment, it is difficult for Sally’s GP as well as the assistive technology professional to suggest proper technological tools for addressing each problem. The latest technological tools for supporting the independent living of disable people are highly expensive, which is a key barrier to be implemented in Sally’s case. The social factors, i.e. the influence of immediate family, relatives, friends’ negative perception regarding the use of technological intervention by replacing physical care from GP and other specialist may also hinder the implementation of technological tools for Sally’s independent living (Cornwall.gov.uk 2015). Other barrier include inexperience in general practitioners to deal with the disease.
Using assistive technologies for independent living can be significantly beneficial for the health and social care organizations as well as for their users. The key areas in which these technologies have their beneficial role includes IT and telecommunication, molecular genetics advancements, usage of robotics in surgery, development of bioengineering for producing artificial body parts and organs and developments in biotechnologies for exploring advances in genetics (Choi and Sprigle 2011). In case of MS, these technologies can be beneficial in several ways such as- mobility assistive technology, hearing aid, personal digital assistance (as provided to Sally), eye gears and patches, disease modifying medication, advances in transplantation and surgeries as well as dealing with other symptomatic treatments of depression and incontinence. In safeguarding the health and social care organization, these technologies have the several roles including, effective care management team, design and implementation of effective care planning process and framework, improved communication within patients, doctors and staffs through effective self-management techniques like PDA, improved patient’s satisfaction and experience, effective management of remote patient and centralization of efforts, easy and effective patient handling with performing or delivering a range of physically challenging assistance, instead of getting directly involved (DeRuyter and Beukelman 2012). Reduction of cost and resource requirement, while tacking wide range of service users, thereby empowering the users
The beneficial role of these assistive technologies in case of health and social care users include, improved behavioural and emotional outcomes, independent lifestyle and improved self-management, happiness and content attitude development, enhanced cognitive and learning abilities, improved abilities to complete daily tasks, enhanced confidence and motivation by eliminating disabilities, socialization and reduction of psychological issues, adherence with the therapeutic requirements and coordination and facilitation with support staff at the service home.
While using these assistive technologies in health and social care sectors, the professionals need to maintain some health and safety considerations. The initial consideration is the legislative framework that should be followed, while dealing with these assistive technologies. For instance, the Health and safety legislation 1974 should be considered. This legislation defines the fundamental structure and authority for the empowerment, enforcement and regulation of health, safety and wellbeing in United Kingdom (Elsaesser and Bauer 2012). In addition, it should be considered that lack of well define risk assessment mechanism can hamper the effectiveness of the technologies. In addition, lack of proper training and engagement exercise with patients with proper understanding specific needs can lead to ineffective health outcomes of patients upon implementing the technologically assisted interventions.
On the other hand, a lack of proper well-structured and transparent communication as well as process flow between the care giver and care user may hamper the effectiveness of the technological aids. The care givers should always limit their therapeutic alliance with the patient in a professional boundary; otherwise it may disrupt the complete transference of the assistive module and related information to the patients. It has also been seen that care for people with physical disability, which can be dominated by others sometimes lead to ethical and emotional issues (Fujinami and Sugihara 2012). On the other hand, by taking away the easy parts of job, automation can make the difficult areas of a job more difficult. On the other hand, the withdrawal symptoms and deployment should be clearly explained to all the stakeholders, who are associated with the assistive technology implementation, because, the individual becomes dependent upon the technological assistance and sudden withdrawal can lead to adverse effects.
While dealing with a patient having disabilities and related symptoms, there are several aspects related to ethical considerations, which are needed to be followed by both the care users as well as the care givers. In case of Sally, both her GP as well as the assistive technology professional need to consider all the ethical aspects. Considering the ethical aspects help to mitigate any kinds of dilemmas by addressing the legislations, government rules, regulation and the rights of all the stakeholders, thereby leading to a positive aspect of the technology implementation. Some ethical considerations that would be followed in Sally’s case are as follows:
Rights to self determination- According human right principle, each individual have their own right to select the course of action suitable for them amongst the probable options. Thus, the practitioner should involve Sally, while selecting the supportive technological tools for Sally’s independent living.
Confidentiality- In many cases, dilemma related to information sharing and keeping personal information confidential has been identified. Thus, according to the Data protection act 1998, the practitioner should be committed to protect personal and medical data of the patient (Remmers 2010).
