Over the past decade, an ageing population, government budget squeezes and a challenge in staff recruitment and retention which has only been exacerbated by Brexit have surmounted to a UK care sector straining under the pressure.
Added to this are the unknown and ever fluctuating consequences of living through a global pandemic and adjusting to the aftermath, with the unknown lasting effects of long covid affecting an estimated 1.1million people.
The social care strategy from the government includes an investment of at least £150 million in funding for social care, including a significant focus on the use of digital technologies.
Although the current government says it will invest in the UK social care sector, successive investigations into funding have failed to deliver anything tangible, or improved outcomes of services.
The current model needs updating and the exploration and implementation of advances in technology is essential to change the direction of social care and, not only to provide better levels of care, support overstretched resources and make overstretched care social care budgets go further but to improve the lives and outcomes for carers and patients alike.
The industry needs an injection of innovation but crucially a long-term plan to ensure a successful transformation of the health and social care sector that is long-lasting and sustainable. Data and digital technology will facilitate a more efficient use of time and resources for care providers – supporting carers with the ability to work proactively rather than relying on outdated reactive telecare. Technology can also provide them with the opportunity to foresee any issues a person in their care may have and obtain valuable actionable insights, allowing them to address any issues before they become a health problem. This approach can be life changing for not only carers, but the vulnerable people they care for by enabling them to receive the best care when they need it most. So how does it work, and how can we achieve this?
How it works – Building up a unique picture to support proactive care
Lilli’s technology works using a set of discrete sensors in a user’s home which pick up simple daily behaviours of living, such as moving around or opening doors that show a carer how a service user is behaving in their home environment. The data from these sensors feeds into the Lilli software, which cleverly utilises advanced machine learning and AI capabilities to create what is an expected pattern of normal behaviour for an individual, or, a ‘flightpath’ unique to each user. By creating this bespoke understanding of a user’s behaviour, Lilli is able to spot signs that deviate from what is ‘normal’ behaviour signalling the user might be developing a problem – anything from reduction in movement, increased bathroom use or fewer uses of the kettle or fridge, or an increase or decrease in temperature. This is highly important information for a carer, as often small incremental declines in daily activities can often signal a service user is having a problem and experiencing difficulties. These soft signs can uncover a more serious threat to health developing, which may not be picked up simply through individual in-person visits compared to round-the-clock monitoring that Lilli provides. Using Lilli’s data insights, combined with the expertise and knowledge of the carer, a better picture of the service user can be developed, which allows for a more tailored care package to better suit their needs as well as giving carers valuable information to make evidence based decisions. The result is a proactive care model which is working all the time for the service user, and maintains and protects their dignity and independence, allowing them to continue living healthy, happy lives.
Providing insights and evidence to support carers
Carers are faced with many challenges many of which are a fault of a system that is not able to support them correctly, Currently, because of the rising demands and lack of supply and support in health and social care, carers are constantly stretched for time and are still using a dated paper based system of written reports that can take hours to compile on a weekly basis. Of the limited time they have with service users, they need to make decisions based on minimal contact points; They are only as good as the information they are given by those being cared for or they have witnessed during short visits. This makes it difficult to holistically understand their service user, without mentioning that they have hundreds of other service users to care for similarly. In addition, carers can often face mounting pressure from friends and family of service users, who may or may not have a more accurate picture of how their loved one is coping at home. The result, however well meaning, is that care packages and assessments are subjective and are only an educated guess at best. There is a lack of an evidence driven approach, a lack of data that would help in general as well as a lack of a more efficient and modern system of admin and case management for care workers.
Access to real-time, accurate remote monitoring gives those delivering care a stronger added evidence-based layer of insight about the people they support. Using remote monitoring technology, carers will be able to tailor care packages better to the needs of their clients as they will have a more accurate picture of how someone is managing at home alone outside of their in-person visits. This way, the correct steps can be taken with the real evidence to support any decisions around changes in care. Technology can also reduce the risk to health for a service user because of the earlier warning signs and alerts to declines in health allowing for earlier interventions to prevent life-threatening situations, in turn reducing the likelihood for more complex and costly treatment or admissions to hospital.
Another key benefit of using monitoring technology and a data-driven approach is the reassurance this can provide to family and friends about their loved ones, and the independence, dignity and happiness it can give to users. Evidence can give much needed peace of mind to family and friends for care decisions and also provide confidence that there is a more comprehensive care service in place. Vulnerable people receiving care will feel confident in living independently and safely knowing that there is a system to support them in achieving that, reducing their anxieties and enabling the best health outcomes for them in the comfort of their homes.
Consent becomes a key talking point in using monitoring technology. Part of the consent authorised by the user will be about sharing data with other health organisations. This will optimise care and remove the divisions between health and social care systems creating a comprehensive, well-connected and up to date service improving outcomes. The efficiency of the system, and the patient journey between various arms of the health and social care service in the UK will be revamped and improved by using a technology driven model and will foster deeper interoperability and integration between teams. The end result will be a healthier, smoother and more resource friendly health and social care system.
Carers knowledge + Lilli’s data = best health outcomes
The future of care in the UK is certain to be heavily driven by data. Organisations and care providers will need to embrace and learn from new technologies and a different way of working. But that should not be interpreted as intimidating, rather we should be looking at how tech can best benefit carers by complementing, not replacing, their experience, knowledge and hands-on expertise.
Our machine-learning led technology isn’t a replacement for human interaction, it’s the opposite.
Lilli’s technology will allow carers more quality time to focus on people who need the care urgently, alongside assisting them with their regular visits by giving them the full picture of how a person is coping at home by giving them a deeper level of analysis and insight through greater insights. By equipping carers with better and more accurate information, Lilli minimises costly and time-wasting false alerts and efficiently optimises resources. It always places carers at the heart of the care service, and is their technology to serve them and to support them with an additional layer of knowledge to help them that can provide the best health outcomes in the most efficient and accurate way possible, and reduce the immense resource deficits facing the sector currently.
Training and support for care practitioners
It’s important to recognise that implementing new technology into practice requires a structured training and support program to achieve successful implementation. Many new technologies present to the industry a totally new approach to providing care, and its addition to a carers toolkit requires careful consideration. The education and upskilling of social workers to increase their know-how and confidence when using new technology is vital to successful adoption and is a step in any transformational programme that should not be missed.
Technology should not just be given to care workers with the expectation to ‘make it work’ – we need to show them the value in the technology, the ease of use, and how it can support them with much-needed evidence to support their decisions and use their time more effectively. That’s why it’s crucial that any technology implementation is supplemented with the right training to help frontline workers get the most out of digital solutions that will ultimately support them in improving the quality and delivery of care.
Download our free Ebook to learn more
Regardless of funding reform, Lilli believes now is time for the care sector to explore advances in technology to provide better results and improve lives of both the carers and those being cared for. We can’t continue to let pressures mount on health and social care resources. Technology, when implemented correctly, has the potential to support carers and transform the way care is delivered.
To find out more about the steps you can take to achieve digital transformation, download our free Ebook “How to implement digital transformation: 7 easy steps” and get in touch with us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore how Lilli can help your community.