Tag Archives: Disruptive Social Care

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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6 simple tools to enhance your social media presence

I am often asked about simple tools which will help with engagement, promotion and analysing the impact of using social media. The following tools offer  a basic free service and the option of paid for services to provide a more customised platform and detailed analysis. You may wish to include these recommendations when developing your digital engagement strategy. You will need a Twitter account to access these tools.

New to Twitter? A great introduction Twitter in 15 minutes A Beginners Guide by @BestTechGuyEver

Top tips on being social from #60yearsoflearning @PaulBromford

RebelMouse provides a quick and easy way for people to catch up on your latest news, posts and tweets. RebelMouse takes your social presence across the major networks and organizes it into what it calls a “beautiful, dynamic and social front page”. Twitter: @RebelMouse

My Rebelmouse front page

Vizify  “a picture is worth a thousand words” Vizify provides a personal website based on your social media profiles. Vizify creates a series of interactive infographics which provide your online visual biography. One of the most popular Vizify services is animating your Twitter profile as a short video. Twitter: @vizify

My Vizify Twitter video

Storify allows users to tell stories by collecting updates from social networks and creating stories or timelines using social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Twitter: @Storify

bit.ly is a URL shortening and bookmarking service which enables you to save, share , track and discover links from around the web. Today the post which has been shared most widely. Clicking  “view stats” provides real time information about who is clicking on your links. Twitter: @Bitly

Tweetreach allows you to find out how far your tweet has travelled, who is talking about it and how many people saw it. Use TweetReach to analyze recent Twitter activity about your hashtag or URL and get social analytics on reach, exposure, tweets and contributors.Twitter: @tweetreachapp

TweetChat is a way of having conversations in real-time using hashtags on Twitter. Particularly useful for tweet chats that include a specific hashtag to link those tweets together in a virtual conversation. Many conferences now have a hashtag to encourage wider engagement with the speakers and presentations. More informal Twitter chats can happen over a longer period of time when a group of people all tweet about the same topic using a hashtag.  Twitter: @TweetChat 

What is your favourite social media tool?

Further recommendations via Twitter (updated January 2014)

Pocket (formerly Read It Later)  When you find something you want to view later: text, video, images and other content put it in Pocket. Save items with one click. Save directly from your browser or from apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse and Zite. Twitter: @Pocket

Thanks to @TomSprints  for the recommendation

Is fragmented information a barrier to #connectedcare? guest post from @PaulBromford

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

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

One thing was very clear from our discussion:

We don’t need more information. We need better quality connected conversations.

 

 

 

 

Reflections on Connected Care Camp #psicare

First of all an introduction to the Connected Care Mindmap developed by @clarkmike. We have been identifying relevant resources over the past few months to share and give people a context for the problems identified through many online discussions and the Priorities for Care survey.

So much energy, thoughts and learning in one day and a lot of sharing resources through Twitter, videos & blog posts. A great post from @whatsthepont highlighting the benefits of collaboration  Open Data Age UK Cheshire, Fire & Rescue Service, Dementia Advisor. Odd one out?

For me many key problems centred around confusion about the role and responsibilities of the different care and health bodies. How does NHS England link with Healthwatch, the Care Quality Commission and the Health and Wellbeing Boards? What will be the impact of the £3.8 billion Better Care Fund and the Integration Pioneers?

Recommended viewing the excellent Alternative Guide to the NHS produced by the Kings Fund.

I would like to encourage @TheKingsFund to produce a similar Alternative Guide to Social Care I think many people would find this very helpful because the sector is so complex and fragmented!

There is a need for cultural change in health and care services which will enable innovations to be adopted and adapted more quickly. “We need to create the environment for difficult and challenging conversations” and with a huge funding gap looming this was seen as a priority. Despite the fact that social care is critical to support people mdischarged from hospital the sector is seen as the junior partner. This is not doubt influenced by the considerable discrepancy between health and care budgets and that health care is free at the point of delivery whilst social care is means tested. Changing the culture of organisations with the added pressures of public expectation about openness and transparency was seen as a major challenge. There are currently perverse incentives in the funding mechanisms and little encouragement to be brave and take risks in the redesign of services.

There was considerable discussion about how people can access information about existing resources both online and offline. There was a recognition that we need to tailor information channels to suit the different needs of individuals. An innovative proposal was the suggestion of developing guides to “the 5 things I need to know” across the wider care sector.

I was interested to learn that Health and Social Care West Midlands have created a site to to support health, social care and wellbeing leaders in the West Midlands to develop the more integrated services envisioned in the Health & Social Care Act 2012. Could this provide a template for more regional sites which provide access to relevant and timely resources? @hscwm

The importance of enabling people in residential care to access the internet and digital resources was recognised and there was some astonishment that we do not know how many care homes currently provide this for residents.

A consistent theme was the need to share both good practice and to learn lessons from what has not worked. there were many examples shared of how different organisations are supporting and connecting people to feel less isolated and more supported in their communities. It is worth reading the newly published Joseph Rowntree Trust Report on what makes a better life for older people.

Identifying transition points  and making sure that services are built around supporting individuals and their families was an important issue with many comments on the lack of basic information shared between the NHS and social care and poorly designed hospital discharge plans.

Many of the concerns about Integrated Care which were raised at Connected Care Camp are echoed in the recent @iMPOWERCONSULT report “A Question of Behaviours: Why delivering care integration and managing acute demand depends as much on changing behaviour as new systems and structures.”

One of the many sessions on the day discussed data driven social care which has been helpfully summarised by @resiflexUK in his post a round up of #psicare. An impressive summary thanks Conor!

Some big isssues:

On February 14th 2014 152 local authorities have to submit plans which should include how they are going to link health and social care data together by NHS number. The November TelecareLIN eNewsletter supplement on Integrated Care @clarkmike helpfully provides the  Better Care Fund requirements for joined up systems.

Who owns the data held on each of us and how can we free it?

How will local authorities deal with all of the self funders who will be eligible for an assessment under the new Care Bill?

There were very diverse levels of awareness about the potential of digital technology to help develop new ways of working and collaborations which are defined by outcomes rather than outputs. But a cautionary note from @MindingsStu an inspiring technology innovator and entrepreneur!

My call to action!

https://twitter.com/whatsthepont/status/409350948616933377

 

#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.

#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!

Launch of the care e-Marketplaces survey

 As we become more used to purchasing goods and services through sites like eBay and Amazon what is the role for care e-Marketplaces which bring together buyers and sellers to purchase care and support services? Of course it could be argued that Google’s advanced search is, in effect, an e-Marketplace.

We are inviting families and commissioner’s to share their perceptions and experiences of using care online marketplaces (e-Marketplaces) and online care directories to purchase care services.

Reputation, trust and access are important elements in the purchase of care services sold online. In particular, self-funding individuals and their families purchasing care services need an easy way to identify providers who have been ‘vetted’ by a ‘trusted organisation’. It is important that service providers can demonstrate the quality and value of the services that they offer. It is equally important that service users and commissioners have a method of assessing the quality of services and comparing them when making purchasing choices.

The survey will be open until the 4th October 2013 and we look forward to your responses. To  complete the survey please click here

Saturday 31st Aug thoughts via Twitter

My recommended reading, viewing and thinking for the weekend!

https://twitter.com/shirleyayres/status/373703533926703104

https://twitter.com/shirleyayres/status/373705285296062464

https://twitter.com/ForSocialWork/status/373505899123314688