AskSARA online self-assessment tool

The DLF (part of Shaw Trust since 2014) is continuing to attract new partners in Scotland for its new version of the popular AskSARA online self-assessment tool.  Following on from the launch of the first Scottish version with Scottish Borders HSCP as part of their tech strategy in 2019, the EquipU Partnership’s version was launched in 2020 to support the region of Greater Glasgow and Clyde. The Partnership’s goal for the service is to maximise independence by offering impartial Information and guided advice on assistive technology solutions across their constituents. This collaborative venture involves seven health and social care partners in central Scotland who collaborated to produce a joint version of the AskSARA online self-assessment tool reaching a population of 2.46 million.

Since 2002, the EquipU Community Equipment Partnership has been providing equipment and assistive technologies to help vulnerable people to live as independently and comfortably as possible in their own home. The Community Equipment Partnership comprises of NHS Greater and Clyde (NHSGGC), and the six local authorities of East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, Glasgow City, East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire, and South Lanarkshire.

Users of AskSARA can link to over 10,000 products for daily living listed in the Living Made Easy marketplace many of which can be immediately purchased from online retailers and delivered to their door. Almost a thousand retailers are listed with new products and suppliers being added every day.

The free-to-use guided advice tool (opens new window) which launched in the area in November 2020 produces impartial advice written by qualified occupational therapists about suitable aids and adaptations for over ninety topics of daily living. Users choose a topic, answer some questions and view a report of advice tailored to their needs.

Alison Docherty EquipU Project Manager who has been leading the venture says:

‘With the increased pressure on service delivery due to Covid-19 restrictions, launching a resource that is accessible digitally on a wide variety of devices is a timely and important move for us. This initiative forms part of our partners’ Maximizing Independence agenda, and underlines our commitment to support people to independently identify their needs, and self-manage their conditions, where ever possible’

The Freely reports’ focus on prevention, anticipation and supported self- management fits well with the provision of localised versions of AskSARA across Scotland.

AskSARA gives disabled and older people and their carers the tools and information to improve their knowledge of solutions out there and improves their health literacy and ability to take ownership of their own circumstances across the lifespan.  By providing trusted impartial information supporting self- management many people can improve their confidence to buy the right equipment for their needs with a greater choice of products and supplier and have it delivered to their door.

AskSARA compliments the Request for Assistance model by offering independent solutions for low level need. The database of products improves the publics’ knowledge and understanding of the equipment options available to live with any health condition at any age and aligns well with the draft Health and Social Care Delivery Plan for Scotland.

To find out more about the AskSARA programme, email enquiries@dlf.org.uk or call 0300 123 3084