Electronic Assistive Technology (EAT) Service

The Electronic Assistive Technology (EAT) service comprises three main areas:

Environmental control service

Environmental control equipment enables very severely disabled people who would otherwise be unable to do so to control electrical equipment, such as telephones, pagers, intercoms, door locks, table lamps and home entertainment equipment such as TVs, DVD players and cable/satellite boxes.

Environmental control equipment can also be interfaced to a wide range of equipment provided by other agencies, including community alarms, door openers, curtain openers and page turners.  It is also possible to enable control of a microcomputer to be achieved via the environmental control system.

Use of the equipment enables the patient to recover a measure of independence, makes continued care at home easier for the relatives and can delay or prevent permanent admission to hospital.  Supply of the equipment may also make it feasible to discharge home a patient who would otherwise have to remain in hospital.

The service provides assessment then subsequent equipment installation and configuration followed by a programme of on-going equipment maintenance and adaptation as required.

Environmental Control Service referral forms may be obtained from the co-ordinator, Mr Colin Geggie, SMART centre, Astley Ainslie Hospital, Edinburgh, EH9 2HL 0131 537 9423.

Specialised powered wheelchair control systems

Modern wheelchair control systems are programmable devices which can be configured to suit the needs of the patient.

A range of controller options are available, including standard and very low force joysticks as well as interfaces that enable the control of powered wheelchairs using either single switches or groups of switches.  The EAT service provides specification, configuration and adaptation of such wheelchair control systems.  It also provides individually adapted mounts for remote joysticks, controllers and switches.

In certain circumstances it is necessary to integrate both wheelchair and environmental control to enable both to be achieved using the same switch or joystick.

Control interfaces

The EAT service also provides specialised switches, switch mounts, communication aid mounts and specialised aids to communication.

This part of the service involves joint assessment along with the referring therapist, and then either the modification of commercially available equipment or, alternatively, the design and manufacture of specialised devices.