Tag Archives: Click Guide to Digital Technology for Adult Social Care

Why we need a long term care revolution

It is time to take long term care out of the shadows and promote a public debate about the care and support we aspire to in later life rather than  accepting the current institutional models which offer so little choice and control for older citizens. The publication of Key to Care @PaulBurstow  supported by @LGiU is a timely reminder of the challenges confronting the care sector  and I welcome the mention of the need for service design and investing in technology.

I am one of the much maligned baby boomers being blamed by politicians and the media for not being responsible in planning for later life. The obvious question is what exactly I should be planning for  – being warehoused in an institution which may strip me of my dignity, pride and independence?

A blueprint for the redesign of long term care does not yet exist and we lack an overarching vision about how we want our care and support in later life to be provided beyond the institutional model. What are the levers of influence when social care is so complex and fragmented?

I believe our biggest challenge is  bringing  together all the sectors with an interest in improving the quality of later life for older citizens. As an example this includes: NHS health and care sectors, care providers, housing associations, emergency services, the wider social sector, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Kings Fund and many other think tanks, Care Quality Commission, Telecare providers, Independent Age, International Longevity Centre , Age UK, CarersUK, Design Council, Innovate UK, Nesta, Big Lottery and Nominet Trust who fund social technology projects, Centre for Ageing, universities, technology innovators, different Government Depts: Health, Communities and Local Government, Work and Pensions, Cabinet Office, Business, Innovation & Skills, Innovation Labs and Impact Labs across the UK. (I should add that this is only a small sample of the organisations involved in this area!)

I wonder if all of these bodies have ever sat down together to explore more effective collaborations and how to avoid duplication of effort and resources in basically tackling the same problems?

An honourable mention for  how technologies from other sectors and industries could help address the seemingly intractable problems about  supporting citizens in later life.

There seems to be a gulf between thinking and doing as organisations are unable to turn ideas into actions. Is this because there are so many stakeholders with their own perspectives and priorities sometimes struggling to survive in a competitive funding environment? .

Last week I launched my Long Term Care Revolution Provocation Paper commissioned by Innovate UK to provide an independent perspective about the challenges of developing radically different models of care which will meet the needs and aspirations of older citizens in later life.

 

With many thanks to Paul Taylor  for developing the presentation

If long term care is not fit for purpose how can we revolutionise the system or do we accept that the system is not the best but it is slowly changing and we need to give it time?

The “Ageing” sector is a complex multi million pound industry involving hundreds of organisations and millions of potential beneficiaries. From the @BigLotteryFund £82 million Ageing Better investment to the £50 million being spent creating the new Centre for Ageing Better why has there been so much reluctance to embrace new models of care for older citizens? There are a proliferation of partnerships and alliances exploring this agenda and how to embed social innovation in long term care. It is unclear how they are collaborating to provide a UK overview. Critical messages get lost in the plethora of reports and which often appear to be covering similar areas of concern such as isolation, loneliness. digital participation and the value of older citizens.

The reality is that person centred care will translate from words into everyday reality when we focus on the older citizen and are able to answer the simple questions “what will improve the quality of your life?” and “what care would you like to support you to live a fulfilling life?”

Our ageing population represent a victory for better nutrition, better housing, and the welfare state. People in later life offer wisdom, experience, perspective and a wide range of skill sets and capacities. Why are we not utilising the wealth of knowledge and experience of older people to develop and deliver community services that meet their needs?

We need a cultural mindshift which challenges the idea of older citizens being  “objects of charity” rather than active consumers

How do we change the narrative and think about a future where people look forward to later life with a wide range of choices to live a fulfilling life which is not dependent on health, locality or relationships?

Strangely people aged sixty plus are not one homogeneous group, we are as varied as individuals in any other sector of the population and our different life experiences inform our perspectives as consumers. Older people may have similar needs physically but these do not erase life experiences, preferences and orientations. Older people is not an identity but a statistical category

The budget deficit in health and care seems to have become a race to cut costs and shift responsibilities and places little value on the quality of life of the citizen  requiring long term care. Organisations with a focus on systems and processes are still negotiating block contracts for care services. Services are not being tailored to meet the personal needs, hopes and aspirations of older citizens. There appears to be a focus on medicalising later life care which ignores the health risks associated with loneliness and social exclusion amongst older citizens.

