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Where Mobility Needs Meet Technology

By Sandra Fusion, Staff Writer

(Page 2 of 3)

Adding Technology to the Care Plan:

After the family has a clear idea of the types of mobility challenges that they may be facing, it is then appropriate to begin adding technological aspects into the care plan. Some individuals may easily adapt to assistive technology while others may not be able to adjust without caregiver assistance. For example, several manufacturers are marketing wearable devices for the blind or low vision community to use GPS navigation. While the concept is an excellent one to consider, it may also be difficult for the person to adjust. Teaching the caregiver(s) to use the device also is useful in the event that there are problems that need to be addressed that the individual cannot solve.

Research is the key to adding technology. Some assistive technology has been in the development stage for many years, making products more reliable and with more research available on their use. Other products, however, are still in the development stages. With these devices, the patient and caregiver team need to make careful choices. Some of the issues that may be considered when researching products:

  • How much does it cost? Can the cost be offset by insurance?
  • How much support is available for installation and ongoing usage?
  • Can a caregiver or other individual be trained and then, in turn, train others to use the product?
  • Is the training available in the cost of the product or covered by insurance?
  • Will accommodations need to be made to the home and/or patient’s vehicles?
  • Will this product – or combination of products – provide a meaningful, life-enhancing solution to the patient’s mobility concerns?

The last issue on the list is one of quality of life more than of hard dollars and cents, yet it may be the one that is the most important. Technology can do many wonderful things to enhance the quality of life for someone, yet the underlying issue may not need a sophisticated solution. Families need to make not only the financial decisions but the quality of life decisions when deciding if a product is needed to help with mobility.


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