The Health Foundation has selected 10 teams to be part of its exciting new £2 million innovation programme that will explore how technology can enable new approaches to care at home and in the community.
The care system in the UK is under immense pressure, resulting in care that is falling short of expectations for staff, carers (paid and unpaid) and care recipients. Research shows that by 2040, more people will be living with conditions which are mostly managed in the community.
The UK care system won’t be sustainable without more effective use of technology. Technology has the potential to help create a care system with people at its centre. But technology alone won’t transform care. To unlock these benefits, new approaches to care need to be designed with staff and care recipients and implemented.
New approaches to care, enabled by the effective use of technology, are needed to deliver the care people want and need in the future.
The Tech for Better Care programme is a new funding programme that will support 10 teams from across the UK to develop, test and pilot promising new ideas and approaches to care over approximately 18 months.
The teams will develop approaches to care that focus on the caring and enabling relationships needed between those who deliver care and those who receive care, and on care that is proactive in supporting people to live a better and more independent life where possible.
Malte Gerhold, Director of Innovation and Improvement at the Health Foundation, said: “We’re very excited to launch this new programme and support these teams with their innovative ideas. Our aim is not only to get promising new ideas off the ground, but to demonstrate that by making the most of technology it is possible to deliver care in a way that is more proactive and focused on building supportive relationships, personally and with the community. Ultimately, we want to see the most effective piloted approaches scaled and spread to improve outcomes and experiences for those delivering and receiving care.”
Social Finance is the support partner for the programme, supporting the teams to explore their ideas and develop their skills.
The chosen teams will be supported through a three-phase innovation process where they will initially explore opportunities and develop ideas. The most promising ideas will then be supported to test and pilot their new approaches.
The selection of these projects is currently subject to contracts being finalised with the lead organisation of each project.
The 10 chosen projects are:
- In Control and Care City: Mechanisms for self-directed support such as personal care budgets can empower and enable people to realise greater independence. However, various factors have impeded people’s ability to optimise this support. This project will explore how technology can enable self-directed support, reduce administrative burden, improve communication and connect individuals to a self-directed community.
- Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust: This project will explore how people might be enabled and empowered to gather the highest value health data and collaborate to signal and address their needs. This has the potential to help them manage their own health better, together with their different care teams. It will look at designing a relational and collaborative experience of receiving, giving and self-administering care, using wearable technology solutions, in order to connect the patient, care teams and wider network of problem solvers.
- Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucester Integrated Care Board: Many older people are prescribed six or more medications and non-adherence can be a problem. There are smart or intelligent assistive technologies that could support people with sensory or cognitive impairments to take their medications. This project will explore the potential for home from hospital link workers using these new digital technologies to provide personalised support for people who are taking multiple medications. Working with Bristol City Council, AgeUK Bristol and BANES, and The University of West of England, the initial focus will be on understanding the scale of the problem.
- Voluntary and independent sector partners, North/South Health and Social Care Partnerships, and NHS Lanarkshire: Assistive technology is increasingly being used to detect falls but doesn’t routinely identify or manage risk or cause including considering the overlap between falls and syncope (fainting). This project will explore how technology enabled care can support both the human and preventative aspects of falls care. It will focus on those who currently or may in the future access or draw on social care or telecare and are at highest risk of falls.
- Powys County Council: This project will explore how technology can support the council’s Home Support Service to foster care circles around people in Powys, providing enhanced relational and proactive support. It will involve identifying or creating Internet of Things sensors that provide meaningful data to inform and support a person’s care circle, and development of an application to store and process the data.
- Rowcroft Hospice: This project, focused on end-of-life care, will explore how technology can be used to support patients, and those closest to them, at the end of their life to access palliative care and support at home. This is important for those groups of patients who can’t get access to community hospice palliative care support, such as the frail elderly, those with dementia, or those living in rural or coastal areas.
- Shared Lives Plus: The UK membership charity for people living and working in Shared Lives care or Homeshare will create a new digital matching platform which will address challenges to the growth of Shared Lives (the safest and highest quality form of social care) by providing an opportunity for more people who may be on the edge of crisis to benefit from day or respite support within Shared Lives. In this relatively unexplored area, the platform will boost recruitment and allow people who are seeking support to be rapidly matched with those who can provide support.
- St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: Hidden disabilities such as poor memory and planning are some of the most distressing experiences for people with a brain injury. Neuropsychological rehabilitation is therefore a much sought-after service for people living with these long-term neurological conditions. However, accessing these services can be challenging. This project will explore whether a digital platform for neuropsychological rehabilitation can be used to support community healthcare professionals to deliver more effective care and whether it be integrated into the care pathway and then scaled up to meet current demand.
- St Rocco’s Hospice: Carers of palliative patients often feel fatigued and isolated and can experience burn-out. This project will look at how technology can be used to share a bank of virtual resources, carer sessions, clinics and social groups with many more carers. This would provide holistic support for carers to live well and stay well,and be reached before they become fatigued or depressed.
- Sutton Primary Care Networks: Adults who are housebound are often socially isolated, have unmet care needs, suffer from higher mortality, and can struggle with access to proactive care. This project will involve finding creative technology solutions that can empower patients, create peer support networks and enable social interaction between housebound people, improve communication between patients and care providers, and allow remote monitoring.
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