Best Practice Guidelines
When mounting assistive technology:
- When selecting mounting solutions, consider all contexts in which the technology will be used.
- Consider all the locations where the equipment will be required and ensure the mounting solution allows the client to maximise their independence and participation, and to meet their lifestyle objectives.
- Some locations may be used infrequently but may still be important. Consider if it is important to provide mounting in those locations.
c. Consider all the areas of the house (kitchen, dining room, lounge, bathroom, bedroom etc).
- Consider the needs of all those who will interact with the technology
- The mounting solution may have an impact on those who do not attend the assessment, or are unable to. Consider their requirements too and contact them for additional information if required.
- Provide equipment that gives flexibility
- Two wheelchair mounts may not be as flexible as a mount on the most frequently used wheelchair in addition to a clamp-on table mount.
- Ensure the equipment moves with the user so it remains in the optimum position if they are using a tilting system or wheelchair.
- Position devices and mounts in a protective fashion
- If using clamp type mounting systems, consider what will happen if part of the mounting system fails or becomes loose. Try to position it so that if that does occur, it will fall away from the user not onto them.
- If using clamp type systems, try to position the clamp blocks so the ends of the joining tubes are contained in or near the block. This means that there will not be exposed joining tubes that could be a hazard to the user or others.
- Rigid components of the system can be positioned to protect delicate components such as cables and device socket entries.
- Consider the safety of the user and those around them
- Consider the safety of the user and those around them in the environments in which they will use the assistive technology.
- Let the kit position be determined by the user and the most appropriate position for them to use it.
- Ensure all safety aspects and risks have been considered. Use risk management to identify any unknown risks and investigate any unknown risks or effects.
- Ensure safety testing is relevant and appropriate
- Stability testing and driving assessments are two tests that can be used to ensure the user is safe and investigate the impact of the position of the technology before and after.
- While stability should be considered, positioning assistive technology may have an impact on the performance of a powerchair in other areas such as braking and deceleration. Ensure the user is aware that they should take some time to get used to how the kit may affect the performance of their powered chair.
- Use risk management as a tool to identify uncertainty and opportunities to improve safety rather than as a tool to restrict independence or participation
- Risk management should be used as an enabler to facilitate access not as a barrier.
- Provide user instruction in formats that are relevant and appropriate
- Ensure user instructions are concise, useful and relevant. Developing long-winded written instructions for use may be more likely to be ignored. Where verbal instruction is given, make a note that you have given it, and read from a script to ensure instructions given by different team members is consistent.
- Long-winded and protracted instructions are likely to be less useful to the user than information that is concise and relevant. Use mixed media (such as photos or video) in addition to written text to help explain key points, especially where English is not well understood.
- Use commercially available products where possible and bespoke solutions when necessary
- Try to use off the shelf products where possible but consider bespoke solutions or modifying existing products where they will improve the product. Commercially available products should have been through some level of testing and may have been on the market for some time. They will have developed a history and may be more reliable than bespoke solutions. They are also typically quicker to get into use. Don’t rule out bespoke solutions if it provides a better result for the client. Keep it simple and remember efficiency. Follow manufacturers’ guidelines where possible.