Ian Price, Commercial Director of Tunstall Healthcare, reviews highlights about technology solutions in the news ahead of the general election.

It’s been a big month in terms of healthcare news, with a snap general election being called for the 8 June – it’s meant that issues such as social care, health and therefore technology in the home is being talked about more than usual as the industry works to get it on the agenda for election campaigns.

One of the challenges facing Connected Healthcare services, is the lack of awareness from some health and social care professionals, housing providers and consumers around what technology solutions are available, how to access them and what the benefits are. However, the last month has seen some great stories around what technology in the home can achieve. So, with the election just a few weeks away, we need to be considering how we can raise the profile of technology solutions – as highlighted in this timely blog by ATEL ‘Why social care needs to be high on the agenda for 2017’, who recommends more grants for technology to help older adults and people with disabilities stay at home and remain independent for longer.

Reducing the bed blocking crisis
Earlier this month, a piece by Digital Health Age highlighted how bed blocking can be reduced by introducing technology solutions in the home. It’s a big issue, with 197,100 days of bed blocking reported in January 2017 compared to 159,600 in the previous year. The article then goes on to describe how in West Sussex, a project by Welbeing with NHS West Sussex and West Sussex County Council is setting up a Connected Healthcare service free of charge for eligible service users to prevent hospital admissions and keep individuals in their own homes for longer – I look forward to hearing more about this work and the findings from the project.

Supporting carers with technology
On Monday, the BBC programme Victoria Derbyshire focused on dementia, and how a rising number of carers are now giving up their own lives to look after ageing parents in their homes instead of putting them into care. This moving video shows the story of Sue Jenkins, who looks after her mother with dementia in their home. With 6 million people in the UK giving up their full-time jobs to look after sick or ageing relatives, we need to ensure the technology that can give them the support they need is being made available.

So, you can imagine how happy we were to see this toolkit for carers published by the Department of Health and Carers UK, highlighting the variety of technology solutions such as; assistive technology, remote consultations, health monitoring and socialising technologies. It goes into detail about what they are (with videos) and then, importantly – how to get them.

It gives me hope, we are getting there – more people recognise the importance of technology and the need to integrate it with models across the health, housing and social care landscape. Maximising technology provides more choice and better outcomes for service users, carers, family and friends. I look forward to what else is said around technology solutions, social care, health and housing in the run-up to the election and beyond.

Find out more about our digital technology solutions in our Digital Journey brochure.