What have the CQC proposed changes to the prompts got to say about technology?
You may remember pieces on Newsround and Blue Peter where we were told how the future may look. There would be robots (the silvery kind with shoulder pads – like ‘Metal Mikey’ (look it up if this is before your time) who would be common place and able to assist us with our needs.
Changes, however, have been arriving over the years. More stealth than brash takeover. The mobile phone, broadband and interactive TV. ‘Gavin and Stacey’, the TV show, made the word ‘SAT NAV’ one to be said slowly and with awe.
My father-in-law, like my husband, is a reserved man. He had a simple mobile, until his daughter swapped it with a smart phone. It has opened up new ways of talking with his family, receiving pictures and speaking face to face… He has not been able to send a message though without animated balloons much to his annoyance and our glee!
One of those technologies helping in health and social care is ‘telecare’ – no it isn’t a TV repair service! It is a useful tool in the armoury of health and social care. We all have an idea of telecare in the form of a red button, but it is actually broader than that.
The TSA (formally the Telecare Services Association) define telecare as ‘…support and assistance provided at a distance using information and communication technology. It is the continuous, automatic and remote monitoring of users by means of sensors to enable them to continue living in their own home, while minimising risks such as a fall, gas and flood detection and relate to other real time emergencies and lifestyle changes over time.’
Carers UK have an interesting piece for carers explaining the different devices this may cover, and the assistance telecare can bring.
So what’s the low down?
The low down is that technology used appropriately can certainly assist in reducing burden and improving independence for people.
Tunstall Healthcare have released a paper which outlines the benefits of using telecare to support services. In a study of 19 people in a residential home with high risk of falls, the study found a significant reduction of incidents as follows;
- Falls reduced by 67% from 107 to 35 over 3 months (17 residents)
- Cost saving £34,612 over 3 months
- Staff report technology easy to use
What might CQC be looking at?
The Care Quality Commission incorporates the changing health and social care landscape, and their proposed changes to the prompts give us insight into this.
- Characteristics of an outstanding service would be one that actively seeks out new technology and other solutions to make sure that people live with as few restrictions possible
- In effectiveness, we see a prompt on the use of technology and equipment enhancing the delivery of effective care and treatment and in supporting independence
- Responsive prompts ‘How is technology used to support people to receive care and support quickly? Is the technology (including telephone systems and call systems) easy to use?’
With technological changes there comes responsibility. With implementation, it is important that we act with checks and balances. CQC have also published helpful information on surveillance which should be considered in proper use of some technologies.
Technology can be a great help to us all. It can enhance lives and assist a stretched workforce. Just make sure you know how to use it… and can turn those wretched balloons off!