Tag Archives: Care in the digital age

How can digital technology help a person living with multiple sclerosis?

Such a simple, obvious and wise statement – it would be so exciting if every individual offered a personal health or care budget was able to access a digital care navigator. Sadly the social sector (including health, care and charities) have not yet managed to bridge the gap between the rhetoric of digital transformation and the everyday experiences and reality for citizens..

I was recently asked for advice about how digital technology could help  a person with late onset multiple sclerosis deteriorating rapidly. She loved crafts, needlework painting etc but is losing use of her hands.  She has a laptop but using the mouse is getting tricky.

It emphasised for me how important it is for people to be aware of, and able to access, online resources to support independent living and #ageingbetter so I thought it would be helpful to share resources.

It is definitely worth contacting AbilityNet a small and impressive UK charity helping disabled adults and children use computers and the internet by adapting and adjusting their technology. They provide a range of factsheets and advice and information services.

@AbilityNet run the inspiring @Tech4GoodAwards which celebrate the people and technology making the world a better place. 2016 finalists will be announced on the 8th June!

AbilityNet have been shortlisted as Digital Charity of the Year 2016 by Digital Leaders 100. The winners will be chosen by a public vote and you can vote for them now on the Digital Leaders website and help spread the message about the amazing way that technology can transform the lives of disabled and older people.

[Declaration of interest: I have a real fondness for small charities with a big vision who know how to be creative and deliver results with limited funds!]

A helpful post on using a computer if you have tremors

UCanDoIT is a charity that teaches IT skills to people with disabilities on a one to one basis in their own homes. @ucdit

Another site with useful information about technology and disability

(and I am sure there are many more to be added!)

Tips and tricks for folks with Multiple Sclerosis (Microsoft 365)

From gaming system to medical breakthrough: How Microsoft and Novartis created Assess MS

Touchscreens such as iPads are tactile, versatile and very simple to use and the apps make it easy to play accessible games, which help memory, agility and interaction. iPads can be used for all manner of activities such as games, apps, accessing websites and playing music and video.

However before buying any apps it is always worth reading the reviews, checking compatibility requirements with laptop/tablet being used  and whether the app is really free or being offered as a subscription model!

Some fun interactive apps

Pigment (free to download but with a Premium Access paid subscription) allows you to colour as you would on paper with actual colored pencils. Choose from 350+ hand curated, professionally drawn illustrations, 8 different kinds of pencils, markers and brushes, and an unlimited number of colors to choose from. Completed artwork can be friends and family.

Painterly £1.49) allows you to create beautiful evocative pictures even if you do not have advanced drawing skills or formal art training Allows for painting with more than 60 virtual brushes, as well as importing photos and then painting them

List of googled needlework apps for iPad (not my specialist area does anyone have any recommendations?)

Games

Imutt (free but charity will invite a donation) This game from the Dogs Trust allows users to look after an impossibly cute virtual rescue dog for five days. Perfect and no need to walk in bad weather!

FlowerGarden (free with further in-app purchases) allows you to pick virtual seeds, plant them, water them and watch them grow. This is especially significant for participants who used to enjoy growing plants and are missing their former gardens.

An honourable mention for the informative @AXSChat which runs the informative weekly #AXSchat discussing accessibility & inclusion in business on the web & beyond.

I have reached out to the Multiple Sclerosis charities for advice and will update this post  when I receive responses.

I met Paul Smyth Head of IT Accessibility at Barclays Bank recently and was very impressed by his thoughtful and measured approach to accessibility and inclusive technology. I recommend listening to his interview.

It is so obvious really that digital technology can make all the difference to the quality of life for people living with disabilities and why I believe it is so important to make #connectedcare a reality.

Obviously this post is only a snapshot of available resources (I am not a assitive technology specialist but I work with companies excited to use technology to improve their services).

And I am always very aware that what digital technology offers are endless possibilities to make person-focused care a reality. 

I welcome your thoughts about resources you have found helpful. please add to the comments section below or share with me via Twitter @shirleyayres

 

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Social media and social care – thoughts for #becomingvibrance

Today I am giving a presentation at the Vibrance staff conference which is celebrating 25 years of supporting people who are disabled to lead their lives as they wish and to challenge barriers that prevent individual choice and fulfilment. You can follow the event on Twitter  @Vibrance2013 

It is always interesting developing a presentation for an unknown audience some of whom may be very confident using social media and others yet to be convinced that it has any value in their day to day lives. There is just so much to share and a post can only provide a snapshot of my thoughts and all the resources available online.

