Chronic Illness Inclusion

Chronic Illness Inclusion


How can we build on the COVID-19 ‘remote access revolution’?

The CIIP has produced two new guides to remote access aimed at employers, universities, the public sector and researchers. This is part of a drive to ensure the COVID-19 ‘remote access revolution’ isn’t lost when the pandemic ends.

Funded by the London-based HEAR Network, the two guides are currently available in the publications section of the CIIP site here. They can be shared freely with employers, universities and other organisations who might need some help to become more inclusive of people with energy limiting chronic illness.

The first guide:Turning the remote access revolution into reasonable adjustments pushes employers, universities and the public sector to make the use of videoconferencing technology the norm when planning meetings. The CIIP crowdsourced the suggestions from its followers to produce the guidance on facilitating successful ‘hybrid’ meetings, in which some people attend online and others in person. The guide also lays out how this form of meeting is a legal requirement under the Equality Act 2010.

The second guide: Remote Researchers: Learning from experts-by-experience in digital inclusion is aimed at other researchers who wish to make their research more inclusive. It sets out the unique research practice developed by the CIIP to reach people who cannot participate in traditional face-to-face focus groups, such as those who are housebound.

Catherine Hale, director of the Chronic Illness Inclusion Project, said:

“An unexpected outcome of COVID-19 has been the ‘remote access revolution’, in which remote working and online meetings have suddenly become the norm. While this has increased accessibility for people with ELCI in areas such as work, higher education, politics and civic life, many of us are concerned that the option may not continue beyond the pandemic. This would be particularly unacceptable since this form of access is a legal requirement - considered a ‘reasonable adjustment’ under the Equality Act 2010 - although it is one disabled people have long been denied.

“We are very grateful to the HEAR Network for the funding to carry out this research and produce this remote access guidance document, as well as to our followers for helping us crowdsource these recommendations. The recommendations will help anyone organising an online meeting to ensure full participation and accessibility. The guide also explains the legal requirements around offering videoconferencing as a reasonable adjustment.

“We’re also excited about our second guide with the HEAR Network, aimed at researchers. The chronic illness community is invisible to society and to policy-makers – the people who make decisions about our lives. This guide sets out how to carry out research through extended online focus groups, allowing the voices of people with energy limiting chronic illness to be heard for the first time. We hope sharing this practice will allow other researchers to make their research more inclusive of people with ELCI.”

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