Hi-tech support is changing the game for disabled Australians
For 4.3 million Australians, technology is a lifesaver. That's how many people the Australian Bureau of Statistics note live with a disability, and it's a group of us who need skilled support and ample resources to have a fulfilled life.
A big part of this is utilising technological advancements – how are tools like VR going to improve quality of life for people in need, as well as transform the work of those in disability support jobs?
Almost 20 per cent of Australians live with some form of disability.
New training tools are helping to improve the skills of disability support workers
Disability service provider House with No Steps (HWNS) is leading the charge in the use of technology to augment the training of disability support workers, with its new VR learning tools allowing users to gain hands-on experience of complex tasks in a virtual environment. They can practice their techniques in a virtual situation, meaning they will be better equipped when it comes to working with real-life disabled clients.
"These innovative technologies are opening up great opportunities to enhance the way people learn and develop effective work place practices," said HWNS' Innovation Leader, Felicity Nelson, to L&D Professional. "The purpose of the project is to learn about what value VR technology can bring to the disability sector and those living with disabilities, through training and building the capability of support workers."
Technology is improving outcomes for the disability sector
Similarly, other innovations such as assistive technology and digital platforms to collate clients' information are helping to transform the way support is delivered to disabled individuals, as well as how workers do their jobs. Disruptive tools such as artificial technology, digital interfaces and machine learning will go a long way to promoting better care and helping the disability support sector rise to meet future demands. For instance, home health monitoring technology can allow more people with a disability to live independently, while still having the security of knowing help will come whenever they need it.
"The point around harnessing platform innovation is that the technology exists today to re-imagine how we serve how our employees, how we can serve our customers, how we serve the citizens around the world," explained Sarah Vaughan, the senior director of Microsoft Australia, to ProBono.
In addition, assistive technology present a significant opportunity for Australia in general, driving economic growth and delivering new job opportunities in industries from science to manufacturing. As the disability sector increasingly embraces change and innovation, Australia will be better equipped to support its disabled citizens in the years to come.
For more information on the services we provide in the healthcare space, check out the Austra Health website here.