I love discussing the role and impact of digital with front line staff and people who use care services. For me the #Socialnomics 2014 video by Erik Qualman answers a frequently question asked about why people should take social media seriously.

Source data for the statistics in the video is available in the bookSocialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business

Facebook has 1.3 billion accounts

YouTube has 1 billion users and 4 billion view a day

Twitter has 243 million monthly active users

Linkedin has 300 million accounts

Instagram has 200 million users

Source: Digital Marketing Ramblings March 2014

The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 year old age bracket. 189 million users of Facebook are only using mobile devices and 25% of smartphone owners aged 18–44 say they can’t recall the last time their smartphone was not next to them.

Digital technology has already changed our lives drastically in the last 10 years, from the way we shop, the way we communicate, the way we find information and even the way we find love. Social networks provide some of the most powerful tools available today for building a sense of belonging, support and sharing. Technology is redefining how care and support is provided in a digitally connected society and the new @LinkMeUp_UK  website is a great example of this

However one of our biggest challenges is the need a major cultural shift which recognises the role of technology in shaping services which are focused around an individual’s needs and aspirations.

Can online innovation enhance social care? As I found out when I was researching my paper for the Nominet Trust the simple answer is yes!

Information is freely shared through social media. For example Netbuddy encourages the swapping practical tips and information on all aspects of supporting people with learning disabilities @netbuddytoptips

 Enabled by Design is a community of people who are passionate about well-designed, everyday products that challenge the one-size-fits-all approach to assistive equipment. Enabled by Design encourages people to share their views and experiences of assistive equipment and post information, reviews and comments. @enabledby

Gig  Buddies links music fans who have a learning disability with other music lovers.  I really like their social media policy written impressively in less than 140 characters. “Stay Up Late actively embraces social media, staff  are asked to engage, experiment, be relevant and take responsibility.”

Care and support in the 21st century requires much more connected thinking across care services, health, housing, education and employment. Technology and social media can help make this happen.

The true value of digital technology really lies in solving a problem, or otherwise helping to improve the quality of our lives. One of the simplest needs  is the ability to stay in touch with family and friends. Digital technology opens up options and enables that contact to be much more immediate. Introducing people to the concept of emails, picture sharing, social networking, and online video calls, such as Skype has many benefits.

This is especially important when families are widely dispersed and require a simple and easy way of keeping in touch and staying connected – whether they are living at home, in residential care, are in hospital or in different parts
of the world. Feeling connected and having supportive social relationships has a strong link to health and longevity. Encouraging wellbeing is an important social challenge facing society as a whole.

There is considerable debate about the role of digital technology in social care. Understandably there are concerns that the use of technology somehow depersonalises what is often a very personal service. I fully accept that technology is not a magic bullet to address all of the complex problems we are confronting as a society. Digital technology cannot and should not replace human contact, kindness, empathy and understanding. But it does allow people to connect in different ways, quickly and easily. Digital technology and social networks provide some of the most powerful tools available today for building a sense of belonging, support and sharing.

Is social media putting the “social” back into care? Have a look at the many care organisations who now have a Twitter presence including .

There are lots of resources online to help you use social media. The Twitter Help centre provides useful guidance and Mashable have produced the Twitter Guide Book.

Useful tips to guide you in developing your own personal social media policy have been produced by Paul Taylor @paulbromford.

 

Social media is an increasingly crowded space – some simple tools ( at least for me they are as a non techie!) to help you manage your online presence

 

Service users and carers rightly expect more autonomy and choice in how services are provided. Digital leadership, motivating staff and creating a culture where people are empowered to do things differently are crucial elements of good engagement.

As Professor Stephen Hawking said, when accepting his AbilityNet ‘Excellence in Accessibility Award’ at the Technology4Good awards September 2012: “Technology is a vital part of human existence. They show us that the right tools in the right hands can help everyone, regardless of our frailties, to achieve our true potential and advance as a civilisation.”

The way forward?

The digital revolution is about people, social networks and connections not the technology

Get the basics right – make it easy for people to connect with you.

Value and respond to feedback, complaints and suggestions to improve your services

An idea does not care who has it – share generously your knowledge, passions and links to resources you have found  useful, enjoyed reading or even just made you smile.

I hope you will be excited as me by the potential offered through social media to create communities of interest, make new connections, share information and resources and let people know about your work. I look forward to welcoming you to this wonderful and connected world!

