Comment: How is technology revolutionising the social care sector?

Katie Gartland of Lifeco.com explains how technology can help improve the delivery and effectiveness of social care services

It’s no secret that technology is revolutionising the way we live; the proof lies in widely-discussed technological advances in the automotive, healthcare and engineering industries over recent decades.

Even the social care sector is experiencing digital advances that are set to change the way people look for care services.

The digital revolution within the industry is helping communication and administration, and we're already seeing a positive impact on how care services and support are delivered to people

The digital revolution within the industry is helping communication and administration, and we're already seeing a positive impact on how care services and support are delivered to people.

Research has found that more than three quarters - 78 per cent - of organisations use digital technology as part of their services to improve care for people, and these organisations believe this type of technology helps to provide a high-quality care service.

Here are some of the ways that technology is transforming social care:

Improving communications

Digital technologies don’t only enhance communication between health and social care providers, but also between staff, the people they care for and their families.

The innovative communication methods used could range from communicating via email or sharing information on a website, to being as advanced as using electronic care records and GP video conferencing.

For those who still live at home, but receive extra support; telehealth and telemedicine technology can help people to communicate with their carers.

Telehealth care services can range from the use of NHS apps to the monitoring of physiological conditions, meaning people can speak with a carer from home whenever they need without receiving full-time care in a residential home.

Technology in this sense is helping people to live independently for longer and, when they do need extra help and support, they can feel reassured that through the simple click of a mouse or mobile device, their carer is on hand.

Finding care services

Technological advances don’t just support the social sector when they’re already in the process of carrying out care for someone; they can also be beneficial one step before that.

Receiving training and learning about different technologies that can help revolutionise the health and social sector should be seen as a good investment amongst care providers and services

Care services, such as Lifeco.com, use technology to enable users to find tailored and personalised local care that can support their own or a loved-one’s needs as best as possible.

Technology like this means that people looking for care have the option of a variety of care services, whether that’s adult day care centres, a visit from a carer a few times a week, or full-time care in a residential home.

In turn, this reduces the stress of finding a good care service as the technology is doing the hard work for them, quickly and efficiently finding them care providers who are local and who can provide the care they’re looking for. The only action the person needs to take is choosing a carer from the options provided.

Administration and reporting within care services

It's a well-known fact that there is a lot of paperwork to be completed by a care provider, and anything to make this easier will ensure that more time can be spent giving hands-on care.

The use of digital technologies to assist with reporting tasks is becoming more and more of a benefit to residential homes. Technology such as tablets can be used for a range of tasks, including care plans, health assessments and medication. From as soon as a resident gets up in the morning to when they go to bed at night, it can be documented on the system in ‘real time’.

When used correctly and efficiently, technology has the potential to transform the work that staff carry out as well as the lives of people needing care and their families

Not every member of staff will be competent in the use of technology, so it’s beneficial for care providers to invest in training; this way, all staff will be able make the most out of the advantages digital technologies bring to health and social care services.

Receiving training and learning about different technologies that can help revolutionise the health and social sector should be seen as a good investment among care providers and services.

When used correctly and efficiently, technology has the potential to transform the work that staff carry out as well as the lives of people needing care and their families.

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