Stakeholder Perceptions of Existing Home Access Solutions
Many people have difficulty with stairs and access to buildings, including people with disabilities and seniors with mobility problems. While there are a number of different home access solutions currently available, these all have some limitations. This work involved conducting interviews and focus groups with stakeholders to better understand the benefits and limitations of existing home access solutions.
The ARISE Home Access Solution
We also developed a new solution (the ARISE) that aimed to address some of the limitations of existing solutions. The ARISE is an integrated staircase-lift that works like a see-saw (two platforms pivot about a central axis to create a levered raising/lowering mechanism). A unique feature of the ARISE is that it can be used both as a lift and as stairs. Some key benefits of the ARISE:
- it is inclusive, in that it provides an option to use either stairs or a lift;
- a lift platform is always available for the user- there is never a need to “call” the lift;
- it can be integrated into the look of an existing home (it doesn’t stand out as a solution for a person with a disability);
- it is usable for emergency descent during a power outage
- it has the potential to be self-powered
Evaluation of the ARISE and other home access solutions
A fully functioning prototype of the ARISE was built and set up in our Home Access Evaluation Lab. We then conducted a study that aimed to evaluate end user perspectives of four existing home access solutions (stairs, a ramp, a platform lift, and a stair glide) and the ARISE. Participants with a range of different mobility limitations were asked to try all of these solutions and provided feedback. Results from this study provided greater understanding of user perspectives of home access solutions and the end user feedback on the ARISE design provided valuable insight into its usability and function.
Work supported by:
NSERC Idea to Innovation grant I2IPJ428619, the Rick Hansen Institute Grant 2014-01, Canada Research Chairs, and BCIT’s School of Construction and the Environment Green Values Strategies Fund
Shopper’s Home health; BCIT Architecture, UBC Occupational Therapy