‘No time for delay’ on technologies

When it comes to the use of assistive technologies to support independent living, Australia is lagging behind internationally, but current reforms could change this, a leading expert says.

Australia’s fledgling National Disability Insurance Scheme and the unfolding reforms to aged care that feature consumer directed care at home will prompt the rapid roll out of assistive technologies.

However, they will require strong communications networks in order to be successfully delivered, especially in rural and regional Australia, and there is no time for delay.

That’s the message Dr Kevin Doughty of the Centre for Usable Home Technologies at the Universities of Newcastle and York is delivering to providers and consumers on his current Australian speaking tour.

Dr Doughty said Australia has lagged behind international technological development in the aged, health and disability sectors. However, it can benefit now by adopting the latest technologies “which offer services tailored to the individual needs of those needing care and their families, to make their lives easier and safer.”

Governments need to get on board as technology will help them to control costs while providing assistance to more people living in their homes around Australia and reducing the cost of hospital and nursing home admission and readmissions through accidents, falls and chronic disease, he said.

The cost to individuals and their carers needing help, and the cost of alternative residential care or emergency hospital admissions for Australia’s rapidly growing and ageing population, and for those with a disability or dementia needing care, cannot be met without the use of assistive and enabling technologies, Dr Doughty said.

In a paper about to be published in the Journal of Assistive Technologies, Dr Doughty argues that older and vulnerable people can be helped to live safely and independently in their homes rather than go into aged care or hospital, with the use of telecare remotely into the home and via mobile phone applications.

Dr Doughty will speak at home care, dementia care, retirement village, disability and aged care conferences and workshops organised by Community Resourcing Worldwide and, in association with COTA, at consumer and carer workshops.

For more information visit CRW

Tags: aged-care, assistive technology, enablement, government policy, ndis, reform, telecare,

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