Transforming lives through technology

Alternative Futures Group staff have been working with people supported and Lancaster County Council to look at creative ways to improve peoples independence.

Using the principles of  ‘My Life My Support’  the support team at one of the homes in Lancaster looked at ways to use assistive technology to increase a group of men’s independence whilst still ensuring they had sufficient support to meet their needs. Although the team were initially anxious and had very little experience in using assistive technology it was recognised by everyone that over supporting  people can undermine peoples confidence and abilities. So with this principle in mind the team along with the men’s full involvement started to look at times when staff presence may not be required in their home; all agreed that perhaps night time support could be looked at differently.

Staff introduced assistive technology in the form of an emergency lifeline telephone with a large emergency red button for people supported to press if they required help. Everyone was taught how to use it and trials took place to see if this was an appropriate substitute. Support workers stayed next door so they could be reached easily if needed and after a couple of weeks sleep in support stopped. Since the change the men have relished their new found independence and grown in confidence, John, supported in Lancaster, said “I am happy because I know what to do in an emergency”.

It is possible this change could be the start of more independent lives for many people supported by AFG so watch this space!