When you are in hospital, contact from loved ones is absolutely critical. And when your friends and family can’t come in to see you because the ward is locked-down, those phone calls, Zoom chats, emails and texts become even more vital. But for those with higher level injuries, using a standard keyboard, mouse or touchscreen is often not possible.

The Aspire Assistive Technology programme ensures anyone, regardless of the level of their injury, can independently access a computer, tablet or smartphone. We provide specialist equipment and software – including head-mice, voice recognition software and eye-tracking technology – and our staff work one-to-one with the patients to teach them to use it.

When the hospitals first closed their doors to all but essential staff, our Assistive Technology team were left trying to support patients from afar. We made sure our kit was available, and talked the NHS staff through setting it up, but it’s far from easy and those with the most complex needs were still missing out. This meant that not only were they reliant on others when they wanted to contact loved ones, but also that they were often missing out on vital education sessions that the NHS staff were delivering remotely.

Our Assistive Technology team were the first charity staff to be invited back in to the Spinal Injury Centres, testimony to the benefit they deliver to patients. Our staff were trained in the use of PPE in clinical settings, had specialist masks fitted and had to have regular Covid testing. These minor, but slightly daunting, impositions meant the team could work directly with patients again and over the remainder of the year they delivered an incredible 455 training sessions.

Not only were the team working again, but towards the end of the year we even managed to expand the team, recruiting for a new technologist to work in Cardiff.

In a year when most of us have relied on technology to get our fix of pub quizzes, children’s bedtime book reading from grandparents, birthday parties, work meetings and plain old conversations with friends, it’s easy to forget that some people don’t have the luxury of being able to readily use the technology in front of us. Our Assistive Technology team ensure those with spinal cord injuries aren’t missing out.

Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day 2021

The impact of Covid-19 on Aspire’s Housing Service

The impact of Covid-19 on Aspire’s Independent Living Service

Assistive Technology

How we help

Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day 2021 image with charity logos