Mark Topps Care Column on Record Keeping
Mark Topps
September 2, 2021

Mark Topps

The Importance of Digitalisation & Technology in Social Care

If the pandemic has had any positive impact on social care, the biggest one is pushing the sector to step up its game in terms of digitalisation and use of technology. One of the biggest introductions to care homes over the pandemic has been devices that allow video calling so that residents are able to maintain contact with their family and friends. 

Often when speaking to providers and services, the immediate thought of digitalisation or technology automatically brings people to think of electronic care planning and digital medication records which is great as these are widely available for homes to use, but there are also other pieces of technology that can benefit the people we care for. 

Log My Care, for example, is helping care homes to thoroughly decrease the amount of time spent on admin so that carers and care home managers can focus on delivering a higher quality of care. Something that is a necessity in an industry where time is of the essence and spending quality time with residents is just as important as keeping the documentation in check. Luckily, Log my Care helps with both as you’ll see from some of their reviews:

What a wonderful app for all care services. We have been using for 2 weeks and it has reduced our admin hours by 75%”

As the general population rely more and more on technology for their day to day lives, it is important that care providers also keep up to date. That way, when people begin to depend on a care service, they are supported and don’t lose these important skills and the way of life that they’ve become accustomed to. Take a moment to think about the technology that you currently use everyday and how you would feel if it suddenly became impossible to use. That probably doesn’t sound too appealing. So, it’s important for care services to look for ways to offer support or resolve the issues residents (and their families) are having and then deciding what products or devices could be used to help. Whilst technology and digital systems can enhance life for the people we support, it is also important to note that there is little to no point in putting something new in place if it fails to serve the people who need it most.

The role of technology is to make everyday tasks easier and to increase independence of the people we support. They enable care services or relatives to provide remote support and there are some great pieces that can be easily introduced (where needed) including:

  • Tech enabled heating devices, such as Hive or Nest, which allow people to control their heating from a device. These systems can reduce the risk of falls for people that are prone to falling as they won’t have to mobilise to the thermostat so often, if at all.

Devices like these also allow family members or the care service to ensure that properties are heated appropriately and some allow the option to set up schedules. These devices are also great for people living with memory loss that may forget to turn on/off their heating, thus reducing the risk of de-hydration or hypothermia. 

  • Smart hubs and adapters like Amazon Echo, Google Nest etc which have the potential to turn any home or service into a smart one where people can activate devices with the use of their voice such as lighting, news and weather updates, radio etc.
  • Telecare monitoring services that offer remote support to people living in their own homes. The most well known device is the personal alarm where people can push a button for help and it alerts either the care home team or if someone is living in their own home, it notifies a responder of choice. Telecare also includes:
    • Falls detectors, worn on the wrist or via a pendant. 
    • Bed sensors to detect seizures.
    • Occupancy sensors to notify if someone has been out of a bed or chair for too long.
    • Location GPS detectors for people that are at risk of wandering or getting lost

There are plenty of other options to consider from the amazing world of technology. So we should all bear in mind how much digitalisation within care services supports the role of delivering and receiving care. Remember, look at the people you’re serving or the issue you are facing, and think of the ways that technology can enhance their wellbeing/ or resolve the issues you face each day.  

As always, I am more than happy for anyone to contact me via Twitter or LinkedIn if they have any questions or want to have a conversation about technology and digitisation.