Our society has advanced in all aspects of life socially, medically, economically, technologically, environmentally. These advances have substantially redefined how we live our lives on a daily basis, how we travel (space, air, sea and land), how we communicate, how we work, how we manage our finances, how and what we buy, how we experience leisure and entertainment, and how we educate ourselves.  Yet the institutional principles which form the basis of long term care provision remains completely unaffected by such changes and have failed to develop in-step with these advances.

How do we make organisations culturally ready for moving from institutional thinking to person centred care which recognises how the adoption of digital technology can enhance the care and support available within communities? Digital does not have to mean no human contact. What it can do is free up the time for more face to face contact.

A gentle reminder that baby boomers expectations and aspirations have been shaped by:

1953 Francis Crick and James Watson discovering the structure of DNA.

1963 Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his historic “I Have a Dream” speech

1993 work on the Human Genome Project started

1969 Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to set foot on the moon

1971 Launch of the Open University

1973 Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon is released

1998 Google founded

1998 Launch of Apple iMac

2001  Launch of Wikipedia and the first Apple iPod..

2004 Facebook is founded

2006 Twitter was created

A serious question has to be asked about why the NHS and Social Care sectors who currently commission the majority of long term care have been so slow to develop a culture which promotes innovation. Market shaping exercises seem to assume the ‘status quo’ will continue indefinitely which is confirmed by the number of care providers now building new and larger care homes.

It is worth mentioning that my @nominettrust Provocation Paper published in 2013 highlighted how online innovations can enhance social care. Disappointingly I have seen very little mention of this in the Better Care Fund plans and the Care Act implementation.  Frankly I am astounded at the disconnect between what policy makers and care providers think is required in later life and how I see my my future which includes:

Robots as companions: Are we ready? @ManeeshJuneja

“I’d prefer a robot companion to 15 minutes of care by a worker on minimum wage struggling to provide quality care on a zero hour contract.“

Mobility is often a challenge for older citizens. Apart from decent and affordable public transport how could driverless cars keep people connected with their family, friends and the community?

Living choice for older citizens are influenced by standards, regulations, the design of new housing and lifetime homes. What are the options for retrofitting of existing housing stock; shared lives and co-housing. How can we support inclusive communities and neighbourhoods through urban design and planning?Where is the thinking across social care, health and housing about the importance of smart technology enabled homes

There are tough and uncomfortable questions to be discussed to inform the debate about how we can all look forward to a future without fear of being abandoned to a market where vital care and support is determined by our income and locality rather than our needs and personal preferences. We have to address the potential shortfall in both formal and informal carers in the future with more people living on their own who do not have families to support them.

I want a clear vision for the future which offers a coordinated system with many different life choices for citizens in later life. This is not just the responsibility of one sector it needs to engage each and every one of us at local, national and UK wide levels in a public debate about our hopes and aspirations for care in later life.

A substantial number of reports, research and articles informed the development of the Provocation Paper and I will be providing a follow up post which details the background reading.

My personal thanks to @MarkOneinFour  @Trinigyal44 @clarkmike @PaulBromford @ManeeshJuneja whose thinking and generous contributions as critical friends informed the development of the Provocation Paper. 

Keep connected with the debate!

Follow #LTCRevolution on Twitter for the latest debates.

Updated social media analytics and transcripts are available via Symplur @healthhashtags

@clarkmike covered the launch of the Long Term Care Revolution National Launch in the November TelecareLin newsletter.

@PaulBromford calls for radically different views of age and skills in his post A Revolution in Care Requires a Revolution in Thinking

The new Radio 4 series The Invisible Age is looking at the issue of sixty plus age groups encompassing several generations and how we as a society regard older citizens. The recent You and Yours programme asked the question ‘do people treat you differently once you’re over 60’. I was invited to discuss with Winifred Robinson our attitudes to ageing, whether people are ignoring ageing issues and why we need a long term care revolution.

 

The most powerful need we humans have is to be connected and to remain connected. Social media provides unrivalled opportunities for all of us to contribute to the long term care debate. I would love you to add thoughts, comments and share your dreams about the choices you would like in later life!

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#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.

Connected Care Camp survey – what are the priorities?

Connected Care Camp on the 7th December is bringing together front line staff, managers, people who use health and care services as well as carers to explore how we can improve the wider care sector including housing.

Connected Care Camp is part of the Public Service Launchpad a new programme to help passionate people who work either paid or unpaid in all kinds of public services – whether in local government, housing associations, health services, the third sector, social enterprises or elsewhere to develop ideas to solve the problems that they encounter every day. Ideas can involve small changes or radical redesign of services.

