What Causes Discarded/Abandoned AT?
Research* shows more than 35% of all AT devices remain unused or are abandoned within the first three months of purchase.
Given it can have such a profound and positive impact on an individual’s life, why does AT abandonment occur?
Reasons can differ according to the type of equipment, access to services, product quality, and circumstances of the individual user; and includes fit, assembly and changing needs.
Fit: For AT that you sit in, hold or wear such as wheelchairs, seating, joysticks, or hearing aids, fit and comfort can impact use of this equipment in the long term, even if the technology is right for your purpose.
Assembly: If AT is hard to assemble, alter or modify it might be quickly discarded or no longer suitable.
Changing or unsuited needs: A user’s needs may change according to changes in their condition, illness or disability - or it may be the AT simply doesn’t do what the user wanted it to; and this can all lead to AT abandonment.
Assessment is Key: The best way to reduce AT abandonment is to ensure proper assessment by an interdisciplinary team of qualified allied health and/or medical professionals, coupled with ongoing, customer-centric follow-up services that encourage and promote user engagement, input and decision-making – whether your equipment is new or second-hand.
Connecting with other AT users, investment in quality product development, on-going professional development and training within the disability and aged care sectors and integrating accessibility and inclusion into public policies are also invaluable in reducing AT abandonment.
If for any reason you have AT that is no longer fit for purpose, you can donate it to an organisation or service that can refurbish, re-issue or recycle as appropriate; this reduces abandonment and makes AT more accessible and affordable.
Resources and Links to Accessing and Donating Second hand AT:
Other Resources (indigosolutions.org.au): A Guide to Selecting Second hand Equipment
Q and A -29 January 2018 | NDIS: What do we do with equipment funded by NDIS when we no longer need it?
*Reducing Assistive Device Abandonment by Improving design through Consilience and Technical, Social, and Medical Education; Antonio R. Rincon, MS, MBA; 2007 Conference Home, RESNA Home: www.resna.org/sites/default/files/legacy/conference/proceedings/2007/StudentScientific/CAC/Rincon.html