The meeting took place on 16 March 2021 and aimed to:
- Share recent research, practice, and policy developments relating to the use of digital technology to support care at home
- Explore how recent digital and research developments can inform practice
- Identify key questions/ issues around using digital technology to support people at home
33 people attended representing academia, practice, policy and interested members of the public.
- Paul Mazurek and Cher Lewney, North Wales together: Learning disability technology strategy
- Dr Alison Orrell: Digital “a go-go”: supporting people at home
- Karen Warner: Lessons from the all Wales personal technology community of practice
- Gareth Hopkin, Health Technology Wales: supporting digital technology in care
This is a summary of the discussions we had about the key questions concerning using digital technology to support care at home.
How can we best upskill the care workforce to support the use of digital technologies?
- Care workers need to be excited by the possibilities of digital technologies and comfortable to ask for help with devices themselves
- Care workers might need to develop their own digital confidence. Some workers may be anxious about using digital devices
- Digital technology needs to be demystified
- Supporting people to use digital technology is not currently part of most job roles
How can we ensure the right supports are present for individuals to use digital devices to enhance their life at home?
- Family and friends might require digital support themselves before they can help their relative/ friend to use a digital device
- Support when the device is first introduced is crucial but ongoing support is needed too
- Example shared of a loan scheme that has worked well
- It is not simple to teach someone how to use a digital device!
What are the unintended consequences and opportunity costs of digital technologies used to support care at home?
- Might the introduction of more digital devices widen the digital divide, increase inequality, and worsen self-isolation?
- Some areas have staff skilled in digital technologies, others do not have this resource. Similarly, some areas have good digital connectivity, other areas have very limited connectivity. How can a postcode lottery be prevented?
- How can care services support people to become connected in rural areas? Could care services help facilitate this process?
- Might the use of digital devices make it more difficult for people to receive support in their preferred language?
What digital devices are wanted and what needs are people seeking to address?
- This is the starting point with any individual: where possible devices should be personalised
- Find out what digital devices individuals already have and what they can already use before introducing new things
- Incorporating questions about digital wants and needs into the procurement process would be helpful
- Some people do not want to use digital devices. How can we ensure they are not disadvantaged?
- Digital devices cannot be a substitute for face-to-face contact
- There are a potentially overwhelming number of digital devices to choose between. Which devices are most important?
What are the initial and ongoing costs related to digital technologies?
- This should consider who pays these costs and the issues around affordability for the different ‘payers’
- How will funding be provided for digital developments so that services can stay up to date?
How sustainable is the use of digital devices to support care at home?
- How can organisations adapt to the emergence of new devices/ technologies and stay up to date? This is a quickly evolving area
- How can organisations put in place strategies and plans that have longevity? I.e. how can plans mitigate against a device become obsolete or build in the need for further IT training as devices and technologies develop?
How can new developments be shared effectively?
- How can services and individuals keep up to date with cutting edge developments?
- There are lots of digital options, but many people do not know about the choices available
- How can learning from practice be shared across organisations?
- The Insight App shares information about lots of online activities available for people with learning disabilities. It’s being promoted across North Wales and was highly recommended by the presenters at the event. For more information you can: watch a video demonstrating how it works, read an article featuring a You Tube video or contact Paul.Mazurek@flintshire.gov.uk
- All Wales Personalised Technology Community of Practice. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join.
- Lorna Tursley is researcher looking at digital technology use by wheelchair services, many users have learning disabilities – please contact her on email@example.com if you’d be happy to talk about experiences /views on digital technology used with these. Also, if anyone has experience of developing ways of completing forms online using smart phones.
- The event was live tweeted by Beccy Roylance, follow @NW_RIICH to find out more.
If you have ideas about how to answer/ address some of the issues and research questions identified, please get in touch: