Intended for healthcare professionals


Switching devices and independence of disabled people

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 05 November 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:1181
  1. M P Barnes

    An environmental control system is a switching device that allows a disabled person to control many aspects of his or her home environment from a single unit, and the prescription of one may allow people with severe physical disabilities to continue to be independent and to live at home. The most common equipment that can be controlled is a door intercom, telephone, lighting, and domestic appliances such as television, radio, and video recorder. The system can be operated in various ways, from simple hand or foot switches to more complex chin controls, suck- puff controls, and even controls governed by eye movements. Environmental controls can have a major impact on the lives of severely disabled people, not only by enhancing their independence but also by reducing the stress and workload on their carers.

    This equipment is currently supplied on prescription, from the Department of …

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