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Best Practice 2017
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The ADA Project. Home Adaptation for the Autonomy of People with Severe Disabilities and their Family Caregivers

Florence Accessibility Lab - Dipartimento di Architettura DIDA - Università di Firenze and Regione Toscana


Logos of Florence Accessibility Lab - Dipartimento di Architettura DIDA -Università di Firenze and Region Toscana Different images of the project

The ADA Project is an action-research project developed by the Florence Accessibility Lab together with Region Toscana, its funder and promoter.

The project aims to ameliorate the quality of living in the home environment of people with severe disability and their caregivers. Its main goal is to propose and fund highly personalized interventions of home adaptation and home automation, to overcome or reduce the people-environment conflicts.

The ADA Project developed in two phases: a “pilot phase” (2014-2016), performed in two Health Areas of Tuscany (Società della Salute “Fiorentina Nord Ovest” and “Pratese”); and a second “regional phase” (2017-ongoing), in all the 34 Health Areas of Tuscany.

The main operative stages of the ADA Project are:

  1. the “Interdisciplinary Survey”, that takes place at the homes of the participants, to define their specific health, social and environmental condition; this stage produces the necessary data to produce:
  2. the “Technical Consultancy”, a document that suggest personalized home adaptations to participants; and
  3. the “Evaluation”, that allows to compare different cases to orient the distribution of grants that fund (or co-fund) the home adaptation interventions.

Despite the importance of the grants, the Interdisciplinary Survey and the Technical Consultancy are by far the most relevant services offered by the ADA project. This relevance is strongly linked to the main innovative aspect of the Project: the introduction of architects and experts in environmental accessibility and home automation in the Commissions that in each Health Area deal with the evaluation of disability, and that are traditionally composed only by health and social professionals. This promoted a more holistic and integrated approach that allows a better observation and comprehension of the needs and expectations of each person with disabilities and, hence, the suggestion of home adaptations that are more aware, accurate and reliable.

The impact of the ADA Project in terms of diffusion of the culture of accessibility can be understood considering that so far the Project has involved as participants 362 people with severe disability and all their families, but also more than a hundred of other people with different roles in the implementation of the Project: physicians, social workers, architects, sociologists, physical therapists, experts in assistive and home automation technologies, and administrative staff, from three public institutions: the Florence Accessibility Lab - Department of Architecture, the Region Toscana, and the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) - Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell’Informazione of Pisa.

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