Environmental Control Leads to Greater Independence

Imagine you are not able to move your hands and have to ask someone for help with everyday tasks, like turning on the lights, lowering the blinds or switching on the television? People with paralysis and other severe disabilities experience such challenges, but technology can offer greater independence.

In the past, environmental control for people without fine motor skills was pretty much limited to the use of advanced remote controls that could be activated by a puff of air or slight movement of the hand. The available options were costly.

Today, new technologies are being developed and many are becoming more affordable for consumers. Environmental control technologies range in price and complexity, from systems that work with relatively inexpensive devices like iPads and iPhones to more comprehensive and costly home automation systems.

With so many new options, many of our patients began asking questions about environmental control systems. What devices are available? What technology would work best for them? In response, Good Shepherd opened the Environmental Control Experience Center at the Health & Technology Center in Allentown.

What is the Environmental Control Experience Center?

The Environmental Control Experience Center is designed to help patients with minimal hand function gain more independence and ease of access in controlling their home environment.

Trained and experienced occupational therapists evaluate the patient and his or her home environment and then offer solutions that will allow them to be more independent in the home.

A wide range of technologies are available at the center for demonstration and testing, including:

  • Voice activation equipment
  • iPad/Android devices
  • Infrared technology
  • Oversized remote controls
  • Single switch technology
  • Sip & puff technology

With the right technology, it is possible for the user to control:

  • Climate/temperature
  • Lighting
  • Shades
  • Home access (doors/windows/cabinets)
  • Security systems
  • Surveillance systems
  • Home entertainment
  • Phone systems

For more information on the Environmental Control Experience Center, call 610-776-3517 to request an appointment.

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