Types of Assistive Technology

What Types of Assistive Technology is Available for Stroke Patients?

What Types of Assistive Technology is Available for Stroke Patients?

Stroke can be a devastating medical event that can change lives, not only for victims, but also their family members. Of course, severity varies, and so some stroke survivors experience milder post-event symptoms than others, however, for many, intensive assistance is required for life.

What Is a Stroke?

There are two types of stroke — Ischaemic Stroke and Haemorrhagic Stroke.

An Ischaemic Stroke is caused by an artery in the brain becoming blocked by a blood clot.

A Haemorrhagic Stroke is caused when a blood vessel in the brain breaks, causing bleeding.

The result of both events is the same, which is that certain parts of the brain experience lack of blood flow, and therefore brain cells begin to die due to lack of oxygen.

How Does Stroke Affect People?

How Does Stroke Affect People

Different parts of the brain serve different functions, so depending on the area that is affected, stroke patients can experience a range of symptoms. These can include impaired cognitive function, change in behaviour, reduced ability to communicate, reduced ability to swallow, vision impairment, sensory impairment, and reduced motor function.

Essentially what this means is stroke survivors often experience severe and long-term effects, and therefore require significant assistance in their daily living.

Up until relatively recently, this meant stroke patients would require extensive human-based care and assistance, usually from family members. But, innovation has led to the development of assistive technologies that are significantly improving the quality of life for stroke patients, and relieving the burden on those who are needed to care for them.

Assistive Technologies for Stroke Patients

As the name suggests, assistive technologies include a vast range of aids and devices that help acute stroke patients manage daily activities. They are designed to compensate for the difficulties of daily life activities for stroke victims, and studies show that they help facilitate more independent living. Whether it be mobility, cooking, bathing, self care, going to the toilet, or even a leisure activity, there are technological solutions available that can help. There are also aids available to assist with the stroke rehabilitation process itself. So let’s take a look at some examples.

Mobility

  • Rolling walkers
    Ideal for stroke victims who still have use of both their arms and legs but suffer balance issues or general weakness.
  • Walkers and quad canes
    These are wide-based walking aids that are designed for those who have suffered paralysis affecting one side of the body. They only require one hand to operate, but the drawback to these types of assistive devices is that the patient therefore relies heavily on the non-affected side, therefore it is important to continue with the rehabilitation of the affected side.
  • Wheelchairs and scooters
    If the patient’s mobility is severely limited, a wheelchair or scooter may be required.

Bathing and Hygiene

  • Grab Bars
    Fitted to showers and baths, grab bars are useful for assisting with stability while washing. They can come in various configurations, so they are best installed with consultation from an occupational therapist in order to meet the individual’s unique requirements.
  • Shower or bath chairs
  • Anti-slip rubber mats
  • Raised toilet seats/toilet seat handles and bedside commodes
  • Tap turners
    Tap extensions that make it easier to turn taps on and off.
  • Bath mitts
    A glove that assists in holding soap.

If you are interested in reading up more on the benefits of assistive technology, check out our previous blog.

Kitchen Aids

There are a range of assistive technology devices that can make cooking and meal preparation easier and safer for stroke victims. These can include one-handed cheese slicers, rocking knives, kettle tippers, adapted bread and cutting boards.

Eating and Drinking

Much like kitchen aids, there are also a range of adaptive equipment to help with eating and drinking. These include modified cutlery and utensils, adhesive placemats, plate guards, cups and glasses with special handles.

Computing

Strokes are not exclusive to older people. Studies have shown that 10 – 15% of stroke victims are aged 18 – 50. For these people, there is still a need to earn a living, and with computers now playing a significant role in people’s capacity to work, assistive technologies are available for a range of digital devices. These include software features such as voice recognition, audible navigation for the vision impaired and a host of other software aids. There are also hardware aids, including sticky and toggle keys which assists in multi-key functions, on-screen keyboard, magnifier, as well as a range of modified hardware devices like keyboards and mouse.

The Benefit of A Plan Manager in Accessing Assistive Technologies Under NDIS Funding

Benefit of A Plan Manager

Stroke is a condition which is covered by the NDIS, depending on the severity of the condition.

In order to access assistive technologies through the NDIS, it is necessary to be signed up to an NDIS plan management scheme. Onboard Supports will connect a client to a plan manager who will assist them in managing the financial aspect of their NDIS plan. This includes paying invoices to support service providers and paying for assistive technologies using NDIS funding.

Your health care is our priority, so through our management plans, we can make sure you have access to the most suitable equipment to assist you in your functional recovery, as well as to help make day to day living as easy as possible.