The last two years have seen accelerated change and innovation in housing services, bringing into sharp focus the importance of technology and data, as well as a greater requirement for the consolidation of information and insight.
If we are to fully harness the opportunities presented by digital, we must understand the crucial role of technology in innovating housing services and the care available for vulnerable tenants. The government’s vision for greater digitalisation is featured heavily in the People at the Heart of Care: Adult Social Care reform (opens new window) White Paper, as this recognition for the need for change was also drawn attention to in the Technology for our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation report, launched in October 2021
Wider digital transformation and the application of data analytics is now seen as vital to the smarter management of operations, allocation of resources, collaboration across teams and services, and ultimately better delivery of care.
Shaping our services through technology
We must strategize for the future and shift our mission to champion cutting edge yet robust, rather than knee jerk, solutions. Deploying disruptive technologies will enable us to deliver changes, and innovate from both a people and process perspective.
As the UK moves to a digital communications network, Lincolnshire Housing Partnership (LHP) has been working to understand the impact on its equipment, services and customers, and evaluate the options available.
According to John O’Hanrahan, customer service centre manager at LHP:
“Technology enabled care services play a major part in how LHP delivers excellent services for all stakeholders. Using technology has helped us to shape our service to become more agile and maximise the opportunities presented by the digital future for both our tenants and colleagues.”
Using cutting edge technology
A nursing home in Halifax avoided cases of Covid-19 during the pandemic, thanks to a revolutionary nurse call system. Park View Care Home had innovative wireless technology installed in the building supplied by Tunstall Healthcare (opens new window).
The ‘Tunstall Carecom™ care assist system’ installed in 2019, allowed Park View enabled care to be delivered in exclusive bubbles, and automatically and discreetly notified staff if a resident needed assistance. Staff were split into three teams and allocated to care for specific residents, reducing the risk of cross infection and enabling residents to be cared for whilst isolating if required.
The technology, unlike traditional systems which rely on fixed call points, minimises disruption during installation and improves communication between staff and residents. The system also allows care to become person-centred, rather than room-centred, as residents each have their own sensors according to their needs, which can be activated from anywhere in the home, making care much more flexible and efficient. The system supports a less restrictive approach, as the technology manages risks that may otherwise require residents’ movements to be limited for safety reasons, such as falls.
During the pandemic, the technology supported 10 staff members to move into the home full time and isolate to ensure round the clock monitoring of residents, alongside different areas of the building being sectioned off while still delivering a normal level of care.
Investing time in exploring emerging technology is key in enabling us to set the technical direction of housing services and their development. Currently we’re looking at advanced AI in combination with technology which will support better detection of whether someone’s health could be about to deteriorate. New technology will take data from multiple sources and provide a clear picture of the risks someone faces, enabling us to develop a model of health and care which is proactive and predictive, rather than reactive.
Over the next five years we’re going to see both the technology industry, but also housing, experience massive disruption, and solutions will be revolutionised. Through future gazing and exploring key areas to innovate, we can drive the abilities of our services to ensure the future of technology within the digital health and care space and become better able to serve people in a fast-changing world.
The digital transition
The digital transition is impacting how a huge range of health and care services and solutions are delivered. In the UK, the Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) that currently powers landline telephones and provides millions of vulnerable users with assistive technology will cease in 2025. UK phone lines will switch to voice over internet protocol (VoIP).
Integration and investment in technology is key to reconfiguring and innovating our services, and ensuring that service providers and tenants can withstand and adapt to changes that are generated in the coming years.
Tunstall works with social care providers, healthcare services, housing and retirement living providers and charities in 19 countries, improving the lives of more than five million people, including those living with dementia, learning disabilities, physical disabilities and long-term health conditions. For more information, please visit www.tunstall.co.uk (opens new window).
And, if you found this blog of interest, do have a look at the dedicated pages on technology curated by the Housing LIN. We are also excited to host a HAPPI Hour session with Tunstall on 5 July to explore these issues further in the context of the Adult Social Care White Paper.