Not everyone can attend this one-off event in person but you can join in on Twitter using the hashtag #psicare.

We know what many of the problems are, many are making headlines on a daily basis so we are looking for solutions that work and that can scale. We need a clearer vision of what works and who could benefit so that we can optimise the skills and resources we currently have. This includes decommissioning services that are not effective.

In a fragmented health and care system we need to be clear about who has responsibilities for action, how organisations and communities can be more effective and how health, care and housing can be better co-ordinated around people who could benefit.

To help us organise the day and better engage the wider community via social media we would welcome your responses to our survey.

Click here to take the survey

Find out more about Connected Care Camp and book your place here

Welcome to the Connected Care Camp on 7th December 2013 #psicare

“The role for many public service organisations is to actively mainstream the innovation that is already out there. There are loads of innovators and entrepreneurs who just need a route to market. Some of them may already be employed by you.” Paul Taylor Innovation Coach Bromford speaking on the Disruptive Social Care podcast May 2013

Public Service Launchpad is a new programme to help passionate people who work either paid or unpaid in all kinds of public services – whether in local government, housing associations, health services, the third sector, social enterprises or elsewhere to develop ideas to solve the problems that they encounter every day. Ideas can involve small changes or radical redesign of services.

As part of the scholarship programme and to encourage wider participation across care the Connected Care Camp has been organised on Saturday 7th December from 10.00 – 4.30 in London.

We want to encourage front line staff, managers and people who use care services to come along and share experiences, wisdom and ideas about how we can improve care services.

Here are some of the problems we know about in the care sector

  • How can health and care services support people who are lonely and isolated – there’s a million of them
  • People struggle to find information, guidance and advice – how can we improve the systems?
  • How can we support more connected communities?
  • 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 support people with disabilities to live more independent and fulfilling lives?
  • Why don’t all hospitals and care homes have wi-fi and internet access?
  • How can we support staff, people who use care services, carers and volunteers to improve their digital skills and feel more confident using technology?
  • Why don’t care homes have video links to GPs and hospital doctors to avoid unnecessary visits and disruption?
  • How can digital technologies can give people more control of their care and support and make person centred care a reality?
  • How can  technology  help develop the local care market place?
  • How can digital technology  help to support carers & care networks?
  • 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 & products . How can technology  help us to address the rural premium?

Do you have any great ideas about how we can fix these and the many challenges confronting the care sector?

Do use #psicare to join in the Twitter discussions before and during the day.

Connected Care Camp Programme 

9.30 – 10.00 Registration

10.00 – 10.15 Welcome

10.15 – 10.45 Introductions

10.45 – 11.15 What could community care and support look like in the 21st Century? A wish list (small group discussion)

11.15 – 11.30 Break

11.30 – 12.00 Feedback and Discussion

12.00 – 1.00 What do we need to start doing, what do we need to stop doing and  what do we need to carry on doing?

1.00 – 1.45 Lunch

1.45  – 2.45 Choice of themed  sessions exploring opportunities for innovation

  • Community Connections
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Digital Inclusion
  • Residential Care and Housing with Support
  • Social Media workshop to develop confidence and share expertise about the use and potential of digital tools

2.45 – 3.45 Themed sessions repeated

3.45 – 4.15 Panel debate “Next Steps”

4.15 – 4.30 Closing Remarks

By the end of the day you will:

  • Have made at least 10 new contacts who are involved in the care, health,  housing and voluntary sectors
  • Shared emerging and good practice
  • Discussed and received feedback on your ideas
  • Learned about at least 20 current innovations across the care sector

It should be noted that the care sector is a complex and fragmented market and the adoption of new ideas is not easy and present many challenges.

A roundup of Connected Care Camp posts, resources and videos #psicare

#kentdigicare a milestone for connected care?

On the 12th July an exciting event took place in Sittingbourne Kent. 150 professionals and volunteers from care, health, housing, community services and the voluntary sector joined together with service users and carers to discuss how digital technology can enhance care services. They were joined online by people with an interest in social innovation for care from across the UK. The aim of the event was to explore how digital technology can help to improve the wellbeing of individuals who need care and support as well as their families and carers.To encourage social learning from the event we have gathered together all of the resources shared before, during and after the day.

