2. Materials and Methods
3.3. Government Assistance
3.4. Accessing Benefits and Services
3.5. Policy Reforms
- Removing communication barriers,
- Improving planning, and
- Developing standards of quality and accessibility.
3.5.1. Removing Communication Barriers
3.5.2. Improved Planning
3.5.3. Developing Standards of Quality and Accessibility
3.5.4. Lack of Government Understanding
5. Conclusions and Future Perspectives
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix A. Interview Guide
- Can you tell us a about who you are?
- Gender, age
- Where they live (e.g., rural/urban)
- Their household living arrangements
- Who else is in the household?
- What kind of difficulties do you have? (mobility (upper and lower), hearing, vision, cognitive, psychosocial)
- What information have you received about COVID? From…
- health agencies,
- the government
- family and friends
- the media
- Before the pandemic, can you describe the products you used because of difficulties you have doing things? And where did you get them from?
- What products?
- How much did they cost?
- How often do you have to repair and replace them?
- Show a card with pictures of various devices that might help them think of all they use
- Before the pandemic, were there any people who provided you with assistance?
- Were they family members or friends?
- Were they people you hired or were provided by someone else? The government, an NGO?
- What did they help you with? (provide examples of activities: shopping, church, doctor…)
- Did you have to pay? If so, how much?
- During the pandemic have you had any problems with getting or using assistive products or services?
- Getting access and fitting devices or products
- Training on using and looking after your device
- Follow-up or repair of any device
- Support services or personal assistance
- If so, can you describe these problems?
- Are they constant or only occasional?
- Has it changed the cost of getting them?
- How has this affected what you can do and how you feel?
- If there have been problems in getting what you need, what do you think is the cause of these problems? How has this been affected by COVID?
- Examples of impact of COVID,
- Social/Physical distancing
- Services I needed closing
- Risk of getting COVID-19
- Important people around me getting COVID-19
- Need and/or lack Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- I didn’t feel safe going outside
- Afraid of how I would be treated
- My community stopped including me
- Don’t know where to get products or services
- What has been done to get around these problems?
- By you or your family and friends, the government, an NGO, or anyone else
- What would you need to overcome these problems? (money, information, knowledge, someone to help you, etc.)
- What personal strengths, previous experiences, and resources have helped you in dealing with the current situation?
- Personal strengths and previous personal experiences
- Friends and family
- Government and/or civil society services
- What are your biggest needs at the moment regarding AT products and services?
- Is there anything I haven’t asked you about that you think it is important to add?
- Centers for Disease Control, Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Capabilities National Standards for State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Public Health October 2018 Updated January 2019. Available online: https://www.cdc.gov/cpr/readiness/capabilities.htm (accessed on 9 November 2021).
- Puli, L.; Layton, N.; Mont, D.; Shae, K.; Calvo, I.; Hill, K.D.; Callaway, L.; Tebbutt, E.; Manlapaz, A.; Groenewegen, I.; et al. Assistive Technology Provider Experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 10477. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Shakespeare, T.; Ndagire, F.; Seketi, Q.E. Triple jeopardy: Disabled people and the COVID-19 pandemic. Lancet 2021, 397, 1331–1333. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Smith, E.M.; Toro Hernandez, M.L.; Ebuenyi, I.D.; Syurina, E.V.; Barbareschi, G.; Best, K.L.; Danemayer, J.; Oldfrey, B.; Ibrahim, N.; Holloway, C.; et al. Assistive Technology Use and Provision during COVID-19: Results From a Rapid Global Survey. Int. J. Heal. Policy Manag. 2020, 1–10. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Marotta, N.; Demeco, A.; Moggio, L.; Ammendolia, A. Why is telerehabilitation necessary? A pre-post COVID-19 comparative study of ICF activity and participation. J. Enabling Technol. 2021, 15, 117–121. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- World Health Organization. Priority Assistive Products List; World Health Organisation: Geneva, Switzerland, 2017; Available online: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/207694/WHO_EMP_PHI_2016.01_eng.pdf (accessed on 9 November 2021).
- Stillman, M.D.; Capron, M.; Alexander, M.; Giusto, M.L.; Scivoletto, G. COVID-19 and spinal cord injury and disease: Results of an international survey. Spinal Cord Ser. Cases 2020, 6, 1–4. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Kamalakannan, S.; Bhattacharjya, S.; Bogdanova, Y.; Papadimitriou, C.; Arango-Lasprilla, J.; Bentley, J.; Jesus, T. Refugee Empowerment Task Force, International Networking Group of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Health Risks and Consequences of a COVID-19 Infection for People with Disabilities: Scoping Review and Descriptive Thematic Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 4348. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- World Health Organization. Regional Office for South-East Asia. Whose Life Matters? Challenges, Barriers and Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Persons with Disability and Their Care Givers. Thailand: World Health Organization. Regional Office for South-East Asia. 2020. Available online: https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/336569 (accessed on 9 November 2021).
- Office of National Statistics, UK, Updated Estimates of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Related Deaths by Disability Status, England: 24 January to 20 November 2020. Available online: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/coronaviruscovid19relateddeathsbydisabilitystatusenglandandwales/24januaryto20november2020 (accessed on 9 November 2021).
- WHO/World Bank. World Report on Disability. 2011. Available online: https://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/report.pdf (accessed on 9 November 2021).
- de Witte, L.; Steel, E.; Gupta, S.; Ramos, V.D.; Roentgen, U. Assistive technology provision: Towards an international framework for assuring availability and accessibility of affordable high-quality assistive technology. Disabil. Rehabil. Assist. Technol. 2018, 13, 467–472. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Layton, N.; Mont, D.; Puli, L.; Calvo, I.; Shae, K.; Tebbutt, E.; Hill, K.D.; Callaway, L.; Hiscock, D.; Manlapaz, A.; et al. Access to assistive technology during the COVID-19 global pandemic: Voices of users and families. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 11273. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Liamputtong, P. (Ed.) Chapter 2: Qualitative Inquiry; Handbook of Research Methods in Health Social Sciences; Springer Nature: Singapore, 2019; pp. 9–25. [Google Scholar]
- Wickenden, J.M.; Thompson, S.; Rohwerder, B.; Shaw, J. Taking a Disability-Inclusive Approach to Pandemic Responses. 2021. Available online: https://www.ids.ac.uk/publications/taking-a-disability-inclusive-approach-to-pandemic-responses/ (accessed on 9 November 2021).
- Braun, V.; Clarke, V. Conceptual and design thinking for thematic analysis. Qual. Psychol. 2021. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Rizzo, J.R.; Beheshti, M.; Fang, Y.; Flanagan, S.; Giudice, N.A. COVID-19 and Visual Disability: Can’t Look and Now Don’t Touch. PM R 2020, 13, 415–421. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Shakespeare, T.; Watson, N.; Brunner, R.; Cullingworth, J.; Hameed, S.; Scherer, N.; Pearson, C.; Reichenberger, V. Disabled people in Britain and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Preprints 2021, 2021010563. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Smith, E.M.; MacLachlan, M.; Ebuenyi, I.D.; Holloway, C.; Austin, V. Developing inclusive and resilient systems: COVID-19 and assistive technology. Disabil. Soc. 2021, 36, 151–154. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- WHO. Policy Brief: Access to Assistive Technology; WHO: Geneva, Switzerland, 2020; Available online: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/978-92-4-000504-4 (accessed on 9 November 2021).
