Courtney Green wants to make available equipment that can be borrowed to improve people’s home care situation. Her goal is to establish a library firstly for the Christchurch community by the middle of the year. While some organisations do exist to provide equipment there is still a gap she wants to bridge. She has presented her case to business and industry at the University of Canterbury Innovators annual summer scholarship event.
Statistics from a disability survey in New Zealand in 2013 showed that 17 percent of New Zealanders are disabled and one-in-three people will suffer a major illness in their lifetime. This disability and illness may require the use of equipment to undertake daily tasks such as going to the toilet or having a shower.
“Of the percentage of those who are disabled, roughly 14,600 people required equipment ranging from wheelchairs, to more specialised equipment such as raised shower chairs. However not all these people have access to this equipment.
“This is a massive amount of people who have an unmet need for equipment that would drastically improve their quality of life. The problem was said to stem from three factors – accessibility, time and cost.
“I have been exploring the possibility of an equipment library. Similar to a book or toy library, the users could pay a very small fee and have access to equipment to improve their quality of life. The equipment could include donated or surplus equipment. The library could be accessed from an online database which would be accessible for most people.
“After surveying a broad group of people, including occupational therapists, nurses and in-home carers, there was a collective focus on the importance of improving quality of life. My research indicated that Ipads or tablets may be a good place to start as they would really help people who are bedbound.
“I have been approached by many people who have been affected by sickness or disability in some way. These people all shared my thoughts on the difficulties that can be faced when a family member or relative falls ill. It is a reality that if the necessary equipment is not available then the responsibility can fall on the family, causing a lot of physical and mental stress during a difficult time.”
Green, from Ashburton studying toward Bachelor of Criminal Justice and Bachelor of Laws degrees, is seeking sponsorship and her overall focus is to provide a service which improves quality of life and increases independence. This idea is still in the conceptual stage and there is still a lot of research being done.
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