The use of technology to support care has increased rapidly during the coronavirus pandemic – a trend that the National Care Forum (NCF) wants to encourage because we know it can make a major contribution to the future of care. However, not all care providers feel able to take advantage of technology. Many do not know where to start or how to navigate the whole process of introducing technology-enabled care (TEC) into their services.
Liz Jones, Director of Policy at the NCF explains:
“Technology-enabled care is here to stay. But care providers are not techies. The Hubble Project demystifies technology and allows care managers and owners to follow other services full tech journey – warts and all. From being clear about what they want to achieve, selecting the tech and building the business case – through to implementation, training and evaluation.
“The Hubble Project clearly demonstrates the value of investing in technology for the long term. The tech that we have seen clearly benefits people who use services, care workers, management and leaders.”
For example, unobtrusive monitoring systems and circadian rhythm lighting, aligned to our natural body clock, are enabling residents at Parkhaven Trust’s specialist dementia care home, The Beeches, to get a better night’s sleep – improving their quality of life, and helping them to be more active during the day. And it is freeing up night staff to focus on those in most need of support.
Elsewhere at Spey House – an extra care housing scheme managed by Johnnie Johnson Housing – wearable technology which incorporates GPS systems is enabling people to remain independent outside of their own homes, but with support on hand when needed.
And at Elizabeth Finn’s Rashwood nursing home, mobile care records connected to electronic medicines administration have reduced medication errors, provided better joined up data to improve care and freed up more time to care.
Liz Jones continues:
“NCF and our partners at NHS Digital and Digital Social Care, are encouraging all care providers to consider technology as an inherent part of care. It is intrinsic to improving the quality of care offered and liberating staff time to spend with the people they support. Everyone in our sector has a role to play in this journey. Commissioners of care should be exploring how they can support the effective use of technology, both in terms of ambitions and funding. And we encourage policy makers to ensure tech-enabled care is a core element of the Social Care White Paper.”
Based on a series of virtual visits to three innovative care providers, the Hubble Project has now published a series of films, information packs, templates and guides. Senior leaders, managers, care staff and family carers share their experiences of planning, implementing and using technology.
Parkhaven Trust, Elizabeth Finn Homes and Johnnie Johnson Housing share their insights and experiences.
Kim Crowe Chief Executive at Parkhaven Trust said:
“Our aim with the Hubble Project is to inspire other care providers to embrace digital technology in their own care settings in order to improve people’s lives. We found a whole host of benefits for our clients with the use of the newest technologies and we want to share that with others.
‘We’re always asking ourselves ‘what will make people’s lives better’ and it’s this that drives us to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation in care to ensure that every day is well lived.”
Joe McLoughlin, Executive Director of Johnnie Johnson Housing says:
“Astraline is a partnership for living. TECS (technology-enabled care services) are no longer a ‘nice to have’. The pandemic has shown they are essential. They improve contact, connection and give the ability to keep people safe through remote support into their home.
“Technology has the potential to transform lives. It increases independence, allowing people to live longer, live better in their own homes.”
Richard Hawes, Chief Executive of Elizabeth Finn Homes Ltd says:
“Technology-enabled care is no longer an optional extra. It is inherent to the provision of good care and at Elizabeth Finn Homes it really supports our residents, our staff and our managers. Don’t think about it in terms of a quick financial return on investment. It is much more about quality of care.”
The Hubble Project resources are available on Digital Social Care – a dedicated space to provide advice and support to the sector on technology and data protection.
Care providers who would like to discuss the technology or the care providers featured in The Hubble Project, can contact the National Care Forum at: [email protected]
Contact Iris Steen at [email protected]
Tel 07792 636761