Resource Center (DRC),
which works to ensure that health care is accessible
to people with disabilities at UPMC, is offering a new tool to connect with
“Devices like iPads have made a huge difference in the
day-to-day lives of people with disabilities,” notes Mary Duranti, director of
the DRC. “We wanted to bring these devices into all of our hospital
settings, which we did last fall, and into our skilled
, which we’re doing this month.”
iPads and other touch screen devices have proved incredibly
beneficial to those with disabilities. For example, for those lacking motor skills, touch screens are more
intuitive than computers and have fewer moving parts (i.e., a mouse and
keyboard, which can require "visual shifting," a skill that can be challenging
for some with disabilities). Those with
barriers to speech can also use the iPad to express basic feelings or needs,
such as hunger.
In a hospital setting, the iPads are kept on hand for use
with patients who may have autism, Down syndrome, learning disabilities, brain
injuries, intellectual or psychiatric disabilities, speech impairments, or are deaf
or hard of hearing. In UPMC’s skilled
nursing facilities, the iPads will be used to communicate with patients who
have dementia or other forms of cognitive decline, and who have vision loss,
hearing loss or speech impairment.
“There are a plethora of apps available for those with
disabilities. We’ve downloaded 10 of them for the iPads that will be used in
our nursing facilities,” Duranti said. “The
apps will help patients and residents to communicate more effectively with
caregivers, nurses and doctors, and to eliminate frustration often caused by
difficulty in communication. For
example, the health care communication app allows a patient who is entubated to
tell family members 'I love you.'"
Apps that will be used to communicate with residents of
skilled nursing facilities include:
- Healthcare Communication app: This
app shows pictures of some typical hospital questions and answers regarding
urgent, physical, emotional, ICU, pediatric care and food. When a picture is
selected, the app will voice the selection.
- Adobe Ideas app: This app will turn the screen into a white board
where the user can draw or spell in different colors. This can be used in lieu of paper and pencil.
- Yes/No app: This app allows the patient to communicate a simple yes
- ASL Emergency app: This app includes common phrases
and questions used in emergency situations and non-urgent situations. When
phrase/question is selected, an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter will
appear and sign the question using ASL.
- Google Translate app: This
app can translate text or the spoken word to and from 60 different languages.
This app can be used for basic communication with patients who do not speak
English and are able to read text in another language. The text can be enlarged for those with low
- Dragon Dictation app: This
app is a voice recognition app that translates the spoken word to text. For
example, the provider can speak and the patient with hearing loss can read the
- Voice Dream Reader app: This app reads documents aloud (text to
speech). Seven key healthcare documents and other important hospital forms are
pre-downloaded and can be accessed using the app.
Labels: UPMC Disabilities Resource Center