Unit 20 Supporting Independent Living

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The aim of this unit is to develop learners understanding of how technology can support independent living and the implications of developments in assistive and communication technology.

Unit abstract

Technology is used by most people to help them with their everyday lives. Mobile phones and email aid communication; the internet is a source of information; remote control devices open our car as we press a button. This same technology can help individuals to access health and social care services and live independently. As more people access Independent Living Funds and become employers of their own personal assistants, the balance is shifting from dependency towards independence. This unit fits into this important agenda. The unit allows the learner to investigate the uses of current technology which can help individuals lead a more independent life. Health and social care workers and their employers need to understand the technologies currently available and how independence can be supported using such technology. They also need to be aware of barriers to using technology, and the implications when such technology is introduced. There is also an opportunity for learners to examine the implications of development in technology and its impact on health and social care services and their users.

Learning outcomes

1 Understand the use of technology to support independent living

  • Technological devices and systems: eg those for security, health and safety, mobility aids, aids for activities of daily living, visual, audio aids, administration of medication
  • Communications technologies: hardware and software; information and data collection systems, web and email delivery systems; electronic forums, counselling and monitoring services; telephone and video conferencing services; electronic distribution of data via CD ROM or DVD; innovative use of standard technologies eg mobile phones, speed dial, voice activation, diary appointment systems and others as they evolve; electronic booking and recording networks
  • Barriers: cost, technological access difficulties, training; maintenance systems, implications of technical breakdown
  • Benefits: for users eg autonomy and independence, reducing risk, access to information, precision or accuracy.

2 Understand the implications of developments in technologies for use in health and social care

  • Health and safety: associated with operation of the technology systems, consequences of technical breakdown
  • Ethics: considerations eg autonomy, changes in level of privacy, changes to interactions
  • Impact: on services, organisations and workers eg remote diagnostic and operative processes, interactions with others, relationships, confidentiality, cost benefit analysis, training
  • Roles of workers: workload, work scheduling, data exchange, staff development needs.

3 Be able to suggest technologies to support independent living for users of health and social care services

  • Identification of needs: physical, intellectual, social, emotional, health
  • Independent living: networking in support groups, medication, access to information, automation of activities
  • Use of technologies: to support independent living eg individuals in residential care, supported living, individuals employing personal assistants


  • Bartol, K. M., & Zhang, X. (2010). Linking Empowering Leadership and Employee Creativity: The Influence of Psychological Empowerment, Intrinsic Motivation, and Creative Process Engagement. Academy of Management Journal .
  • belbin.com. (2016). belbin team roles. Retrieved 09 28, 2016, from http://www.belbin.com/about/belbin-team-roles/

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