On March 22, 2014, Alissa Boroff, BA, COTA/L, MN-AS, CAPS, our Director of Access Solutions presented a continuing education titled “Universal & Accessible Design: Promoting Aging in Place”.
So, you probably want to understand a couple of things like what exactly is Access Solutions, and what is meant by Universal Design…
1. Centrex Rehab’s Access Solutions is a service created by Alissa in 2006. Access Solutions is a consultation service that Alissa and her staff provide to assess and recommend redesign to create a livable and accessible home environment for those where the environment creates barriers due to a person’s current and progressive functional decline and impairments. Access Solutions not only designs the environment for today’s challenges, but for challenges that are likely to occur going forward as a person experiences decline or general changes in aging. It is a fee based service which may be private pay or covered through such programs as a grant, or for payors such as medical assistance.
2. Universal Design is an approach to design of all products and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation without the need for adaption or specialized design. In general, it refers to “smart design for long term living”. Some very basic examples of a universal design product are a comfort height toilet, wider doorways and hallways and lever handles.
As a PT or PTA, there are 3 takeaway messages:
1. Consider if your patient/client wants to remain living at home when you evaluate them and find out if they can fully access their home. They may require specialty products or features in their home to promote safety and access.
2. Think about the 7 basic principles of Universal Design that Access solutions will address to help achieve your patient’s ability to age in place goal:
a) Equitable Use – the product or features is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities
b) Flexibility in use – the product or design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities
c) Simple and Intuitive – use of the product or design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level
d) Perceptible information – the product or design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities
e) Tolerance for error – the product or design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions
f) Low Physical Effort – the product or design can be used efficiently and comfortably with a minimum of effort or fatigue
g) Size and Space for Approach and Use – appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach manipulation, and use regardless of the users body size, posture or mobility
3. Who you should contact: If you have a patient/client who may benefit from Centrex Rehab’s Access Solutions, you can contact Alissa Boroff at firstname.lastname@example.org
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