- MacLachlan, M.; Banes, D.; Bell, D.; Borg, J.; Donnelly, B.; Fembek, M.; Ghosh, R.; Gowran, R.J.; Hannay, E.; Hiscock, D.; et al. Assistive technology policy: A position paper from the first global research, innovation, and education on assistive technology (GREAT) summit. Disabil. Rehabil. Assist. Technol. 2018, 13, 454–466. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Desmond, D.; Layton, N.; Bentley, J.; Boot, F.H.; Borg, J.; Dhungana, B.M.; Gallagher, P.; Gitlow, L.; Gowran, R.J.; Groce, N.; et al. Assistive technology and people: A position paper from the first global research, innovation and education on assistive technology (GREAT) summit. Disabil. Rehabil. Assist. Technol. 2018, 13, 437–444. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Qi, F.; Hu, L. Including people with disability in the COVID-19 outbreak emergency preparedness and response in China. Disabil. Soc. 2020, 35, 848–853. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Smith, E.M.; Gowran, R.J.; Mannan, H.; Donnelly, B.; Alvarez, L.; Bell, D.; Contepomi, S.; Wegner, L.E.; Hoogerwerf, E.-J.; Howe, T.; et al. Enabling appropriate personnel skill-mix for progressive realization of equitable access to assistive technology. Disabil. Rehabil. Assist. Technol. 2018, 13, 445–453. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Ferreira-Meyers, K.; Pitikoe, S. The learning experience of a visually impaired learner regarding emergency blended teaching and learning at a higher education institution. Perspect. Educ. 2021, 39, 340–352. [Google Scholar]
- Zhou, Y.; Zhou, Y.; Song, Y.; Ren, L.; Ng, C.H.; Xiang, Y.-T.; Tang, Y. Tackling the mental health burden of frontline healthcare staff in the COVID-19 pandemic: China’s experiences. Psychol. Med. 2021, 51, 1955–1956. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- de Sire, A.; Marotta, N.; Raimo, S.; Lippi, L.; Inzitari, M.T.; Tasselli, A.; Gimigliano, A.; Palermo, L.; Invernizzi, M.; Ammendolia, A. Psychological Distress and Work Environment Perception by Physical Therapists from Southern Italy during COVID-19 Pandemic: The CALABRIA Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 9676. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Kramer, V.; Papazova, I.; Thoma, A.; Kunz, M.; Falkai, P.; Schneider-Axmann, T.; Hierundar, A.; Wagner, E.; Hasan, A. Subjective burden and perspectives of German healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eur. Arch. Psychiatry Clin. Neurosci. 2021, 271, 271–281. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Jang, C.; Sung, W. The Effect of Digital Divide on the Use of Online Services in the Severely Disabled People: Focusing on Online Accessibility. Informatiz. Policy 2020, 27, 56–81. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Duplaga, M. Digital divide among people with disabilities: Analysis of data from a nationwide study for determinants of Internet use and activities performed online. PLoS ONE 2017, 12, e0179825. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Smith, R.O.; Scherer, M.J.; Cooper, R.; Bell, D.; Hobbs, D.; Pettersson, C.; Seymour, N.; Borg, J.; Johnson, M.J.; Lane, J.P.; et al. Assistive technology products: A position paper from the first global research, innovation, and education on assistive technology (GREAT) summit. Disabil. Rehabil. Assist. Technol. 2018, 13, 473–485. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Chan, E.Y.Y.; Gobat, N.; Dubois, C.; Bedson, J.; de Almeida, J.R. Bottom-up citizen engagement for health emergency and disaster risk management: Directions since COVID-19. Lancet 2021, 398, 194–196. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Vieira, C.M.; Franco, O.H.; Restrepo, C.G.; Abel, T. COVID-19: The forgotten priorities of the pandemic. Maturitas 2020, 136, 38–41. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
|Family and friends|
|Television and radio|
|AT||AT: Cost, customization/repair|
|Support: Personal assistants, mental health, transportation|
Family and friends
|Post-COVID-19 Impact||Economic: access to jobs, affording services, workplace adaptations|
|Health Services: access to services, new health problems|
|Social: Discrimination, isolation, mental health|
|Supports||Lack: Family, government, hospitals, private sector|
Provided: Civil society, family, government
|Type of functioning difficulty||Communication||1|
Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).