Items of personalised technology, Hft

Learning disability charity Hft has launched an online training course on personalised technology (PT) to raise awareness of how it can be used to help improve people’s quality of life.

The virtual training module is an introductory guide to PT, also known as assistive technology, which is used to support people with learning disabilities and other vulnerable groups to live with a greater level of independence safely.

Products can range from domestic appliances, such as kettles which will only dispense a precise amount of boiling water into a mug, to sensors that alert someone that a person is having a seizure.

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Other devices, such as easy to use mobile phones and tablets, have also proven to be a great tool in combatting loneliness and isolation enabling people to maintain vital social connections during Covid restrictions.

The course consists of six parts covering all aspects of PT, from uses and implementation to maintenance and ethical considerations, using video case studies and quizzes throughout.

Developed by Hft’s own specialist PT team, the training is based on the charity’s internal e-learning package and will now be available to any individuals or organisations, such as housing or support providers and local authorities, who are interested in gaining an awareness of how technology can be used to increase the independence, safety, privacy, and choice for people with learning disabilities and complex needs.

Emma Nichols, Personalised Technology Manager at Hft said: “We are so excited to be launching our new training. We call it Personalised Technology because the person is always at the centre of what we do: we focus on their abilities, not their disabilities.

Technology doesn’t have to be complicated, we seek to find simple but effective solutions. The positive impact that it can have became even more apparent during the pandemic, when PT played a vital role in helping loved ones stay connected. Our aim is to raise awareness of the assistive devices available which can give people a greater level of independence, choice, and control in their lives”

Those who successfully complete the training are issued with a certificate and will have access to resources that have been designed to help prompt learners to think about how to successfully implement PT within their service and signposts to details of other services that Hft’s PT team can offer.

Anybody interested in the course can email PTlearning@hft.org.uk or call 0117 906 1700 for more information.

Earlier this year Hft called on the UK Government to provide immediate funding to enable social care providers to purchase digital devices after a report it conducted found barriers to accessing these solutions. A key barrier cited was a lack of digital skills among the individuals supported, which three-quarters of care organisations reported as a large constraint.

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