Practitioner-client relationship- It is one of the vital determinant of the therapeutic success in any kind of therapeutic process. However, ethical dilemma can be raised in this sector also. It is entirely dependent upon the emotional bonding and the extent of the involvement of care givers with the patients. Sometimes, the patient feels stigmatized with the use of assistive technology, for which encouraging the patient to use these technologies are crucial.
Addressing client’s needs- Addressing the specific needs for the client is important for expecting best outcomes for the patient. It is also crucial for the practitioner to collect the informed consent from the patient prior to implement assistive technology for the patient, as some of the technologies may interfere with the patient’s privacy. On the other hand, the practitioner should always consider the socio-cultural factors related to the patient (Fleming and Sum 2014).
The impact of emerging technological developments on the health and social care services can be demonstrated with the help of Sally’s case. The health care services are improved with the inclusion of technological tools along with the improvement of quality of the services. For instance, Sally was provided with a PDA, for supporting her memory loss. This tool reduced the time for medical workers’ assistance, instead, Sally became able to manage herself by using this device (Peterson and Prasad 2012). From the example of Sally, it has been revealed that these assistive technologies has reduced the time provided by the care workers for individual patient, make the patient independent as well as makes the services easy to access.
With the development and implementation of the emerging technological developments on health and social care, the role of the care workers are also changing. They are also becoming dependent upon technological tools, instead of using the manual tools. It has a wide range of positive impact upon enhancing their efficiency, skills and satisfaction; but one negative impact is they are becoming too much technology-dependent and the manual skills are reducing. However, technologies are making care workers efficient enough to provide efficient care to more patients at a time, enhancing the efficiency of the overall services. Some key innovative technological developments in HSC include PDA, telecare, memo minders, EHR, fall detector, care sensors and many more (Atdementia.org.uk 2015).
Tele-care has made the patient monitoring system easy from a long distance and reduced the need for the patient to visit the clinic all the time. Memo minder is a device used for giving reminders to avoid miscommunication and alert the care workers to monitor patient’s activities. Health and social care organizations are using emerging technologies for improving the quality of organizational operations. For instance, using sensory devices for improving supportive facilities (Kerssens and Zamer 2012). In addition, the electronic health record helps to keep all operational and medical data of patients safely, improving satisfaction of both staffs and care users.
Maggie is a 62 years old lady, who has been diagnosed with dementia and has lost her husband recently (Vincent 2012). A person with dementia is considered to be provided with specific needs. She is an active lady, loves to go out for various social activities. However, due to dementia symptoms, she is suffering from disorientation from her daily activities. Thus, to plan care service for her, her specific needs for independent living should be identified first. The key specific needs for Maggie are her disorientation and forgetfulness, which is leading to skipping meals, medication and risk of accidents, when she leaves home at night. Thus, Maggie’s specific needs for support to live independent life include agitation, depression, anxiety, speech and language difficulties, restlessness, memory distortions etc. Due to the onset of dementia related symptoms, Maggie can face some situations for which are promoting her specific needs. These may include change in work culture or Maggie, speech and behavioural therapies, cognitive improvement for recall her daily activities, reduced disorientation and leaving home at night. She may also need support at night, as her health status is influencing her to leave home unnecessary at night. In addition, she also needs support for her improved socialization and then house held works.
Some key assistive devices which would support her independent living are as follows:
Clocks and calendar- Electronic and digital clocks and calendars can be provided to Maggie for her making her aware of date and time, which would help to reduce disorientation.
PDA-A PDA, i.e. ‘Pocketcoach” would help Maggie to improve her memory function and remind her daily tasks. This device helps Maggie to remember the daily tasks like meal time, medication time and other daily functioning only by pushing one button.
Tele-care- Tele-care is a device, which provides medical assistances from the service provider to Maggie instead of visiting the clinics. As a result Maggie would be able to communicate directly with the care providers at crisis or emergency situation.
Locator device- It is a sensor and digital device that helps in remaining and locating objects, which are kept after use, it will help in improving Maggie’s orientation (Housingandsupport.org.uk, 2015).
Daily activity overseer- It is a digitally assisted device that can record the daily activities of Maggie and can measure any changes in her normal activity patter, thereby helping in analyzing risks at her home, workplace, through which Maggie would be able to avoid emergency situations and challenging behavioural symptoms. It would help in regulating or controlling Maggie’s activity at night, reducing the risk of leaving home at night.
Medication aids- As Maggie suffers from memory disorientation, she is prone to skip meals and medication. For dealing with this issue, she can be assisted with the provision of special boxes for keeping her medication to assistive tools like sponges, for easy and remindful delivery of medication to Maggie. For monitoring regular medication administration, box can be modified with the labelling of weekdays, so that she can easily recall and does not skip her medication.
