Delivering truly caring in-home adult social care is under pressure from all sides - particularly for local authorities, who face the challenge of supporting the elderly at home while managing increasingly stretched budgets. All of this requires new ways of thinking if the independent elderly are to be effectively supported in their homes for longer, writes Richard Turner, managing director, PPP Taking Care
Advancements in technology, and its ability to benefit care management, are becoming a key focus for those exploring solutions to the problem. Recognition of technology as an effective resource is becoming more widely accepted and its role as a preventative measure to illness or accident is of growing interest for the industry. Yet, in a traditional 'people/patient' focused environment, achieving the full engagement and support of the spectrum of executives and staff involved in the service delivery is complex.
As the health and social care systems are frequently criticised in the UK for operating in isolation of one another, some view the combining of social care and healthcare budgets to be the answer to achieving cohesion in service provision, as well as extending technology-enabled care. Nowadays people live longer than ever before, the aging population has been growing continuously since 1986 according to the Office of National Statistics, and the nature of medical conditions never cease to grow in complexity as people become more advanced and resilient. This means that we would need hospitals to grow faster than sustainably possible, and more carers and care facilities are available than ever before. Neither of which are viable.
Instead, solutions like monitored sensors and alarms, and fall detectors within the home - which automatically call for help if needed - could become commonplace, ensuring not just that people stay safe but also that they have confidence to be at home alone, without a carer. Additionally, medication advice and 24-hour health support can also be administered remotely via video rather than having someone await an appointment when it could be solved quickly and easily.
That said, technology enabled care is still viewed with apprehension by the older generation, although they will be led by the healthcare 'experts'. So it is critical that a programme of internal cultural change is viewed as equally important as the ongoing introduction of emerging technologies.
We also know that the benefits seen from embracing technology within healthcare have been extensive and it is increasingly documented as our, and perhaps the only, solution for the future. Innovation has gradually brought about a generation of people with self-care opportunities at their fingertips and the freedom to access solutions wherever they may be.
At PPP Taking Care, leading UK technology enabled care provider, we work with a number of local authorities, supplying them with the technology they need to ease the pressures on a system which has become backlogged. We have seen that when technology is well utilised, it can become a tool for reuniting people with their independence, in addition to relieving the pressures on our healthcare facilities and staff who simply cannot cope with the increasing demand placed upon them.
Furthermore, the use of technology can allow us to recognise a crisis before it happens and intervene before this occurs keeping the person safer and healthier. It is for this reason, that the role and implementation of technology enabled care is critical to solving a number of mounting problems present in our health system.
For further information into the ways technology can support at-home care, visit our website and take a look through the products and services available: https://www.ppptakingcare.co.uk/