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Access to Communication and Technology (ACT) 

ACT

COVID 19 pandemic related information

ACT is currently operating at a significantly reduced capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions but please refer as normal. We are currently only seeing people who meet the priority criteria below but are accepting standard referrals too and placing them onto a waiting list to be seen in date order once capacity allows.

ACT are currently focusing on providing appointments to people whose referral is defined as a priority, in line with the following national service specification criteria:

People who have a rapidly deteriorating condition

People whose existing equipment is broken

People whose physical condition has changed and who are unable to use equipment            already provided by us

People who are exhibiting significant psychological distress

 

Due to the changing nature of working practices, we are now operating a remote-first service.  This means that we will try to carry out as much of our work as possible by video and telephone consultation.  If there are elements of our work that we cannot arrange remotely, we may arrange face-to-face appointments with your consent.

 

What you can expect from us:

We will first contact you by telephone; this will be the start of the assessment process;

We may then arrange a video conference appointment with you. Instructions for this will          be sent to you, according to your preference, by email or post;

Following the video-consultation, we will write to you with our recommendations;

We will also arrange to deliver any equipment discussed with instructions and details of          contacts for help;

 We will also arrange follow-up telephone or video appointments as needed.

Where a face-to-face appointment is necessary:

We will ask you for your consent to carry out a face-to-face visit; we will discuss with you        how we will carry out our face-to-face visit, what the risks are and how we will manage            them;

We will send you an appointment letter, which will further outline what you can expect            on the day;

 Following the face-to-face visit, we will write to you with our recommendations;

We will also arrange to deliver any equipment discussed with instructions and details of          contacts for help;

We will also arrange follow-up telephone or video appointments as needed.

Despite these changes, our aim is that you will still get the same outcomes and service, and we will do our best to help meet your communication, environmental control and computer access needs.

 

Please click here to download some Information which we need you to be aware of when visiting the West Midlands Rehabilitation Centre for an outpatient appointment.

Information about ACT

This service aims to empower people with disabilities, using techniques and technologies which optimise potential for communication and control.

ACT works with people with complex disabilities to develop ways to enable them communicate and interact with their environment, assisted by the use of electronic equipment.

The service explores how people might use:

  • Electronic communication aids
  • 'Low-tech' communication methods
  • Computers
  • Alternative methods to control electrical appliances in the home

 

The team is made up of:

  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Clinical Scientists
  • Technicians
  • Administrators
  • Rehabilitation Assistants 

 

Environmental Control is the part of the service which allows people to control pieces of equipment in their home that they are not able to control currently, e.g. television, lights and telephone.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication addresses the needs of people with complex communication needs by introducing low-tech and electronic communication systems.

ACT also provides computer access assessments for people who are physically unable to use a standard keyboard and mouse.

Who is the service for?

  • People of any age and diagnosis who cannot use speech or typing as their main form of communication.
  • People who cannot use a standard computer keyboard and mouse, or devices such as TV remote controls.
  • People may have a range of complex disabilities, including cognitive, behavioural, sensory and physical difficulties that may affect their ability to interact with their environment and/or to communicate effectively in face-to-face settings, on the telephone or in writing.
  • People with a GP in the counties of West Midlands, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire. 
  • People with a GP outside of this area who are interested ACT’s services should call the referral and helpline to make further enquiries.

What do we do at an assessment?

  • Invite everyone who has a significant involvement
  • Develop an understanding what the issues are
  • Identify the areas where specific help is required
  • Try out different techniques and equipment
  • Look at different methods to help the person access and use the equipment
  • Jointly agree goals
  • Arrange for equipment to be tried at home, school, day centre, etc.
  • Make sure that the different types of equipment used are working together.

 

What happens after the assessment?

  • A report is written by ACT and shared with both the person and team
  • Equipment is provided (as agreed at the assessment)
  • Progress is reviewed regularly to ensure the equipment continues to meet the patient’s needs
  • Person and team are trained to use the equipment
  • ACT provides ongoing support and advice as necessary.

 

Contact Us

Access to Communication and Technology
West Midlands Rehabilitation Centre
91, Oak Tree Lane
Selly Oak
Birmingham
B29 6JA

Tel: 0121 466 3050

Email: bchnt.accessto     communicationand           technology@nhs.net

Line open office hours Monday to Friday.

For calls by and about current clients and their equipment.  

To ask about training and speak to specific members of ACT.

Referrals and advice line:
0121 466 3028

Line open 9am to 4pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

For calls to the duty clinician for referrals and for advice and support when the client is not already known to ACT .