The equipping inclusion studies : assistive technology use and outcomes in Victoria ; key findings and policy recommendations
Layton, Natasha, Wilson, Erin, Moodie, Marj and Carter, Rob 2010, The equipping inclusion studies : assistive technology use and outcomes in Victoria ; key findings and policy recommendations, Deakin University, Burwood, Vic..
Approximately one in five of the Australian population lives with disability (AIHW 2006a; ABS 2003). Of these, almost 1.9 million rely on assistive technologies to live independently (Hobbs, Close, Downing, Reynolds & Walker 2009).
Assistive Technology (AT) is defined as,
‘any device, system or design, whether acquired commercially or off the shelf, modified or customised, that allows an individual to perform a task that they would otherwise be unable to do, or increase the ease and safety with which a task can be performed’ (Independent Living Centres Australia n.d).
‘Assistive Technology solutions’ have been defined as entailing a combination of devices (aids and equipment), environmental modifications (both in the home and outside of it), and personal care (paid and unpaid) (Assistive Technology Collaboration n.d).
Despite a large number of Australians relying on AT, there is little data available about life for these Australians, the extent of AT use, or unmet need for AT. Existing research in Australia suggests that aids and equipment provision in Australia is ‘fragmented’ across a plethora of government and non government programs (AIHW 2006a:35). In Victoria, one of the prime sources of government funding for AT is the Victorian Aids and Equipment Program (VAEP) which is a subsidy program for the purchase of aids and equipment, home and vehicle modifications for people with permanent or long term disability. Recent research suggests that waiting times for accessing equipment through the VAEP are high, as is the cost burden to applicants (Wilson, Wong & Goodridge 2006). In addition, there appears to be a substantial level of unmet need (KPMG 2007).
Additionally, there is a paucity of literature around the economic evaluation of AT interventions and solution packages, resulting in little evidence of their cost-effectiveness credentials.
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