Autism spectrum disorders

According to the latest factsheet from the WHO, 1 in 160 children world-wide has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and for most of them, the condition becomes apparent during the first 5 years of life.

ASD refers to a range of conditions characterised by some degree of impaired social behaviour, communication and language, and a narrow range of interests and activities that are both unique to the individual and carried out repetitively. ASDs begin in childhood and tend to persist into adolescence and adulthood.

For more information about autism spectrum disorders and to download the Parent Skills Training Package on the who.int website

Putting a value on improvements to health

Ensuring global access to proven interventions – including vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics, as well as prioritising the development of new health technologies – requires an assessment of whether the improvement in health outcomes they offer exceeds the improvement in health that would have been possible if the resources required had, instead, been made available for other health care activities. So some assessment of these health opportunity costs is required if the best use is to be made of the resources available for health care, existing technologies and the development of new ones.

Evidence of the expected costs and health effects of making an intervention available to specific populations in
particular settings and health care systems are often summarised as cost per Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) ratios (Salomon et al, 2012). These provide a useful summary of how much additional resource is required to achieve a measured improvement in health (the additional cost required to avert one DALY), or how much health is delivered for an amount of additional resource (the DALYs averted per $1,000).
Download the full briefing paper on Health Opportunity Costs on the york.ac.uk website

Mental Health systems in OECD countries

Mental ill-health is widespread and its impact on people’s achievement in life is substantial. The large costs mental ill-health generates for people, families, workplaces and society as a whole is a major and growing concern for OECD governments in recent years.

The OECD is responding to this rising interest with a range of projects looking at (i) mental health care policies and reforms, (ii) the link between mental ill-health and work, (iii) health care quality aspects, and (iv) the impact of education, skills and mental ill-health.

For more information about OECD mental health projects, on the oecd.org website

European Disability Strategy 2010-2020

Eighty million people in the EU have disabilities ranging from mild to severe. These people, who are often prevented by their disability from taking part in society and the economy, have a rate of poverty 70 % higher than the EU average.

The European Commission has launched a public consultation to gather views on the challenges faced by all persons with disabilities in the EU and on the impact of the European Disability Strategy (2010-2020) so far.
For more information on the consultation, on the ec.europa.eu website
To access the online questionnaire, on the ec.europa.eu website
Deadline to submit a response: 18 March 2016.

EDECT

EDECT logo

2014 – 2015 EDECT: Empowerment of Disabled People through Ethics in Care and Technology

This Interreg IVA 2 Seas project was a direct result of the success of two earlier projects – Dignity in Care (DIC) in Belgium and SYSIASS.

The outcomes from these two projects identified the importance of combining ethical practice with technological developments in order to best serve the needs of disabled people, their families and their carers.

EDECT provided exactly that bridge and Phase1of the project consisted of a conference and a  publication

Phase 2 took the project further, with a series of four pilots testing both the wheelchair developed in the earlier SYSIASS project and the ethical training programme created during the Dignity in Care project.

These pilots took place in Canterbury Kent, Gits The Netherlands, Lille France, and Lomme Belgium and a final report was produced.

For more information about this exciting project, or to download all the tools created by the partners, go to www.edect.weebly.com

Empowerment of Disabled People

October 2014. This conference was part of Phase 1 of the EDECT project. You can see the full programme and the presentations are listed below in order of appearance at the conference:

The rights of people with disabilities

This paper “Implementing the UN CRPD – An overview of legal reforms in EU Member States” by the EU Agency of Fundamental Rights (FRA) outlines how Member States across the EU have reformed their laws and policies to meet their obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. By bringing together examples of such reforms, it also highlights how the adoption of international commitments can drive wide-ranging processes of change at the national level.

To download this report, click here on http://fra.europa.eu

Hate crimes against people with disabilities

People with disabilities have been excluded from mainstream society for centuries, and still face discrimination, stigmatisation and isolation today. Research by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) shows that violence, harassment and abuse are common experiences for many people with disabilities, creating a formidable barrier to their inclusion and participation in the community.

Some key facts from the FRA include:

  • Disability is not included in the EU’s hate crime legislation
  • Victims of disability hate crime are often reluctant to report their experiences
  • If incidents of disability hate crime are reported, the bias motivation is seldom recorded, making investigation and prosecution less likely.

The FRA believes that:

  • EU and national criminal law provisions relating to hate crime should treat all grounds equally, from racism and xenophobia through to disability
  • The EU and its Member States should systematically collect and publish disaggregated data on hate crime, including hate crime against people with disabilities
  • Law enforcement officers should be trained and alert for indications of bias motivation when investigating crimes
  • Trust-building measures should be undertaken to encourage reporting by disabled victims of bias-motivated or other forms of crime.

To download the document, click here on http://fra.europa.eu

COALAS

2012 – 2015 This was an East Kent Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust (EKHUFT) project in partnership with ESIGELEC, Universite de Picardie Jules Verne, University of Essex and the University of Kent.

The Health and Europe Centre provided the administrative support for EKHUFT’s medical physics and neuro-rehabilitation departments who worked with their academic colleagues to develop assistive technology for disabled people.

The project’s target group were disabled people living at home who require care and it looked at innovative ICT solutions that would maximise their autonomy and independence. Specifically, they developed a humanoid robot that can carry out household tasks as well as undertake minor medical jobs such as taking blood pressure which is then communicated to the patient’s doctor via the robot’s cognitive platform.

EKHUFT provided the necessary healthcare professional and patient input to the design, testing and evaluating all the systems that came from this project. The neuro-rehabilitation team accessed patients who were the target group of this project and involved them, making sure that the technology being tested was robust enough to ensure patient safety.

This is the CareTECH programme from the project’s closing conference in the summer of 2015.

 

 

SYSIASS

2011 – 2015 This Interreg-funded project has designed an intelligent electric wheelchair, which is a great improvement on existing wheelchairs as it allows autonomous guidance and efficient and secure communication to be established with the equipment.

The Health and Europe Centre provided administrative support to the East Kent Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust who worked in partnership with the Institut Superieur de l’Electronique et du Numerique, Ecole Centrale de Lille, The University of Kent and the University of Essex.
This team of experts have developed a human-machine interface necessary for the guidance of the wheelchair by the user, an intelligent module for autonomous wheelchair guidance and a module of transmission of data between the wheelchair and its environment.

There were three main objectives to this project:

  • To guarantee the use of the device by the largest number of end users
  • To develop a human-machine interface that is adaptable to the specific needs of each user
  • To create a device that can evolve and is capable of adapting itself to the state of the user – their tiredness for example, or the fact their condition is worsening over time.

  • This project finished in June 2014 but the innovative work produced by this team was continued in another cross-channel project – EDECT.