needs assessment assistive technology

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					Unit 20: Assistive Technologies
Learning hours: 60

NQF level 4: BTEC Higher National — H2

Description of unit

This unit is about learners developing an understanding of the value and use of assistive and
communication technologies, their function and application within health and social care
services. It is also an opportunity for learners to examine the implications of developments in
technology and the potential impact of their application on services and service users.

Summary of learning outcomes

To achieve this unit a learner must:

1 Investigate the use of and access to appropriate assistive and communications
technologies for health and social care

2 Analyse how technology can be applied to support independent living

3 Evaluate implications of developments in assistive technologies which have potential for
application in health and social care.

1 Assistive and communications technologies

Assistive technologies: technological devices and systems eg those for security, health and
safety, mobility aids, aids for activities of daily living, visual, audio aids, administration of

Communications technologies: hardware and software; information and data collection
systems, web and email delivery systems, telecare provision (eg for information and
advice); electronic forums, counselling and monitoring services; telephone and video
conferencing services; electronic distribution of data via CD-Rom, DVD etc; innovative use
of standard technologies eg mobile phones, speed dial, voice activation, PDAs for
monitoring, diary appointment systems and others as they evolve; electronic booking and
recording networks

Barriers: cost, technological access difficulties, training; maintenance systems,
implications of technical breakdown

Benefits: eg autonomy and independence, reducing risk, access to information, precision or

2 Support independent living

Needs: physical care, intellectual, social, emotional, health

Independent living: networking in support groups, medication, access to information,
automation of activities

Services: for individuals, families, carers, groups, communities; care workers,
organisations, services, agencies

3 Implications of developments

Health and safety: associated with operation of the technology systems, consequences of
technical breakdown

Ethics: eg autonomy, changes in level of privacy, changes to care worker service user

Impact on services, organisations and workers: eg remote diagnostic and operative
processes, interactions with others, relationships, confidentiality, cost benefit analysis,

Roles of workers: workload, work scheduling, data exchange, staff development needs
Outcomes and assessment criteria

Outcomes                     Assessment criteria for pass
                             To achieve each outcome a learner must demonstrate
                             the ability to:
1 Investigate the use of and • describe a range of technologies and devices
access to appropriate        available for use within health and social care
assistive and                • describe a range of communications technologies
communications               available to services and service users
technologies for health and  • analyse barriers to the use of assistive technologies
social care                  in health and social care
                             • explain benefits of technologies to organisations and
2 Analyse how technology can • analyse how the use of assistive technologies may
be applied to support        support independent living
independent living           • evaluate the use of assistive technology for one
                             specific health and social care service user
                             • make recommendations of how assistive
                             technologies might enhance services for individuals
                             with specific health and social care needs
3 Evaluate implications of   • describe health and safety considerations in the use
developments in assistive    of assistive technologies
technologies which have      • analyse ethical considerations in the use of assistive
potential for application in technologies
health and social care       • describe the impact of recent and emerging
                             technological developments on health and social
                             care services, organisations and care workers
                             • suggest how assistive technologies might influence
                             the roles of workers in health and social care in the


An overview of technological advances and their application in relation to health and social
care would be useful to introduce the unit. Tutors will need to structure delivery to ensure that
learners have sufficient understanding of some core technologies eg computer control systems,
robotics, satellite communication.

In addition, practical work on computers and the opportunity to carry out investigative projects,
to explore issues with technical specialists and the application of theory and knowledge in a
work setting are all essential components of ensuring that learners gain the maximum benefit
from this unit. Visits to independent living centres or occupational therapy departments could
provide information about the range of technologies available. Literature from manufacturers
and suppliers may also provide insight into the technologies.


Assessment is likely to be based on a combination of information gathered during work
experience when working with technology, working on projects and working on independent
research. Projects, exhibits or case study reports may also be used to generate and present
evidence for assessment.


This unit links with most of the other units in the programme, as there are implications for
almost all health and social care environments in the development of technology. There are
opportunities for cross-referencing and integrating work between units eg:

• Unit 3: Ensuring Health and Safety
• Unit 9: Ensuring Best Outcomes for Individuals
• Unit 16: Understanding Specific Needs.

The unit will contribute towards the underpinning knowledge for S/NVQ Care Level 4 units:

• O2: Promote People’s Equality, Diversity and Rights
• O3: Develop, Maintain and Evaluate Systems and Structures to Promote the Rights,

Responsibility and Diversity of People

• CU7: Develop One’s Own Knowledge and Practice
• SC16: Assess Individuals’ Needs and Circumstances
• SC18: Plan and Agree Service Responses Which Meet Individuals’ Identified Needs and

Access to the internet is essential to keep up to date with current developments. Tutors will
need to be knowledgeable about the latest technological developments and specifically those
impacting on health and social care. Demonstrations from visiting specialists would be strongly
recommended for the unit to be effective.

Visits to specialist workplaces and resources may be useful for learners to see the technology
being applied.

Support materials

Magazines and journals

Disabled Living

Websites                   Arthritis Research Campaign                   Disabled Living Foundation                 Disability Network                  Royal National Institute for the Blind                  Royal National Institute for the Deaf

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