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Cheshire care home introduces assitive technology to provide high-quality learning disability care

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A new purpose-built learning disability (Leonard Cheshire Disability) care home - Hill House, in Cheshire, has revolutionised the lives of its residents after the UK’s leading provider of assistive technology products and services, RSLSteeper, helped to adapt the infrastructure of the building to support the use of assistive technologies.

Assistive technologies are designed to provide residents with an improved level of independence and control of their own environment by aiding them with a range of everyday tasks including opening windows and doors, switching on the television, turning lights on and off and opening the blinds.

The first part of the project involved RSLSteeper’s specialist team installing wiring throughout the building stages, for the future use of these technologies. RSLSteeper then provided advice regarding the best technology for Leonard Cheshire Disability to incorporate into the building, along with NHS contacts to assist with the provision of individual environmental access needs. Additionally, the team began work on fitting door and window openers, along with window-blind controllers.

One of the main challenges of the project, which was completed over a six-week period, was to work around the other trades involved in the building process, and to react quickly to any problems that arose within tight timescales. This included a change to the specifications after RSLSteeper identified an issue with the tops of doors, along with the need to source hard-to-find blind controllers as opposed to curtains, as these posed a health and safety hazard when it came to the patio doors.

Dave Howson, Managing Director of RSLSteeper’s Assistive Technology division said: “Working around the other trades involved in the build did prove to be quite challenging, and the key was to provide excellent project management and ensure that we dealt with any issues as quickly and efficiently as possible. Another aim was to ensure that the work we carried out was as inconspicuous as it could be, and getting involved so early in the process really helped us to do this, as we were able to install the wiring beneath the plaster.

“We also wanted to make sure that our work would meet Leonard Cheshire Disability’s needs for not just the short-term, but also the years to come. We therefore advised on where sockets should be placed to cater for any further requirements that Leonard Cheshire Disability could potentially have later down the line for the use of assistive technology. Following completion of the project, we also continue to provide regular maintenance of the systems in place to ensure that we solve any problems that do come up.”

Rebecca Nancarrow, Project Liaison Manager at Leonard Cheshire Disability, said: “RSLSteeper’s experience proved to be truly invaluable for this project, and we were very pleased with the relationship we were able to establish with them right from the off. They made sure that any issues that arose were dealt with, and they were brilliant at sourcing anything we needed.

“The way that RSLSteeper adapted the infrastructure of the building also ensured that we were then able to provide additional technology which was tailored to the needs of each of our residents, allowing them to maintain a good level of independence and maintain control of their own environment. The assistive technology has been truly life-changing for our residents and for our staff, and all of our visitors have commented on the calm environment that we have here now.”

RSLSteeper is accredited to ISO 9001 for Environmental Control System design and can offer advice on appropriate devices and systems for each customer. Its dedicated team of specialist engineers can install, maintain and service these systems, and can provide on-site training to users and their carers.

Source: Specification Online

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