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Digital social care projects win funding


Projects involving the use of biometric devices, exoskeletons, a special app and a financial self-assessment tool are among those to receive funding to promote the use of digital tech in social care.

NHS Digital and the Local Government Association (LGA) have announced the nine projects, led by local authorities, to receive shares of up to £700,000 in the next phase of the Social Care Digital Innovation Programme.

It is aimed at improving systems and enabling integration across adult social care, with this phase following the earlier award of £20,000 each to 12 councils to run discovery projects.

James Palmer, programme lead for the Social Care Programme at NHS Digital, said: “The successful projects all showed great promise during their discovery phase, looking at a wide range of areas from data visualisations and online financial assessment tools to wearable tech and exoskeleton devices. 

“These are some really exciting proposals and I am looking forward to seeing the outcomes. We will be sharing learning from the projects, with a view to these blueprints supporting other social care providers looking to innovate in the same area.”

The nine projects are follows:

  • Bracknell Forest Council will install interactive digital kiosks providing information on community support and activities to combat loneliness.
  • Havering is developing an app for social care workers to share information such as training and Disclosure and Barring Service checks to speed up employment at care homes.
  • Isle of Wight will run a pilot with informal carers on the use of exoskeleton devices – which are worn by the user as amplifiers to augment their movements – which can help in day-to-day manual handling of people needing support. A business case and specification will be developed and research will take place on regulations and national interest.
  • Lincolnshire is to develop online financial self-assessment and benefits checker tools for users who are likely to be self-funding or receive direct payments for social care packages. This should speed up the process and reduce the number of packages cancelled due to their cost.
  • Nottingham is to work on a portal for social workers and care providers to capture outcomes for service users. The information will be matched with care packages for progress to be monitored.
  • Shropshire will develop a data visualisation tool to identify key areas of need and improve commissioning in a locality.
  • Stockport is installing tailored assistive technology devices to reduce the number of telecare false alarms and ensure appropriate monitoring of vulnerable people in their homes.
  • Sunderland is deploying four devices to support medication management, monitor people’s moods, nutrition and hydration, and their movements around the home. It will also develop a platform to present the data.
  • Wirral will provide biometric wearable devices to people with autism and complex learning disabilities. The data from these will be analysed to identify triggers and anxiety.

Kate Allsop, executive mayor of Mansfield and digital lead on the LGA’s Community and Wellbeing Board, said the projects will improve people’s experience of care and add value to the sector.

Pictured: log-on screen, HAAP Media Ltd. ("freeimages")

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