The Connected Care Network

  • Nurtures innovative approaches to care and support and encourages collaboration and partnership to avoid unnecessary duplication.
  • Is an independent and authoritative voice which promotes investment in new models of care, supporting innovation, technology solutions and economic growth
  • Provides a range of services including the Care in a Digital Age programme, Critical Friend Reviews and support with developing Digital Engagement strategies
  • Published the first Click Guide to Digital Technology for Adult Care because there is a real gap in the market for connecting digital technology with the people and organizations who purchase care and support services. The Guide is now being updated to include another 100 resources.

Social conversations, social media and social good

You may have picked up that Mark Brown  Paul Taylor   and I are running an event on the 29th April in Central London. We are exploring “What can social media do to make social good better?”

 

What makes it special for me is that Mark, Paul and I come from very different backgrounds but we have a shared interest in how social media is defining care, support and community engagement both online and offline in the digital age. We are also exploring what it means to be a social business and the importance of seeing social media  as part of a core vision to transform your business rather than a marginal activity. 

We are delighted that we already received sponsorship for a place at the event which has been awarded to Alison Cameron @allyc375. If you  would like to sponsor a place at the event do get in touch!  We look forward to discussing the questions submitted by participants and via Twitter.

Whether you work in the public, private, charity or social enterprise sectors understanding the impact of social media for social good is now essential. We do hope you will join us on the 29th April for a very social conversation. You can follow the discussion on Twitter using the hahtag #socialconvo. Following the considerable interest in my post “Is social media putting the ‘social’ back into care” we particularly welcome people from the care sector interested  why “Social media is a fundamental shift in the way we communicate” .

Our conversations started when Stu Arnott @MindingsStu and I interviewed Mark and Paul for the Disruptive Social Care podcast. The podcasts have been downloaded thousands of times but just in case you missed these interviews…….

Mark Brown has been described as one of the smartest thinkers in the worlds of social media and mental health. Mark edits One in Four, England’s only national mental health and wellbeing magazine written by people who experience mental health difficulties. Mark is a director of Social Spider a community interest company helping people to make change happen. 

 

Paul Taylor specialises on Innovation, Service Design and Research
and Development at Bromford a social business providing homes and support to over 80,000 people. Paul leads the Innovation Lab and he is particularly interested in the development of preventative social solutions and the power of technology to connect people. Paul was a key part of the team who developed the Bromford Deal which aims to shift resources away from reactive interventions and into more person centred customer care and support.

 

We look forward to you joining us on the 29th April to be part of a very social conversation 

Can you help @Chill4usCarers?

 

 I have long been a supporter of the inspiring Wendy Maxwell (pictured) and Chill 4 Us Carers who provide a unique online community for carers which is run by carers all of whom contribute their time on a voluntary basis. The site has a 24-hour forum and chat room where members can post messages or reach out when they feel under pressure, there is an archive with games for members to play at all times of the day or night and issues can be discussed privately, without details being available to view online.

As Wendy says  “You can become a carer in an instant and when it happens to you, you can suddenly find yourself in a very difficult situation. You’ve got someone to look after who is ill, you need to find help and yet you’re stuck in your house. That’s when the internet can make all the difference.

“When you are a carer, it can be frightening and you can feel very alone – we are the only peer support group for carers in the UK and it’s vital that people have somewhere they can go to talk to other people: they may not have the chance to speak to anyone else at all, otherwise.”

Chill 4 Us Carers needs your help to survive because it is starved of funding. With hundreds of members across the country Wendy is passionate about bringing the outside world to those stuck inside four walls and has campaigned tirelessly to give computers to those who can’t afford them.

The innovative Computers for Carers scheme provides free laptops which are given to carers and offers a lifeline for those who need them most. Wendy is asking anyone who has a working laptop which they no longer need to donate it to the organisation so they can give it to a carer.

She is also hoping to raise the necessary £5,000 to turn Chill 4 Us into a registered charity which would make future fundraising and grant applications far simpler and is also looking towards a time when she could hand the reins to another member to run the sites. Charity status would mean the organisation could look to a future where a paid member of staff could run the site for a few hours every day, from home.

Read the full article here: Can you help to bring the outside world into the live of those unable to leave their home?

If you would like to make a donation, contact Wendy through the Chill 4 Us website or onTwitter or Facebook.

