Assistive technology has the potential to make a huge difference to the way we deliver social care, enabling new approaches which improve outcomes and deliver efficiencies. However, there are clearly barriers to its mainstream use, and our work collating this toolkit revealed some key lessons learned from pioneers in embedding assistive technology into models of care:

 

Key messages to commissioners and providers

  • Taking a new approach to service delivery underpinned by technology needs to focus on lateral thinking and problem solving, not equipment. The technology is an enabler to system transformation, not a bolt on optional extra.
  • Clear, joint objectives for stakeholders and commissioners are essential from the start, with shared leadership endeavour - the right people and a good business model
  • Ensure an unequivocal focus on the change process – it should be a leadership priority across the system so things don’t drift.
  • The private payer market has vast potential as an upstream, attractive retail offer, based on lifestyle and home safety rather than a dependency model.
  • Start with the end in mind and plan for a long-term, large scale, integrated approach; initial bursts of activity on assistive technology and reablement could come back to bite you further down the line.

 

Lessons learnt

 

  • New services can take time to become part of a social care and health workers “unconscious” toolkit; an artful blend of carrot and stick is needed, together with straightforward referral processes.
  • Massive variation from one practitioner to another is a challenge to address.
  • Savings estimates can be too optimistic and do not take account of attrition.
  • Dedicated capacity for assistive technology is a must if you are starting from a low baseline.
  • There are pros and cons to charging for people with eligible needs which need to be carefully evaluated from the outset.
  • Capture the imagination of stakeholders and professionals, assuaging the fears and anxieties that personal care is being replaced by technology by telling real people stories with positive outcomes.
  • Embrace the passion and commitment about the difference it can make in empowering people

 

Further reading

Better Care Technology - Results of Call for Evidence

  • The findings cover 28 examples across England from Brighton to Bury
  • Includes evidence of financial savings and compelling people stories.

Guide to Supporting Carers through technology enabled care services

  • Describes the various benefits of technology and covers the top five areas which need to be challenged when considering technology enabled care to help support carers

 

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