#KentDigiCare was the first collaboration from the Connected Care Network. We are now in discussions with a number of organisations and further collaborations will be announced in the autumn.

Welcome to #kentdigicare @shirleyayres

Why I’m excited about #kentdigicare by @uk_james

Conference Programme via @KentSocialCare

Presentations

@dominiccampbell “Care in the Digital Age: The Use of Technology in Care 

Can online innovations enhance social care? Shirley Ayres 

Workshops To understand how social networks are now influencing innovations in  care the first workshops provided participants with the opportunity to find  out more about using social media and providing digital leadership. A big thank you to  all our  workshop facilitators who travelled from far and wide to support Kent Care in the Digital Age!

Social Media – The Basics @paulbromford

Social Media top tips for #kentdigicare from @clarkmike and @shirleyayres

The event was followed widely across the UK !  #kentdigicare a quick video summary thanks @ailinmartinez

Resources provided for the workshops

Monmouthshire County Council Social Media Guidance for staff and members

Bromford Group Social Media Guidelines

NHS Employers HR and Social Media Guidance

Engage: Digital and Social Media Engagement for the Police Service

Social Media 

The Public Sector Social Media Survey 2013 Infographic from Goss Interactive provides a snapshot of the public sector’s current use of social media on an organisational level.

20 Things They Never Told Us About Going Social – Paul Taylor

Seven Twitter mistakes we all have to make – Helen Reynolds

Social Media Playbook – ELOQUA

Twitter in 15 minutes A beginners guide by @besttechguyever  Facebook 101 for health and care organisations@claireOT

Social Media in Mental Health Practice @VictoriaBetton

The Click Guide to Digital Technology for Adult Social Care

An archive of all the Live Stream recordings made during the day by @johnpopham is available to watch on YouTube 

The tweets were storified thanks to @clarkmike

#KENTDIGICARE – 12 JULY 2012 (WITH IMAGES, TWEETS) · CLARKMIKE

#KentDigiCare – the discussions continue – 15 July 2013 (with tweet)… 

You can still join in the discussions and share resources via the #KentDigiCare hashtag on Twitter.

#KentDigiCare Symplur Analytics Headline Numbers: over 2,643,755 impressions, 194 people participated online and an average 46 tweets per hour.

Blogs

My first blog post! Care in the Digital Age Reflections @TeresaTinsel

#KentDigiCare – a giant leap for Social Movements @whoseshoes

Mindings and Care in the Digital Age @MindingsStu

What did we achieve?

Every participant to make at least five new connections, learn about five new technology innovations that will enhance care in their communities and taking  learning points to share with colleagues in the workplace and community connectors and builders.

Conclusions

“The Kent Care in the Digital Age event created a fantastic environment for engagement, improving understanding and furthering discussion about how  professionals can widen their understanding of the digital opportunities that exist.  We need to understand  how technology can support people to connect with their communities, provide tools for family carers and professional staff and  importantly put people in more control of their own lives. One of the key messages coming through from #kentdigicare was that we need to support people, whenever possible, to use the technology themselves to complement more “traditional”health and social care support. It’s time for health and social care to catch up and enter the digital age.” James Lampert Commissioning Manager Kent County Council @uk_james

Welcome to #kentdigicare

smwldn images The Kent Care in the Digital Age conference on July 12th is bringing together 150 staff, volunteers, service users, carers, innovators and care providers to explore how digital technology can enhance community care and support. The event is fully booked with a waiting list but we hope many more people will be involved through watching the live stream from 9am and joining in the conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #kentdigicare.

Programme

9.00 – 9.30 Registration

9.30   Welcome Shirley Ayres Founder Connected Care Network @shirleyayres

9.30 – 9.40 A vision for Connected Care in Kent – Dr Robert Stewart Clinical Lead Kent County Council

9.40  – 10.10 The Benefits of Supporting Care Innovations – Dominic Campbell Founder and Director FutureGov @dominiccampbell 

10.10 – 10.25 Can online innovations enhance social care? – Shirley Ayres

10.25 -11.15 Choice of Practical Workshops to develop confidence and share expertise about the use of digital tools with practical advice about how to get started or improve your social media and networking skills.

