Recently, at the Digital Healthcare show at Excel in London, Paul Burstow from Social Care Institute of Excellence held a thought provoking seminar focused on technology and how care homes need to develop to change with the times.
In the seminar, Paul highlighted that a recent report by The Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Health Foundation stated that, to remain in the same place with service provision, public spend on the care sector must increase from 1% to 1.5% by 2033. While this seems like a steep rise, countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden already devote this much to health and social care.
You can empathise with providers, who are encouraged to innovate and provide an increasingly high level of service, whilst concurrently, funding is being cut – perhaps this is an issue that the upcoming green paper will look to address. However, there are clear cost savings to be made for providers, whilst also improving resident quality of life, using technology to make smart and efficient time savings.
Visiting homes and managers trying to adopt digital care plan systems has shown that overnight adoption of the new technology is not common – often there are implementation issues, and staff sometimes feel that new systems using mobiles or tablets take more time than old paper-based systems. However, the key time saving occurs for managers or senior team members who can quickly access a much larger array of data than ever before. Armed with this knowledge, it is possible to note which individuals have not been involved in meaningful activity and target these people to ensure everyone in the home is being supported correctly.
Currently only around 2,000 care homes nationwide even have WiFi, when the over 65 market is one of the biggest growing markets for social media use. As more and more providers will have to install WiFi systems to meet the needs of their new digital systems, it means that this can also ensure that those moving into homes continue to enjoy a connected digital life.
I personally don’t see the future of social care as a poorly funded, fragmented sector – but one that will be filled with small but meaningful innovations, such as WiFi access, that ease pressures and improve quality of life for both staff and residents…
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