The term support product It includes all those objects, devices, equipment, instruments (also technology and software) that can be useful when there is some kind of limitation that hinders the development of daily activities.
The State Reference Center for Personal Autonomy and Technical Assistance (@ceapat) dependent on the Imserso (@Imserso) highlights that these products, defined by the UNE –EN ISO 9999 V2 Standard, have in common that they have been designed to be used by people who present some degree of disability.
Facilitating participation, avoiding isolation, preventing deficiencies or limitations when carrying out an activity and protecting, supporting or replacing a function, or even a body structure (for example, in the case of a prosthesis), are the main objectives that these products must fulfill, whose mission is, ultimately, make life a little easier to those people who, due to mobility problems or suffering from any pathology, face numerous difficulties.
What types of assistive products are there?
The classification is broad considering the many facets of life in which an assistive product can be useful, even indispensable.
The Catalogue CEAPAT support products include thousands of items, whose characteristics and utilities you can easily consult online (This catalog will soon be replaced by the Support Products Information System YES DAD). Prosthetics, devices that help improve physical, mental or social capacities, articles that favor mobility such as: wheelchairs, walkers, ramps to facilitate transport, cranes that can help incorporate a person who remains in bed; products that allow daily actions such as cleaning or preparing meals, accessories that make it possible to enjoy sports and leisure activities … Support products are all those elements that are not for professional use and that contribute to promoting the personal autonomy and to improve the quality of life.
What to take into account when purchasing or requesting a support product?
Each assistive product has been designed with a perfectly defined purpose. Its objective is, above all, be useful to the person who has some limitation and also help potential caregivers in their work. They are not valid «all and for everything». They cover specific needs that must be detected and analyzed correctly.
As an example, the ASEM Federation (@Federation_ASEM) in its Guide to products, devices and gadgets for the autonomy of people with neuromuscular diseases and their families (document prepared by the occupational therapists Thais Pousada and Jessica Garabal), raises a series of aspects that should be taken into account when purchasing a product of this type.
The guide emphasizes the importance of prior advice from a health professional, which will help in making the correct decision considering aspects such as the real capacities and needs of the person who is going to use the product, the specific activity to which it is going to be used or the space and context where it is going to be used.
Does not have the same needs, nor does it require the same support products, an older person who presents a slight loss of mobility, that an adult who suffers a pathology or goes through a specific temporary situation that requires resorting to them (joint pain, degenerative neurological disease, post-operative period …).
Experts point out the need to know in depth the function of each of these articles, to guarantee that they are appropriate in each case. A simple example: what is better for an older person who requires extra support to walk more safely: a cane or a walker? It should be a professional who advises one or the other, so that the product is always a valuable help and does not end up having an unwanted effect (could aggravate an injury). Remember that many assistive products can have an important rehabilitation function that will always have to be valued.
Are there help to purchase assistive products?
The Dependency Law (39/2006 of December 14, modified in 2018) specifies that both the General State Administration and the Autonomous Communities may establish agreements for the granting of financial aid in order to facilitate personal autonomy. Support products are included in these grants.
The Social services of each Community offer different types of help that you can find out about. In some cases, they consist of subsidizing part (or all) of a specific support product. In others, they offer temporary use of necessary items or devices, either for a small fee (rental service) or for free. The granting of these grants is subject to prior assessment. You can also get advice on the benefits offered by some municipalities. In the case of Madrid (@MADRID) People over 65 with mobility problems can request support products (articulated beds and cranes) for temporary use through the Social Services centers of each district and also via the internet.