The NRH Assistive Technology (AT) Team were delighted to launch the NRH Smart Home Technology Project as part of the NRH Accessibility Awareness Day 2023.
The Assistive Technology Clinic in the NRH focuses on enabling patients to engage in the use of personally meaningful digital assistive technology. They work with patients across all programmes in the NRH: Brain Injury, Spinal Injury, Limb Absence and Paediatrics. They also run a NRH outpatient and Vocational Assessment Service too. The AT Service explores how assistive technology can support patients at home, in school and on their return to work.
The Smart Home Project has enabled the NRH to set up smart home technologies in a real-life home environment setting for patients to trial, here on the NRH site. This has all been made possible through the generosity of a Corporate Donor, Mitie Facilities Management Limited who generously funded this complete project.
Smart home technologies can support us all in many ways. For the patients of the NRH and for those facing physical challenges, smart home features such as smart lighting and smart appliances can reduce the burden of daily tasks, enabling greater independence. For those with cognitive impairments, smart home technology offers solutions such as reminders and cognitive aids which can support in maintaining daily routines. For those with communication impairments it can be used as a bio feedback tool to help with speech production. Some of the smart home technologies that are now set up in Woodpark include:
- Smart lighting
- Smart appliances (kettle and a hoover)
- Smart doorbell
- Smart internal communication system
- Smart TV systems
This was a large group project involving multiple Departments of the NRH, including Occupational Therapy, Speech & Language Therapy and the NRH IT Department.
As far as we are aware the NRH is the first hospital setting in Ireland to have these smart home technologies set up for patients to trial and test with. As a result of this initiative, patients at the National Rehabilitation Hospital will have the opportunity to trial these transformative technologies, empowering them to see what potential smart home technologies has for their lives. This project signifies a powerful collaboration between technology and healthcare.