Worcestershire TeleCare – Communicating the benefits of technology using live demonstration
“Many professionals are simply not aware of the art of the possible when it comes to using technology to help people remain independent for longer and live healthier, happier lives. Showing them what’s available in a real life setting communicates the benefits in such a powerful way, which just isn’t possible in an ordinary meeting.”
Rupert Lawrence, Head of Worcestershire TeleCare
Using technology such as telecare and telehealth to support people at home can help to improve the quality and efficiency of health and care services, but a lack of awareness of the latest solutions among professionals means its full potential is not being realised.
How has Worcestershire TeleCare’s demonstration apartment helped to promote the benefits of using technology to providers and commissioners?
Worcestershire TeleCare is a not for profit organisation which has been established for almost thirty years and is part of The Community Housing Group. Worcestershire TeleCare provides services to over 100 other organisations and 17,500 people across the UK. One of its strategic priorities is to demonstrate the effectiveness of technology as part of a service delivery model which is outcomes-based, preventative and supports greater integration of health and social care services.
Berrington Court in Kidderminster is The Community Housing Group’s flagship Extra Care scheme, which opened in 2016. It contains 100 properties for over 55s, equipped with modern facilities and a range of support options. A two bedroom apartment was chosen as a demonstration facility for Worcestershire TeleCare, to enable the latest technology to be shown in-situ and provide a training area for staff.
Technology on display includes a Tunstall telecare system with Lifeline Vi home unit, iVi intelligent fall detector, Vibby wristworn fall detector, bed occupancy sensor, flood detector and carbon monoxide detector. Tunstall’s new IP home unit, the Smart Hub, is also being trialled. A Tunstall telehealth system is also in place, which is linked to live triagemanager software onsite, enabling results and data to be viewed and interpreted. A live PNC system is also onsite, giving visitors an understanding of the kinds of alerts received and how they are managed.
The apartment also has an Activities of Daily Living system installed, with sensors which can detect movement between rooms and actions such as opening the fridge or watching TV. This creates a picture of a person’s normal lifestyle patterns and can help identify their care needs, and monitor for any deterioration in health, for example by establishing if they are hydrating properly.
Extensive use has also been made of voice controlled environmental settings and home automation (using Amazon Echo), smartphone and tablet devices for mobile telecare and apps and mobile GPS telecare devices.
The facility at Berrington Court was created in order to communicate benefits of technology to stakeholders from health, housing and social care, as well as members of the public and their families. The focus is on highlighting advanced assistive technologies, primarily those that use digital and mobile technologies, are flexible, portable and meet various and changing needs. Showcasing the complete range of available technology in a live setting enables visitors to understand the outcomes that can be achieved for a wide range of service users, including those experiencing dementia, learning disabilities, epilepsy, falls, sight impairment or chronic conditions.
Worcestershire TeleCare’s innovative service delivery model uses a unique assessment and outcomes mapping tool, which takes account of diverse goals and objectives for each individual service user and calculates outcomes from a holistic view of the service user and the inputs and outputs of their support package. Outcomes are calculated to demonstrate savings in a wider context, including measurement of the effects and impacts of loneliness, social exclusion and the ability to carry out activities such as shopping, exercise and hobbies.
Feedback from commissioners, providers and professionals visiting the apartment has been extremely positive, with many commenting on how seeing the technology working in a real setting helps to bring it to life and has encouraged them to consider incorporating technology into their services. By fully enabling the site to interact with Worcestershire TeleCare’s monitoring hub, the ‘end-to-end’ user experience is demonstrated and a core focus is placed on how advanced technology supports the achievement of outcomes. The apartment has given a deeper understanding of the ways technology can be used to deliver care differently, achieving better outcomes and delivering more integrated, efficient and preventative services. Several providers are reviewing ways in which they can include technology in new models of care as a result.
The demonstration apartment has also highlighted the ways in which newer digital technologies have the potential to be included in services to increase accessibility and efficiency. For example, integrating voice activated devices with environmental sensors can enable people with limited mobility or disability to undertake tasks such as opening curtains which would otherwise require a carer. A large tablet with easy to use apps demonstrates how people with limited dexterity can easily access services and use video door entry, and memory building apps can be used to support people with dementia.
The apartment at Berrington Court is also used as a training environment, allowing professionals to be exposed to all the very latest technologies in a single place, and learn how they can be used together. This helps them to fully understand the range of possibilities and the many real-life scenarios in which technology can add value.
The general public and their families and carers can also visit the apartment to find out more about available equipment and systems; their feedback is also gathered and communicated to suppliers to help future product development.
Visiting the demonstration facility
If you’re interested in visiting the demonstration facility to find out more about technology enabled care and innovative service delivery models please contact Rupert Lawrence on