What is Assistive Living Technology (ALT)?
Assistive living technology (ALT) helps people learn, communicate and live more independently. Assistive living technology is any product or service that maintains or improves the ability of individuals with disabilities or impairments to communicate, learn and live independent, fulfilling and productive lives.
One of our partners, Hft, refer to ALT as Personalised Technology (PT) because it’s not about the technology, but the people and how Hft can enhance their lives. This is reflected in every aspect of their approach to using PT. They find out how each person wants to live their life, and then look at what’s the right solution for them. Click here to read more about Personalised Technology.
What are the benefits of ALT?
The benefits of ALT include:
- Increased independence
- Increased safety
- More choice and control
- Improved communication
- Increased dignity
- More effective use of resources, through increased home alone time and a reduction in night-time support
Click the link to see some examples of Hft’s Personalised Technology.
Objectives of the Assistive Living Technology and Skills (ALTAS) project
The ALTAS project addresses the shortfall of assistive living technology (ALT) training courses for health and social care staff that will ultimately enable their clients and patients to benefit from smart solutions to live independently, self-care and improve their health and well-being. Key objectives are to:
- develop a recognised standard, curriculum, course and qualification that will give professionals an incentive to add to their knowledge and skills;
- stimulate demand for and increase the uptake of innovation through stakeholder engagement and co-creation of course development;
- provide the opportunity to continuously update the curricula and standards by linking the professionals to a strong knowledge cluster.
Across Europe, quadruple helix partnerships are striving to scale up smart solutions to address the demographic challenge of an ageing population. But, successful scaling of innovative solutions especially for the elderly with long-term conditions remain patchy. The difficulty in securing health and social care professionals’ engagement to utilize, help people to use and accept the adoption of assistive living technologies is a key obstacle to supporting people to live independently for longer. Partly, this is due to the shortfall of training opportunities for practitioners in assistive living technologies along with the lack of a recognised qualification for competence in their suitability and use. As a result, awareness of what assistive living technologies are available, what they can do, when they are suitable, who could benefit from them and in what way remains low amongst front line health and care workers and their managers. Moreover, at European level, it has been recognized that there is no standard nor consensus as to what should be taught.
Methods and actions
The ALTAS project intends to plug this important gap. It will develop, test and evaluate ALTAS standards, curriculum and VET course that can provide health and social care professionals with the knowledge, skills and confidence to utilise, deploy and recommend appropriate ALT devices, technologies and related services. It will also create an accreditation scheme that will be a key step on the road to a national and European- recognised accredited qualification.
ALTAS will be delivered in 3 phases
Design, Delivery and Evaluation. The design phase will define the standards, develop a curriculum and generate initial content for course delivery. Needs analysis and stakeholder engagement will support the development of the curriculum and alignment with specific cross-cultural and health and social care characteristics within each partner country and region will be a key principle.
Using an iterative learning methodology, the delivery phase will develop an assessment framework, build the training course with the trainers and pilot an eCourse in one region. This phase will also develop and deploy a toolkit to support training course implementation. The assessment framework will form the basis for an accredited qualification, planned to lead to European wide accreditation. In parallel the course and e-course, developed by ALTAS training organisations, will be launched to VET trainers during a 5-day coaching session incorporating different modes of delivery. The course, once developed, will be deployed to 45 trainees each in UK, Spain, Norway and Denmark over 4 days during a 7 month period. In parallel, the eCourse will be deployed in one region to test the right balance for blended learning and assess the most suitable platforms for its deployment. The toolkit will be built on the project website.
The third phase will focus on evaluating the course and assessing its impact on the target group and external stakeholders. During this phase, the curriculum and course will also be tested in a Central and an Eastern European country with differing cultural and health and care system characteristics. A sustainability plan laying the foundations for the future of the project and its intellectual outputs will be delivered towards the end of the project.
Outcomes and impact
The ALTAS project will deliver a fit-for-purpose standards and curriculum, assessment framework and course materials for health and social care professionals. These deliverables will be supported by an eCourse, a course deployment toolkit and a comprehensive evaluation report.
The ALTAS project is expected to:
- raise awareness and increase knowledge of ALT for front-line health and social care staff and their managers,
- increase motivation in staff to take ALT courses,
- increase staff willingness and confidence to promote ALT,
- increase interest in the ALT workforce to exchange and share good practice across Europe and
- increase collaboration and cooperation between training organisations and ALT suppliers.
- Agree standards
- Develop curriculum, accredited course and assessment framework
- Develop online version
- Evaluate and test course
- Engage with industry to keep course updated
- Develop process for rollout including quality control
The resources from the ALTAS project can be found here.