The partnership between No Wrong Door Virginia (NWD) and Virginia Assistive Technology System (VATS) has been meeting both groups' goals to improve quality of life for Virginians amid COVID-19. Here are several ways this collaboration is helping older adults and individuals with disabilities access and acquire appropriate and affordable assistive technology devices (AT) and services through the NWD system. Using NWD DirectConnect, Virginians have had the opportunity to self-refer for a VATS Social Health Consultation to learn what AT may benefit them during times of increased isolation -- a key need during COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines. VATS NWD AT Specialist participates as a member of the Greater RVA No Wrong Door Advisory Council. VATS shared information on collaborative activities to include the development of an emergency preparedness kit with an emphasis on AT, and social connection kit focusing on decreasing isolation and loneliness. Because of the collaborative efforts, now Virginians may use NWD DirectConnect to self-refer for AT services to include a VATS Vaccine Access Consultation. The consultation is available for those who want and need the COVID-19 vaccine but have concerns about access to vaccination sites.
The state AT Act program and No Wrong Door (NWD) partnership continues to evolve. The reach of both groups has expanded and is helping to meet the needs of older adults and individuals with disabilities statewide. AT awareness continues to grow through information and assistance, demonstration, short-term loan, trainings, and public awareness activities provided by VATS and NWD partners. VATS received funding through Virginia NWD from the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan. This is replicable in other states, but a solid relationship needs to be built between state AT Act and NWD systems.