What makes an assistive technology in the home invaluable or alternatively abandoned?

This project will address the ways in which assistive technologies are introduced, learned and accepted by users in their homes and everyday lives. There is little knowledge about the way in which assistive technologies are taken up in domestic everyday life by users with health and social care needs and little known about the value of personalisation of assistive technology. The study will involve research with the network’s user group to explore how people learn to personalise their assistive technologies in the context of their everyday lives.

The study will address:
  • the spaces in the home in which the technology needs to be fitted into existing structures and furnishings 
  • the social relations of the older person or disabled person – i.e. who supports them, and in what way, who are the informal as well as formal carers and how do these people interact and structure their support 
  • the specific daily routines of health care, which includes considering how people cope with new technologies and routines 
  • the details of how people learn to personalise their assistive technology.
The methodological approach will be qualitative and will use observation and interview methods. Methods will include observation in the home of everyday routines, observation of the introduction of assistive technologies and the process of take up, appropriation, or rejection within the social relations of the household and care support system. Observation will also be undertaken of the way in which people learn to personalise their technology including details of learning processes. Interviews will be conducted with users, family carers and professional health care workers to explore the experiences of learning and using assistive technologies.