Service deliveryAdult Social CareDigital telecare solutions for older residents

Digital telecare solutions for older residents

The project will begin in May, with a full rollout of the Digital telecare solutions all 13 of Plus Dane’s residential and extra care schemes

Provider of technology enabled care and life safety services, Appello, has been selected as a partner to provide digital telecare solutions to Plus Dane Housing. Plus Dane Housing provides residential and extra care housing for older people, across Merseyside and Cheshire.

Appello’s equipment will drive digital inclusion for older people, as residents at the property will now have access to wifi in their rooms. Most importantly call connection times will be reduced if there is an emergency and they need to reach the monitoring centre.

Reducing social isolation

Chris Birch, Older Person’s Technology Lead at Plus Dane Housing says, “It’s important to us that our residents benefit from up-to-date technology. As part of our ongoing digital strategy we recognise that Wi-Fi access is important, and that a video-enabled solution can reduce social isolation. We chose Appello because we were aware of the digital changeover taking place and the resident safety issues associated with this as the networks can no longer support the older analogue technology. As one of the only telecare providers who can offer an end-to-end digital solution they were clearly the right supplier for us.

“Appello is really forward thinking and we also found that its values aligned closely with our own. They’re clearly working with us because they want to make our service better.”

Embracing digital telecare solutions

Appello will supply digital monitoring services to all 13 of Plus Dane’s residential and extra care schemes, and will begin installing its digital telecare infrastructure and Smart Living Solutions (SLS) suite into eight sites, replacing current analogue systems.

Tim Barclay, CEO at Appello says, “We are pleased to be working with Plus Dane, a housing provider that recognises the importance of embracing digital solutions for the benefit of their residents and staff. They are one of a growing number of housing providers embracing true end-to-end digital and we are looking forward to seeing residents utilising the system in the coming months to stay safe and involved in their communities. From feedback we have received, 8 out of 10 residents feel that the connection speed of digital systems gives them greater reassurance, 9 out of 10 feel safer and half say their overall wellbeing improves. We are looking forward to seeing the residents of Plus Dane’s properties benefit similarly.”

From a wall mounted tablet, Smart Living Solutions offers room-to-room video calling, video door entry and faster call connection times. It can also act as a wireless hotspot, which allows residents to access the internet without needing to invest in a traditional pay monthly arrangement with an ISP. Wi-Fi is not always available in communal areas and residents may not have a broadband subscription, so this opens up the opportunity for Plus Dane to integrate Internet of Things (IoT) enabled solutions, such as voice activated systems which can control lights, curtains, blinds and heating, benefiting residents with mobility issues.

Technology can play a vital role

This year the Social Care Digital Innovation Movement has allocated ten authorities to receive up to £30,000 to design a digital solution, including digital telecare solutions, to address a specific issue within their service, and eight will be receiving up to a further £90,000 to support implementation.

According to ONS data, a third of older adults (over sixty-five years) identify themselves as only a little confident or not at all confident in their ability to use electronic devices for essential online activities. The Harnessing technology to tackle loneliness report was launched at the House of Commons with the support of Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matthew Hancock MP and Loneliness Minister Mims Davies MP.

Technology can play a vital role in alleviating loneliness in older people. The report says that technology can do this by keeping them connected to their family and friends for longer. However, it also highlights that a significant number of older people are not confident in using technology. The issues include accessing the internet.

Vodafone had launched a nationwide programme of tech masterclasses – Techconnect. At these free masterclasses, Vodafone tech team advisors provided information and advice to older adults on everything from how do I set up my phone to how do I use social media. They also helped set up wearable tech and connected home devices and explained how the digital telecare solutions worked.

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