Can digital technology help make connected care a reality? #psicare

There are six Breakout sessions at Connected Care Camp being held on Saturday 7th December. Below is a brief list of some of the many online resources available. Using technology and thanks to @clarkmike we now have a Connected Care Mindmap with lots of resources to inform our discussions at the event.  if you have a resource you would like to add to the Mindmap please tweet a link to the relevant URL using #psicare

Social Isolation, Loneliness and the impact on health and wellbeing

Joseph Rowntree Foundation #Loneliness Resource Pack
How can we ensure a good quality of life for adults in residential care and housing with support. This means having a sense of purpose and full inclusion within the community with strong social contacts and mental stimulation.

 “ Residents reported being able to look at websites to do with their interests and hobbies, use internet shopping sites and communicate with family members, often overseas. Some had already noted beneficial impact on their carer’s ability to help manage their condition.”

Get Connected programme Social Care Institute for Excellence

Examples of how digital technology in empowering and supporting the health and wellbeing of individuals.

Information, advice and support across the care, health and housing sectors.

Connected Communities

How digital technology is supporting individuals to connect in different ways and live more independent and fulfilling lives within the community.

One of the simplest needs is the ability to stay in touch with family and friends who may be widely dispersed. There are a range of online tools available to address the practical tasks of co-ordinating the care and support of an individual.

Virtual, online and microvolunteering provide different ways for people to contribute to their communities online

Digital Literacy, Inclusion and the Barriers to Technology Adoption
Accessing and learning about the digital world can be a challenge for many groups in the UK.  Getting started on the internet – a brief guide
The challenges of Integrated Care

User and patient engagement and the personalisation of services

How can technology world encourage more patient and user engagement? Are public services signposting people to the many online support forums now available?

Follow Connected Care Camp and join in the discussions on Twitter using the hashtag #psicare

#psicare Connected Care Camp – what are your priorities?

On Saturday 7th December Connected Care Camp is bringing together professionals, people who use services, carers and volunteers from across the care, health, housing, community services and voluntary sectors to explore how innovative thinking and technology can improve the wellbeing of individuals who need care and support as well as their families and carers. Connected Care Camp is provided as part of the Hub Launchpad and FutureGov Public Sector Innovation programme.

Thanks to everyone who completed our online survey for Connected Care Camp. These problems will form the starting point for our discussions on the day as we consider a whole range of possible solutions guided by the considerable and diverse knowledge and experiences of participants.

We are not live streaming Connected Care Camp because most of the day will be taking place across six different breakout sessions but you can follow and contribute on Twitter using #psicare. We will be taking photos (with thanks to @tomsprints) and hopefully will be capturing highlights through some video interviews.

Snapshot of the responses

The problems identified from the online survey and discussions (NB: this is not an exhaustive list of all the care challenges confronting social care, health and housing sectors   )

Problems to be explored in the Breakout Sessions

1. Social Isolation and Loneliness

How can health and care services support people who are lonely and isolated?

How can we learn and share lessons from successes and failure across the wider care sector?

2. Information, Advice and Support 

People struggle to find information, guidance and advice – how can we improve the systems?

How can we support self-funders and help make their purchase of care services more effective? What are the implications of the Care Bill?

How can we learn and share lessons from successes and failure across the wider care sector?

3. Connected Communities

How can we support more connected communities?

How can we support people with disabilities to live more independent and fulfilling lives?

How can we encourage all hospitals and care homes to provide wi-fi and internet access and ensure that residents in care homes are less isolated?

How can digital technology help to support carers & care networks?

How can we find out who funds innovation in the care and health sectors?

How can we learn and share lessons from successes and failure across the wider care sector?

4. Digital Literacy, Inclusion and Technology Barriers

How can we support staff, people who use care services, carers and volunteers to improve their digital skills and feel more confident using technology?

How can we negotiate the internal barriers which stop the adoption of technology which will support people to live more independently?

How can we share innovations including digital technology and good practice across the wider care sector?

Are commissioners aware of the importance of continuing technical support when establishing technology projects?

How can technology help develop the local care market place?

How can we learn and share lessons from successes and failure across the wider care sector?

5. The challenges of Integrated Care

How can we ensure that integration is focused not on systems but on co-ordinating care and support around individual needs and aspirations?

Are there any alternatives to the 15 minute care visits?

How could doctors, nurses, social workers and support staff better coordinate care planning and visits?

How can we encourage care homes to have video links to GPs and hospital doctors to avoid unnecessary visits and disruption?

