The forthcoming social care Green Paper, which is due to focus on care for older people, needs to address the needs of all adults to avoid leaving the social care sector with a ‘fragmented system’. That’s the warning from David Pearson, the president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), who is urging for policy initiatives to be considered ‘through the lens of all adults’.

He was speaking at ADASS’s spring seminar, along with health and social care minister Caroline Dinenage and Professor Paul Burstow, chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). Dinenage underlined that further social care funding is going to be needed to deliver adequate levels of service provision, while Burstow pointed out, similarly to Pearson, that focusing purely on reforming care for the elderly might easily affect the care offered to other generations.

The seminar then considered a topic close to Tunstall’s specialist area of expertise – transformative technology for the social care sector.

The new president of ADASS, Glen Garrod, used his inaugural speech to highlight how digital technology can unlock ‘truly personalised’ care, not just to help end users lead more independent lives directly, but also to capture and harness useful data from across councils’ areas of responsibility.

We emphatically agree that technology has truly transformative potential in the social care sector. After all, our connected healthcare solutions are focused above all on enabling independent living for older and vulnerable people and those with long-term needs. We know first-hand how technology, such as sensors that can identify how long an individual has been out of bed for, or sitting in the same position, can be used to alert staff to falls and incidents, and remedy them before they escalate into needing emergency care. We understand how integrated approaches are needed between health and social care to keep individuals out of hospital and in their own homes. We also recognise the power of data to inform and enhance services to the benefit of both the health service and its users, as discussed in a recent blog.

However, just as Glen Garrod pointed out, we also understand that technology is not a replacement for people in the social care sector. Instead, it should be seen to enhance and help care providers in their daily work, cutting down the time and resource currently spent on manual checks and data collection, and freeing up staff to be more targeted and personalised in their care and more focused on their relationships with end users.

Our work in Barcelona is testament to the value of introducing technology as a preventative measure, as part of pre-emptive services to address and reduce social isolation for elderly people. Tunstall Televida supports more than 250,000 people across Spain through telecare and associated services and its either monitoring centres manage more than 16 million calls each year. The impact of telecare based on evaluation found a 92.3% decrease in loneliness and a nearly 99% improvement on family relief.