I CreATE for Paralysis
There are approximately 25,000 individuals in New Hampshire who experience conditions causing paralysis, with approximately 9,250 of these individuals living in rural counties. Individuals who live in rural communities are underserved and in need of assistive technology solutions to maximize independence at home, at work, at school and in the community. Individuals with paralysis who live in rural New Hampshire desire to maintain their dignity and independence in performing their own daily living, working and learning activities without asking for assistance. Unfortunately, individuals who experience paralysis and live in rural areas, experience a multitude of challenges and barriers that will be outlined and discussed in detail in the next section. The barriers experienced by this targeted population include lack of: service providers and caregivers, awareness of what assistive technology is available, training on how to use a device to complete an essential task, timeliness of services, transportation and financial resources to pay for the needed devices.
The goal of the "I CreATe for Paralysis Project" is to develop a self-sustaining open ended loan program of assistive technology solutions that will be provided to over 140 individuals including service providers, caregivers, family members, and consumers who are affected by paralysis in rural areas.
- Objective 1: To identify 140 individuals, family members, and caregivers who are affected by paralysis in rural areas and are in need of assistive technology solutions to maximize independence at home, school, work and play
- Objective 2: To empower 140 service providers and caregivers with the knowledge, skills, tools and materials to create assistive technology solutions in minutes that can be provided at no cost to individuals who experience paralysis in rural areas.
- Objective 3: To create and fabricate over 700 devices for our open ended loan program (please see attached visuals which have been uploaded to the Vendor Quote section), that can be provided at no charge to individuals who experience paralysis in rural areas. Note: One hundred forty individuals will attend the “Makers Workshops” and each person will fabricate a minimum of five devices. These devices include independent living aids such as:
- Adjustable universal cuffs for eating and drinking
- Cup holders for wheelchairs, canes, crutches and walkers
- Hands-free iPad holders for tables, walkers, recliners, etc.
- Body mounted solutions for technologies
- Body mounted solutions for hands-free carrying of objects while pushing a wheelchair or using a walker
- Back saving and reaching solutions for access to objects on the floor or overhead
- Devices for food preparation, dressing, bathing, transferring and self-care
- Devices for outdoor tasks such as leaf blowing and snow removal
- Devices to reduce slips and falls such as ice breaker mats and traction material
- Solutions for virtual participation in community events and activities
- Devices for using a cellphone and other methods of communication or alerting others that assistance is needed
- Devices for transferring from a wheelchair or walker to a car or a bed
- Devices for getting up, into and out of bed
- Device adaptations for engagement in leisure and recreation such as adaptations for painting, music, photography or gardening
- Objective 4: At least one hundred forty individuals who is affected by paralysis and live in rural New Hampshire will report an increase in their ability to perform one or more daily living, learning, working or recreation activities through the use of the devices they have received.
Through the "I CreATe for Paralysis Project" individuals who experience paralysis in rural areas and their families will obtain needed assistive technologies using a self-sustaining empowerment approach that will not only fabricate and rapidly deploy needed solutions but will also equip service providers, family members, and individuals with the know-how, tools and materials to create assistive technology solutions to maximize independence and autonomy at home and in the community.
Service providers, caregivers and family members will be empowered with the necessary knowledge awareness and skills in creating solutions in minutes. Individuals who experience paralysis will receive devices needed to perform one or more activity at home, school, work or play. Sustainable /reusable materials such as corrugated plastic and Velcro brand hook and loop will be available to services providers, students, individuals who experience paralysis, and family members for fabrication of needed devices.
Additionally, as stated above, acquiring assistive technology can take a great deal of time, approximately six months. Through the “I CreATe for Paralysis Project”, individuals will receive fabricated assistive technologies faster than the average wait for commercially available assistive technology. We’ve all heard Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “Time is Money”. Time is a valuable resource and rapidly fabricating solutions has an economic effect. Providing individuals who experience paralysis with a means of independence can reduce the burden of time on caregivers, leaving them opportunity to complete other needed tasks.