Reaching Communities England has awarded Aspire a multi-year grant to expand our Assistive Technology Programme, which enables anyone, regardless of the level of their spinal cord injury, to independently use a computer, tablet or phone.  The expansion means that we are able to have a roving Assistive Technologist supporting patients at general hospitals in London and the South East.  Before this, all our Assistive Technologists were based at Spinal Injury Centres, where newly injured patients are often referred for rehabilitation.

Alex Rankin, Aspire’s Director of Services, says “This new role allows us to speak with patients much earlier on in their journey, while they are being treated at a general hospital. We were increasingly seeing referrals and requests for help from general hospitals and major trauma centres, who told us that patients are spending considerable time - often several months or more - waiting for a transfer to a Spinal Injury Centre. These hospitals usually don’t have the same facilities as the specialist centres, and patients can be left with limited or no independence during their stay.”

Aspires Assistive Technologist Alison helpin Tracey use an iPad

Alison Barnes, who previously worked as an Aspire Assistive Technologist at the National Spinal Injury Centre (NSIC) at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, has taken on this new role, working in general hospitals across London and the South East providing roving support to patients with high level spinal cord injuries.

Alison says, "I have met some people who are not likely to be admitted to a Spinal Injury Centre at all. With a few simple tweaks of their set up I can help them make better use of their device - such as showing them the dictation feature built into the phone and tablets – which makes sending messages to family much easier, as tapping small keyboard keys can be very frustrating and tiring.

“I look forward to being able to help more patients to gain some independence whilst they are in hospital. They are always really grateful for the help I can give them and many are surprised at the things which are already built into their phone or tablet that can make such a big difference.

"Being able to do something as simple as make a phone call to their family independently or change the program they are watching without having to rely on someone being available to help them, can make a huge difference.  Other people are interested to find out that assistive technology will be able to help them to use a computer which means they will be able to return to work.”

Brian Carlin, Aspire CEO says, “We are so grateful to everyone at Reaching Communities England for enabling Aspire to expand the Assistive Technology Programme to General Hospitals across London and the South-East, which means we will be able to support more spinal injured patients move from injury to independence.” 

Reaching Communities England logo

Assistive Technology

How we help