One of the important issues identified ahead of Connected Care Camp is that people struggle to find information, advice and support about care services both online and offline.
Certainly the web is much more complex than it was a few years ago and the Care “marketplace” is an increasingly crowded space that many find difficult to negotiate.
One of the Breakout sessions at #psicare discussed this problem and attempted to come up with some solutions.
Our initial look at the problem revealed the following:
There’s no a lack of information – Searching “advice for carers” gives about 16,400,000 results search results. But identifying trusted sources is an issue.
- Many people only look for information once they are at a point of crisis – which confuses the issue further as people frantically search for an immediate solution.
- People have difficulty identifying what a great care service looks like. There’s a need to share lessons from care successes and failures. In England the Care Quality Commission have an important role in sharing information.
So here are five possible solutions we came up with:
Make space for difficult conversations
The group accepted that making social care “sexy” is a challenge. We live is a society obsessed with denying the effects of ageing. We keep hearing 50 is the new 30, 70 the new 50.
Although we agreed the need for a huge culture shift on attitudes towards ageing – we also accepted we had to be realistic around the outcomes of a 60-minute workshop!
Suggested Solution: A campaign of awareness for public and professionals to start having proactive conversations around longer-term care needs. The starting point to be establishing much better communication between health, housing and care. Housing in particular was thought to have a key role.
If every professional was equipped with the right skills, technology and space to have a conversation – imagine how we could help people seeking care at the point of crisis?
Establish a principle of “The 5 Things I need to know”
In a free market the emergence of a “Tripadvisor” of Care might be wishful thinking.
But how about we establish the Top 5 things everyone should know to look for when they are looking at options? Available across care and related sectors including health and housing – this would also better support multi disciplinary specialists to give advice.
If it’s difficult to know what “good” really looks like let’s give people 5 things they should look for before anything else.
Map and connect locally available resources
The group felt that vital community hubs are underutilised as a way of enabling access to care information. There are scores of interest groups, informal community networks and clubs available in most localities that often exist under the radar of local authorities. Often run by volunteers they are the hidden networks where people seek informal advice and support from trusted advisors.
How can it be in 2013 that nobody can articulate how many of these actually exist? Surely technology – especially location based apps – can help us unlock this resource to help in the sharing of information and even to identify informal and potential carers.
Enable people in residential care to access digital tools
It remains a problem that many residential homes still do not have access to the most basic technology. Additionally most hospitals do not have publicly available WiFi – this is another barrier to stop people seeking out advice and support.
How can we expect and encourage people in residential care to suggest how their care can be improved when they are all too often excluded from the internet?
In a world where funding can go to all sorts of projects which struggle to articulate meaningful outcomes making digital technology available to the most socially excluded must be a priority.
Establish a more consistently understood and coherent way of care users engaging with services before, during and whilst receiving care services.
The group thought we were missing valuable insights from care givers and those receiving care about how they thought access to information and support could be improved.
It was felt there is no consistency for users in understanding when care services should be reviewed or appraised for instance
Linking to the “5 things you need to know about care” the group pondered how digital technology could help people comment on the service they receive and raise awareness of resources such as Patient Opinion, Care Opinion, NHS Choices and Your Care Home. Perhaps a personalised digital care plan – complete with alerts for family and friends could be used to connect services in one place and sharing updates to innovations like Mindings
One thing was very clear from our discussion:
We don’t need more information. We need better quality connected conversations.