ALONE is an organisation that works to manage the health of older persons and enable them to age well at home. A Sláintecare project conducted during 2020 – 2021 provided technology and a broad range of services to enhance self-management and community capacity related to older person’s healthcare needs.

ALONE used the European standard EN 17161: 2019 ‘Design for all – Accessibility following an Design for All approach in products goods and services – Extending the range of users’ (‘EN 17161’) as a framework in its Sláintecare project for addressing accessibility and usability. (As a process, the Design for All approach, as used in parts of Europe is the same as the Universal Design approach used in Ireland)

As a standard for continuous improvement of accessibility, EN 17161 describes a Universal Design approach that aligns with established management systems. It specifies requirements that enable an organization to design, develop and provide products, goods and services so that they can be accessed, understood and used by the widest range of users, including persons with disabilities.

ALONE recognised the value that a Universal Design approach can have for the Older People they serve, by carefully considering how user involvement can inform service design and delivery of projects. ALONE continues to explore further integration of the standard across the organisation as a framework for continuous improvement of accessibility.

ALONE was recognised as an Early Adopter of EN 17161 in a November 2021 webinar titled ‘A Universal Design for All Approach: Methods for a Culture of Co-Design’. At the webinar ALONE discussed their experience with, and benefits from, integrating EN 17161 at their organisation.