Liz Jones, director of policy at the National Care Forum (NCF) explains why technology-enabled care should be central to good care, and the social care white paper.
The use of technology to support care has increased rapidly during the coronavirus pandemic, a trend that 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.
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.
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 policymakers 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.
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.
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