Em­brac­ing the fu­ture

Dorset - - CARE - WORDS: Kate Jones

How care homes for older peo­ple are us­ing new

tech­nolo­gies in a va­ri­ety of in­no­va­tive ways

In April, the UK Gov­ern­ment said that NHSX – which brings to­gether teams from NHS Eng­land, the Depart­ment of Health and So­cial Care, and NHS Im­prove­ment – was work­ing with tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies to help in­di­vid­u­als ac­cess emo­tional sup­port and com­pan­ion­ship dur­ing the Covid-19 out­break. Within this, so­cial net­work­ing plat­form Face­book was set to do­nate Face­book Por­tal video call­ing de­vices to care homes. Face­book Por­tal de­vices were also due to be given to hos­pi­tals and other set­tings, and at the time of writ­ing, 50 had al­ready been sent to pi­lot sites.

Ac­cord­ing to care sec­tor spe­cial­ist Blue­leaf, ‘care homes used to be no­to­ri­ously be­hind the times when it came to tech­nol­ogy’, but now this

‘couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth’. What’s more, Daniel Cas­son, dig­i­tal de­vel­op­ment ex­ec­u­tive at Care Eng­land (a rep­re­sen­ta­tive body for in­de­pen­dent care providers), says that the coro­n­avirus cri­sis – while ‘a hor­ri­ble thing to hap­pen’ – has ‘ac­cel­er­ated the use of dig­tal

tech­nol­ogy’ in care homes for older peo­ple ‘ex­po­nen­tially’. He be­lieves the cri­sis con­sti­tutes ‘a kick­start for dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion in care’.

Speak­ing in the midst of the UK’s coro­n­avirus lock­down in April, Daniel ex­plains that video call­ing is one of the key ways that care homes for older peo­ple in Eng­land are us­ing dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies dur­ing this time. Aside from be­ing used to al­low res­i­dents to keep in touch with loved ones, this means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion is also be­ing de­ployed to pro­vide care and entertainm­ent. GPs are un­der­tak­ing con­sul­ta­tions via video link and speech ther­a­pists are ‘us­ing it very suc­cess­fully to keep in touch with their clients’, while care home en­ter­tain­ers are also pro­vid­ing entertainm­ent in this way. Daniel notes that NHS­mail, the na­tional se­cure col­lab­o­ra­tion ser­vice for health and so­cial care in Eng­land and Scot­land, has been rolled out across all care homes, giv­ing them ac­cess to col­lab­o­ra­tion hub Mi­crosoft Teams.

The dig­i­tal de­vel­op­ment ex­ec­u­tive says that re­mote mon­i­tor­ing in care homes for older peo­ple in Eng­land has ‘seen mas­sive growth’ and that homes are ‘find­ing new ways to re­cruit dig­i­tally’ with re­gards to tak­ing on staff. Homes with elec­tronic care plan­ning pro­cesses are us­ing these in or­der to help them­selves work with in­di­vid­u­als with coro­n­avirus ‘in the best way’ in or­der to iso­late them or know of their where­abouts. Daniel adds: ‘There are var­i­ous tools in place now with the Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion and NHS Eng­land to help peo­ple in­put data so they can see hotspots where there are re­source de­fi­cien­cies.’

Daniel says that both res­i­dents and staff of older peo­ple’s care homes ben­e­fit from the use of dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies. For care homes, dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy-us­age means they’re more ef­fi­cient with how they use their staff – their ros­ter­ing can be done more ef­fi­ciently – and they can save money on agency as they can com­mu­ni­cate with peo­ple and bring in­di­vid­u­als in for shifts. Mean­while, us­ing dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies im­proves res­i­dents’ qual­ity of life by giv­ing car­ers ‘the gift of time’: staff ‘no longer have to rum­mage around for data and ac­cess’ and can mon­i­tor re­motely, mean­ing ‘they have more time to be with the peo­ple who re­ally need them’. The em­ploy­ment of these tech­nolo­gies can also stim­u­late res­i­dents as they can have con­tact with their fam­i­lies when­ever they wish (depend­ing on ca­pac­ity-level). Dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy use in older peo­ple’s care homes can ad­di­tion­ally im­prove res­i­dents’ qual­ity of life by giv­ing homes in­stant ac­cess to their pref­er­ences via the data about them.

Daniel be­lieves work re­mains to be done on Mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary Team Meet­ings con­ducted via video. How­ever, given that he also feels that work will be done go­ing for­ward to at­tempt to im­prove upon the tech­no­log­i­cal work un­der­taken in care dur­ing the coro­n­avirus cri­sis, it looks as if the fu­ture is dig­i­tal for older peo­ple’s care homes.

‘Tech­nol­ogy gives car­ers the gift of time. They now can be with the peo­ple who re­ally need them’

The use of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy has be­come more preva­lent in care homes

Smart tech helps keep health is­sues in check

Tech­nol­ogy means data can be ac­cessed quickly

ABOVE: Video call­ing has helped to keep fam­i­lies in touch dur­ing the coro­n­avirus cri­sis

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.