Movement assistive technology (MAT)- Sensors and digital devices for Maggie can be installed in her surrounding, which can assist her independent movement and can make her self-independent, while encountering any complications at some situations (Ficocelli and Nejat 2012).
Remainder messages- Electronic reminder device with voice function can be provided to her, with a recorded message from her daughter Lisa, for delivering promptness alerts, like door closing and opening switches, medication timing, doors, appointments, meal time and it can also help to reduce her disorientated activities during night.
The emerging technologies are supporting the independent living of people suffering from a range of disorders and disabilities, by supporting their specific needs. The quality of life of the patient improves significantly by involving these kinds of assistive living technologies. On the other hand, the time of treating and supporting a patient is reduced, making the care providers able to manage more patients in short period of time. On the other hand, the remote testing and diagnosis of treatment became possible with the use of emerging technologies in health and social care. Patients are becoming more independent, as they are not required to stay at care homes or hospitals for treatment; instead they can use health services at home. These technologies are becoming more and more crucial in treating patients with disabilities, enhancing the success rate in therapies (Choi 2011). For instance, in Maggie’s case, the use of technology helped her to live a better and independent life, without the assistance from others and live with chronic disease like dementia, while being social.
This assignment focused upon the technologies that can support a disable person to live a better life independently. Here, the case of Sally, a women suffering from MS has been considered; on the other hand Maggie is suffering from dementia. Their specific needs and considerations for using specific assistive technologies have been demonstrated along with the recommendations of the assistive devices suitable for Sally as well as Maggie.
Atdementia.org.uk, 2015. The benefits and limitations of assistive technology – About assistive technology – AT Dementia home. [online] Available at: https://www.atdementia.org.uk/editorial.asp?page_id=45 [Accessed 3 Feb. 2015].
Bhatt, M. and GuÌˆsgen, H. 2012. Situational awareness for assistive technologies. Amsterdam: IOS Press.
Bravo, J., HervaÌs, R. and RodriÌguez, M. 2012. Ambient assisted living and home care. Berlin: Springer.
Bryant, D. and Bryant, B. 2012. Assistive technology for people with disabilities. Boston: Pearson.
Choi, Y. 2011. Managing Input During Assistive Technology Product Design. Assistive Technology, 23(2), pp.65-75.
Choi, Y. and Sprigle, S. 2011. Approaches for Evaluating the Usability of Assistive Technology Product Prototypes. Assistive Technology, 23(1), pp.36-41.
Cornwall.gov.uk, 2015. Assistive Technology – equipment to help people at home – Cornwall Council. [online] Available at: https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/physical-disabilities/disabled-people-specialist-equipment/assistive-technology-equipment-to-help-people-at-home/ [Accessed 3 Feb. 2015].
DeRuyter, F. and Beukelman, D. 2012. Introduction to the Special Issue on Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Assistive Technology, 24(1), pp.1-2.
Elsaesser, L. and Bauer, S. 2012. Integrating medical, assistive, and universal design products and technologies: Assistive Technology Service Method (ATSM). Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 7(4), pp.282-286.
Ficocelli, M. and Nejat, G. 2012. The Design of an Interactive Assistive Kitchen System. Assistive Technology, 24(4), pp.246-258.
Fleming, R. and Sum, S. 2014. Empirical studies on the effectiveness of assistive technology in the care of people with dementia: a systematic review. Jnl of Assistive Technologies, 8(1), pp.14-34.
Fujinami, T. and Sugihara, T. 2012. Person-centered dementia care revised from the standpoint of assistive technology. Gerontechnology, 11(2).
Housingandsupport.org.uk, 2015. Overview of Assistive Technology – housingandsupport.org.uk. [online] Available at: https://www.housingandsupport.org.uk/overviewassistivetechnology [Accessed 3 Feb. 2015].
Kerssens, C. and Zamer, J. 2012. Personalized assistive technology for seniors with dementia. Gerontechnology, 11(2).
Peterson, C. and Prasad, N. 2012. Assessing assistive technology outcomes with dementia. Gerontechnology, 11(2).
Remmers, H. 2010. Environments for ageing, assistive technology and self-determination: ethical perspectives. Informatics for Health and Social Care, 35(3â€“4), pp.200-210.
Vincent, J. 2012. Implementing cost-effective assistive computer technology. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers Inc.
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