  • Social  Media Basics “How to” engage with social media and what are the benefits? – Paul Taylor Bromford Group @paulbromford
  • Developing a strategic approach to social media  – James Lampert Commissioning Manager Kent CC @uk_james and James Souttar Co-founder Connected Care Network
  •  Advanced Social Media Masterclass – Mike Clark Managing Editor Telecare Learning and Improvement Network @clarkmike and Shirley Ayres Connected Care Network

11.15 – 11.45 Break

11.45 – 12.30 Choice of themed workshops bringing participants and innovators together to explore how technology is supporting people to live more independently, manage their health & wellbeing, make social connections, combat isolation and volunteer online.

  • Community Connections
  •  eMental Health
  • Patient and User Engagement
  •  Digital Inclusion
  •  Supporting Carers and Families
  •  Online Volunteering and Timebanking
  •  Residential Care and Supported Housing
  •  Online Marketplaces

12.30 – 1.45 Lunch and Innovators Showcase with live demonstrations

1.45 – 2.30 Themed workshops repeated

2.30 – 3.00 Plenary with feedback from the workshops facilitated by James Souttar Co-founder Connected Care Network

3.00 – 3.30 Break and Innovators Showcase

3.30 – 4.15 “The Future for Personalisation? Service users, carers and digital engagement” Interactive panel debate with questions invited from the audience and through Twitter Chair Shirley Ayres

4.15 – 4.30 Closing Remarks Dr Robert Stewart

Digital technology and care – how do we promote more connected thinking?

The care my parents received in later life was important to me, my family and our friends.I know how much they would have enjoyed finding out about and using digital technology!

I was reminded of this when reading over 65 papers produced by more than 30 organisations exploring ageing, innovation, digital technology and access to information and resources. There is so much potential for digital technology to enable people to make new connections, contribute to person-centred support, develop community networks and new models of care so an obvious question is what is stopping more widespread adoption?

There is no shortage of innovations in digital technology and millions of pounds are being spent supporting further developments. It is less clear about the application, impact and usage of these innovations. One problem is the limited awareness in the sector and amongst the public about what is available and it’s value. I believe that a big deficit is the lack of a strategic approach to embedding digital technology in the range of options to support people to live more fulfilling lives. Most days I am answering questions about suitable technology products and services.(Sadly this is  not a service I am funded to provide so inevitably help is limited by my availability). A major reason why I produced the Click Guide to Digital Technology for Adult Social Care is to forge connections across a seemingly disparate sector which ranges from entrepreneurs, practitioners,  commissioners and self funding customers.

I welcome the Ageing and Innovation programme being developed by Nesta with a focus on innovating across our social institutions. The Living Map of Ageing Innovations highlights many interesting innovations.  #5hrsaday

Sharpening the Care Diamond by Matthew Taylor Chief Executive of the RSA  explores society’s capacity for providing care which comprises the market, the state, close family and the wider community.

David Wilcox and his team have been asking challenging questions in the Nominet Trust exploration  into using technology later in life “We know lots about innovation, digital tech & #socialcare now who will make it useful?” #dtlater

I recommend reading the inspiring approach developed by the Asset Based Community Development  Institute which focus on developing new ideas and strategies which are not needs based and funding-led, but instead use assets more effectively and promote citizen led initiatives. A recent discussion with Cormac Russell a faculty member of the ABCD Institute confirmed the importance of supporting  communities to actively engage in a democratic and inclusive way in co-producing stronger, safer and healthier neighbourhoods.

It is definitely worth following the Kings Fund Time to Think Differently programme aimed at stimulating debate about the changes needed for the NHS and social care to meet the challenges of the future. Excellent infographics and an analysis of future trends. #kfthink

These and many other initiatives are ensuring that technology acts as an enabler; exploring how community support can be developed;  promoting the user perspective in developing technologies and enabling people to live well with long term conditions. But I am most aware that there is a real need to encourage more strategic thinking which promotes collaboration and connected strategies. It is also essential that we can provide evidence of impact and outcomes in the use of digital technology. There are a lot of sceptics to be convinced! Individuals and organisations  need to have confidence in the products and services being provided by digital technology. Whilst many health technologies are possibly over evaluated much of the digital technology being developed for care is under evaluated.

I am concerned about potential duplication with the number of age and innovation projects currently underway. There does seem to be a lack of collaboration amongst organisations, researchers and innovators. How can we encourage the sharing of resources in ways that are discoverable for people requiring care and support, their family and friends and service commissioners?

