The Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Center at the James A Haley Veterans’ Hospital has a reputation for being actively committed to innovative solutions for SCI patients with disabilities.

SCI patients with limited dexterity are unable to use touch screen technology available to other patients. In search of an adaptive solution, assistive technology therapists worked closely with 15 patients to use sip, puff and other adaptive technologies that allow control of a new platform without a touch screen. These innovations allow SCI inpatients with communication limitations to utilize all features currently available on the GetWellNetwork, including full control of their environment using Quadjoy. This includes independent use of room lights, nurse call controls, bed adjustment, full internet access, games, movies, television and access to education and pain monitoring.

One long-term care SCI veteran who has not used a computer in several years is now able to play chess with other patients across the world using this assistive technology integrated with the GetWellNetwork.  As for the future, the SCI Center is focusing on solutions to adapt this technology to incorporate Environmental Control Units (hands-free bed, lighting, nurse call controls) and the GetWellNetwork into one centralized control unit.

Patients with quadriplegia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) or other mobility restrictions can move and click the on-screen cursor to interact with the GetWellNetwork system.

QuadJoy is a USB mouse that can be fully controlled with the user’s mouth. The user simply moves the straw joystick with his or her lips or tongue to move the on-screen cursor. This breakthrough technology is particularly vital to GetWellNetwork’s VA community, where many Veterans suffer from limited mobility, dexterity and communication abilities. “This is outstanding and extremely easy to navigate,” said Mr. Michael Dawsey, a patient using the system at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Florida.


This blog was written by Ashley Ammen. Ashley is the administrative officer for the Spinal Cord Injury Center at the James A Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Florida.

Share this story

Published on May. 6, 2015

Estimated reading time is 1.7 min.

Views to date: 218

More Stories

  • Chronic pain interferes with women Veterans’ daily lives. Talk to your VA provider about an individualized pain management plan.

  • Do you have “text neck?” or pain in your head and neck? This acupressure for head and neck pain can help.

  • Significant progress has been made toward identifying, preventing, and helping those who experience domestic violence, but there is still work to be done.