How can technology help to reduce unplanned or readmissions to hospitals and ensure effective discharges

There are particular challenges for people living in rural areas to access services & product. How can technology help us to address the rural premium?

How can we learn and share lessons from successes and failure across the wider care sector?

6. User and patient engagement and the personalisation of services

How can digital technologies give people more control of their care and support and make person-centered care a reality?

Are there practical ways in which we can implement effective preventative measures?

Can we make any connections with NHS Change Day?

How can we run an effective campaign in the care sector to challenge perceptions and change the conversations?

How can policymakers (e.g. Health and Wellbeing Boards) use social media to liaise with local people?

How can we learn and share lessons from successes and failure across the wider care sector?

What do you think the wider care sector should stop doing i.e. because it involves duplication or is not cost-effective? 

Endless assessments (that are not acted upon/shared) ‘buck passing’ between services

Evidencing everything – instead find intelligent ways to do this to support care staff – so they are not spending all there time working on paperwork rather than care.

Large scale system developments – these invariably seem to be expensive with dubious improvements in the quality of care and support

Transport and ignoring the wider community offer.

Commissioning separate services for a specific client group

Not sharing information between professionals working with one individual. There is a major cost to duplicating of collection of data, storing and not sharing.

The training of carers is not good enough and needs to be overhauled

Make medication reviews mandatory for older people every 3 months. This to be done by a pharmacist to avoid duplication, conflicts and unnecessary repeats

Using jargon

Spending money on high level conferences and developing top down national initiatives

In local government – let go.

Commissioning in blocks

Find different ways of dealing with falls – current call outs are very costly for Ambulance Trusts.

Practical ideas about where money should be spent

Prevention, Prevention, Prevention

Developing capacity at neighbourhood level and encouraging micro-commissioning via online service portals.

Identify mavens/community champions – the people who know things in the community and ask them how we can support them in what they do. Do not create systems or structures for them to work within – they are already ‘doing it’. It should be about public services supporting what already exists, not building new.

Increasing number of hospital support assistants so that older people can be offered regular fluids to avoid delayed hospital discharge because of urinary tract infection.

Training for those interviewing care staff  to ensure that those being cared for are not vulnerable to abuse.

Use data/info to focus approaches and look at effective discharges. Develop a new role for health and care mentors.

Develop voluntary connected care champions in every neighbourhood.

Carers want to support each other through sharing their experiences, carer to carer training and using technology. Carers are fearful of asking for help from local/public sector but carers and their skills are community assets and they should be given micro finance to support and help identify more carers. Technology and reciprocity schemes are important to carers too.

Joint commissioning and integrated services.

The challenges in the system are significant in terms of technology and the lack of specific transfers between key professionals. Still heavy reliance on faxes for example.

Increasing the digital skills of activities co-ordinators Raising awareness in care organisation about the importance of technology

Providing digital access is a major barrier for connecting care. User demand can only happen when you give people the plaform and the skills.

Encouraging cross sector collaboration. What can business do in terms of working with the providers and Local Authorities around preventative measures?  We need to acknowledge the ability to recruit talent and drive engagement for productivity is affected by factors outside the workplace.

Poll: Which organisation would you recommend to an older person seeking advice about care and support options?

One of the problems identified in online discussions and the Connected Care Camp survey is the struggle many individuals, their families and friends experience trying to find information, guidance and advice about care and support options. How can we improve the systems?

This quick poll aims to provide an indication of which organisations are recommended as useful resources.

[The answers are randomised and not in any particular order]

Connected Care Camp takes place on the 7th December 2013 and you can follow the discussions on Twitter via the hashtag #psicare

#psicare Can online innovations enhance social care?

The simple answer for me is yes whilst I accept that digital technology is not a “magic bullet” I do believe it is important that we explore the potential of  technology to create more personal support and care.

As Professor Stephen Hawking said, when accepting his AbilityNet ‘Excellence in Accessibility Award’ at the Technology4Good awards: “Technology is a vital part of human existence. They show us that the right tools in the right hands can help everyone, regardless of our frailties, to achieve our true potential and advance as a civilisation.”

The posts I have written for Nominet Trust exploring the issues:

Can online innovations enhance social care?

How online personal support networks can promote more integrated care

Why digital inclusion is important for care home residents

How digital technology is supporting people living with dementia

Celebrate & learn from the world’s most inspiring social technology  ventures. Featuring the 2013 Nominet Trust 100

Enjoy!