Thursday, 5 February 2009

High expectations of EAT

I was having an interesting chat with a visiting SPR today about the high expectation of EAT he had found when visiting patients in our service. We discussed the impact of the constant media stream of technological advances which he termed "Bill Gates Syndrome" so that when we visit a person they often expect us to be able to provide star trek level controls of their home and beyond.

The reality of course is that EAT is often well behind mainstream technology. Costs incurred for necessary hoops like MHRA regs and a comparably small market make for often lower tech solutions that service users envisage.

A common misconception is always that throwing lots of technology in to the mix will in some way enhance a patients underlying skills and abilities. I always try to explain that we can use the tech factor to support and enhance but if a person doesn't have the often critical cognitive abilities and motivation we are often limited. Starting an assessment by talking about expectations cab be an effective way to get an idea of a starting point to negotiate.

As an Occupational Therapist I feel I have special skills to be able to breakdown the skills needed to use EAT and I hope I can then convey these in a sensitive and meaningful way to my patients. It might seem contradictory to underplay the role of technology when working in an EAT service but it serves to remind us that the focus should be on skills of the individual and the technology as a means to harness those abilities.

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