Still in the grips of the Covid-19 pandemic, exacerbated by the spectre of winter pressures, the strain on social care systems grows ever more acute. The need to react quickly and remain agile is crucial.
The Covid 19 pandemic has been the catalyst to become digital in ways we would not have thought possible. The technology had been available previously, but in the social care arena had not been widely adopted. Since the start of the first lockdown, video and telephone consultations have become the norm and technology is increasingly being used to deliver social care services.
But what about people’s access to care and support services? Social distancing and self-isolation make the delivery of personal care more challenging. Vulnerable people are being urged to stay at home and isolate which can have significant impacts on their health and wellbeing. Local authorities are under huge pressure to ensure there is capacity to deliver care and support to all who need it, but this has become challenging with crises in care homes and fewer staff.
Giving people more control over their own care can make a world of difference in the current climate. Direct Payments enable people to have more choice and control over their care and support needs. Under government guidelines the usage of Direct Payments has become more flexible.
Guidance states that recipients have the flexibility to use their Direct Payment in a way that ensures they safely receive the care and support they require. This can include the purchasing of equipment or materials, arranging alternative sources of community support, or relying on friends and family should access to carers or personal assistants be restricted. This flexibility is essential to ensure people are cared for.
Local authorities will still need to keep track of how Direct Payments are being spent, and to ensure they continue to meet the needs of each individual. There is also the challenge of how to help people find and source alternative types of care and support that may not be as readily available.
This is where technology can help. The use of a technical solution can overcome all these challenges. Instant access to a wide and diverse range of care and support services can be delivered to individuals. Local authorities can quickly and easily manage the services being purchased with Direct Payments and monitor their usage and effectiveness. The use of the technology can help to bring isolated individuals together and ensure people can get the vital care and support they need.
Chris Duck Managing Director, Local Government, adam htt - www.avachoices.co.uk
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