Kent County Council has commissioned assistive care technology provider Alcove to provide 2,000 elderly or vulnerable residents them with a unique videophone system.
The £1.5m contract means that vulnerable and digitally disadvantaged elderly residents and those with a learning disability will be able to receive virtual video care and health consultations, as well as video contact with friends and family while minimising the infection risk to other residents and care staff.
The technology, in the form of a ‘one touch’ secure tablet-type device, is being delivered and set up remotely by Alcove and health and care transformation consultancy Rethink Partners.
It enables video-calling to an individual’s support network, which allows KCC support staff to monitor care needs, ensure that clients are safe, and enables residents to conduct online activities such as ordering essential supplies and stay video connected with their loved ones.
‘This assistive technology will give some of our most vulnerable residents greater independence and help care staff to support them at this very challenging time,’ said Kent’s cabinet member for adult social care and public health, Cllr Clair Bell.
‘The video phone is delivered direct to the person’s home, ready to go, straight out of the box. It enables carers to monitor care needs and check on the safety and wellbeing of their clients, who themselves are able to utilise the equipment for a variety of online activities such as ordering shopping and prescriptions, as well as connecting with their family and friends by video call.
‘The system is proving to be particularly effective during the Covid-19 pandemic, reducing the need for face-to-face contact and limiting hands-on care to just essential tasks,’ added Cllr Bell.
Founder and CEO of Alcove, Hellen Bowey, added: ‘Local authorities across the country have had to navigate an unprecedented demand for services and juggle this with fewer support staff. Restrictions on movement and a reduction in care workers have left the most vulnerable people in our communities scared, alone and digitally isolated. With lockdown set to continue for many of the older people in our communities, it’s important that providers take steps to ensure their needs continue to be met.”
‘Not only does the implementation of this technology ensure that Kent county is well placed to mitigate the risk of COVID-19, it also ensures that local care provision is future proofed for the national digital switchover programme which comes into effect in 2023.
‘Current telecare technologies in this sector lack video, are outdated, send calls to only one number and are prone to failing due to the digital switchover – Alcove’s Integrated Caretech Digital Ecosystem connects carers and the cared-for seamlessly with video and Alexa, and uses data to monitor behaviour and create life changing outcomes,’ she added.
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