There are a number of challenges. The care sector is complex and fragmented with a seemingly narrow focus on residential and home care. For me wellbeing comprises all of the services which make each of us feel safe, secure and supported in our community whatever our age or personal circumstances. I really hope the Health and Wellbeing Boards will be a catalyst for connecting key players in local communities  which includes  social services, health, housing, education, leisure services, the police, economic regeneration, charities and social enterprises , private providers and of course the purchasers and recipients of services.

We need to think differently  about how care is provided and there is a critical role for community development in  identifying and supporting  community builders and connectors  who may not be involved with any of the organisations represented on the Health and Wellbeing Boards.

In my paper for the Nominet Trust “Can online innovations enhance social care?” I suggest we explore the potential for developing a Community Wellbeing and Social Technology Innovation Hub. There are many organisations thinking about how care can be delivered more effectively with a focus on the needs and aspirations of the individual requiring support. I believe we need to develop a coherent and independent voice which will facilitate connections and challenge silo thinking amongst the hundreds of potentially competing stakeholders with an interest in this area. Mapping networks and community hubs would be a good start. We also urgently need to create a better shared understanding of technology innovations, the benefits and the limitations.

Just imagine if there was one trusted source where you could access the latest information about care and support innovations, get advice about selecting hardware and choosing apps, find support to get and stay online and understand which organisations are funding, researching and promoting digital technology across the wider care sector.

The way forward?

Convene a roundtable for all the funders of digital technology to explore   collaboration, sharing practice and a common approach to evaluating and promoting the outcomes and impacts of their investment.

Provide signposts which enable care recipients, their families and carers to find out what technology products and services are available, both through statutory services or to purchase independently.

Create, promote and participate in events that showcase innovations in care which could be adopted by local authorities, the NHS and housing providers.

Map all of the digital community hubs (however defined) which are available to ensure that people have access to local resources.  This would also identify areas where there is currently no support available.

Benchmark levels of awareness about technology innovations across the care sector and work with key players to promote and share the benefits of innovation.

I welcome your thoughts and ideas here or through Twitter @shirleyayres using the hashtag #deukcare

Available now! The Click Guide to Digital Technology for Adult Care

“technology supports the development of solutions that are tailored and accessible to individuals while also enabling their wide distribution at significantly lower cost than traditional services” Annika Small Nominet Trust

“My (printed) copy arrived this morning. Very well researched and informative. Well done Shirley – and thank you for mentioning new electronic version of Whose Shoes? – aligned to TLAP’s ‘Making It Real’. Planning launch programme with TLAP next week! :)”   Gill Phillips @WhoseShoes

All the information you need in one place

Whether you work in the public, private or not-for-profit sectors (or are a carer or use services), digital technology is transforming the way care services are delivered. It will not, of course, ever 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 among groups of people who share similar interests and concerns.

The Click Guide to Digital Technology for Adult Social Care has been developed to help professionals, carers and service users make use of the fantastic resources which are already available across the whole spectrum of needs in adult social care today. We believe it is important to bring all of this information together in a single place. The Guide lists more than a hundred resources, spanning the areas of care, health and housing.

The Click Guide to Digital Technology for Adult Social Care can be downloaded instantly as  an eBook at a cost of £3-99 or ordered as a hard copy printed publication.

NB: If you are using a computer you will need the free Adobe Digital programme.  Clicking on the downloaded book should prompt you to install this if you do not have it already.  On a tablet you need to identify the correct app for reading an epub (on an iPad this is iBooks). If you still cannot open the book we advise you to contact the Lulu technical support team

Contact us to find out about the discounts available for bulk orders of the printed publication.

Coming soon! The Click Guide to Digital Technology for Adult Social Care

All the information you need in one place

Whether you work in the public, private or not-for-profit sectors (or are a carer or use services), digital technology is transforming the way care services are delivered. It will not, of course, ever replace human contact, kindness, empathy and understanding. But it does allow people to connect in different ways, quickly and easily. And digital technology and social networks provide some of the most powerful tools available today for building a sense of belonging, support and sharing among groups of people who share similar interests and concerns.

The Click Guide to Digital Technology for Adult Social Care has been developed to help professionals, carers and service users make use of the fantastic resources which are already available across the whole spectrum of needs in adult social care today. We believe it is important to bring all of this information together in a single place. The Guide lists more than a hundred resources, spanning the areas of care, health and housing.

Due for publication February 2013 The Click Guide to Digital Technology for Adult Social Care can be downloaded as an eBook at a cost of £3-99 or as a hard copy printed publication (price to be confirmed).