Accessible technology in Sandbach

We’re bringing life changing technology to the people we support at Hill House in Sandbach.

This pioneering project will transform Hill House into a ‘Centre of Excellence’. It will improve the care experience for residents and staff alike over three years.

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A group of people sitting around a table looking at the tv.

What will the project do?

Residents will benefit from specialist technology, as well as mainstream accessible technology. Some technology you'd even find at home, but we're applying it to a social care setting. The technology aims to give residents who struggle with verbal communication a voice. It also helps improve social interaction opportunities.

The technology is combined with the support of a Speech and Language Therapist and an Occupational Therapist. Together they’ll help each individual get the most out of the technology.

The technology will help increase the independence of the people we support. It will help them access more of their local communities. And provide better care for themselves too.

Staff will also benefit from the project. Using technology like predictive health analytics will help make care tasks easier. This helps free up time for more high-quality interactions and activities with residents.

Why are we doing it? 

Social isolation and loneliness are challenges that disabled people are often faced with. But the possibilities that technology offers to help combat this are immense. The internet can connect people to their loved ones all round the world. Other developments are making accessibility at home even easier.

Our mission is to ensure that such technology is available to all, whatever their ability. We use the technology to help people live, learn and work as independently as they choose. The accessible activities we offer also provide greater opportunities for social inclusion.

We’re working with the best technology companies to deliver, and in some cases develop or pilot, state of the art technologies. Together we will determine what works well in the long term. Looking to the future, we hope that our other care homes will also benefit from the project. 

Any questions?

For more information about the project please contact Jen Sweeney on jen.sweeney@leonardcheshire.org or call 0161 442 2655.

What kind of technology is being used?

Alternative and Augmentative Communication aids (AAC)

These communication aids will help our residents who struggle with verbal communication. Each individual will have communication aids adapted to their needs so they are safe and accessible.

Full training is provided for residents and care staff so eventually, the use of these tools will be second nature.

Computer access methods

In order to use the AAC devices, we’ll be looking at a range of standard and specialised computer access methods. These will include:

  • Standard touch screen devices.
  • Adaptive mouses such as rollerball or joystick.
  • Switches activated by touch or muscle movement. These help the user to start to scroll down and across the screen. This helps them select the appropriate letter, word or command. 
  • Eyegaze technology. This uses a small camera on the computer screen to detect and select, letters, words or commands just by gazing at them. For people with very limited movement or mobility, this can be life changing!

Voice control

Voice control helps residents with restricted mobility to control their environments by speaking to them. They will be able to open and close doors and window blinds. They will also be able to change TV channels, play music, alter lighting controls and even initiate video calls to family and friends.

We’ll also be using a range of commercially available voice activated technology. Some of this you’d probably find in your own home like Google Assistant and Alexa. We'll also use the accessibility options standard in Windows, IOS and on Smart TV’s.

Predictive healthcare analytics

We’ll be using a range of sensors and wearable devices to help establish normal patterns of health and movement for our residents. This monitoring will help flag up early changes, such as high temperatures, before they become emergencies.

Accessible activities

Activities to help with social inclusion. This will include:

  • Virtual audio book clubs. Residents listen to the book of their choice on a simple to use audio device. They then join a facilitated monthly book club with friends from other Leonard Cheshire homes. The club takes place via video conference, allowing residents to get together socially to chat about the book
  • Clevertouch interactive PC. A 55 inch touch screen PC with a range of interactive games and video conferencing facilities. The Clevertouch unit also comes with Apple TV, giving access to great content for communal film nights.
  • Virtual Reality Headsets, enabling residents to not only experience games, but also virtual tours of world famous sites. This also helps familiarise residents with more local areas where they can pre-plan and prepare for social visits. This can help to overcome any anxieties or confidence issues with Autism or Access concerns.
  • Electronic and interactive voting systems to help make choices around food menus, décor, social activities, etc.
  • Interactive and accessible notice boards and signage around the home