The number of care homes embracing technology to improve the quality of life for residents, attract new private clients or reduce administrative burdens on staff is growing.
Is the sector now fully accepting technology in care homes?
Should the sector fully adopt technology in care homes?
The use of technology is a developing issue in the care sector
In our last newsletter we looked at the importance of a care home’s website and the impact it can have on enquiries and attracting new private clients. That article was featured in the November/December edition of Care Home Management.
In that magazine alone there were three articles focusing on technology in care homes.
This is undoubtedly a developing issue.
Earlier in 2015, commenting on the use of cameras in care, CQC said: “Concerns about care challenge us all to find solutions and as technology develops and becomes more accessible, many advocate it as an important part of the answer, while others disagree and promote other options.”
As families, residents, members of staff and care home owners are both encouraged and concerned about the introduction of technology in care homes it is important to consider the possible implications that technology may have in the sector. In this article we therefore revisit technology in care homes, but this time take a much broader look at how technology can, and indeed whether it should, shape the future of the sector.
Possible benefits technology in care homes may have
Improve quality of life for residents?
Whether it is the opportunity to video call family and friends, stimulate the residents or the ease of providing feedback, technology certainly provides operators with the chance to improve the quality of life for residents.
Attract new private clients?
As mentioned earlier in this article, we have previously looked at the growing importance of a care home’s website and the impact that it can have in attracting new private clients. That article is available here.
Reduce administrative burdens on staff?
With rising input costs – particularly the introduction of the National Living Wage and increasing energy rates – operators are now more than ever looking to maximise efficiencies in order to not sacrifice the quality of care they deliver.
What can we expect in the future?
Scott Sanderson, Healthcare Partner at Hawsons, noted: “Digital technologies are transforming nearly every aspect of our lives; the way we book holidays, pay our utility bills, communicate with friends and family, buy our Christmas presents and do our accounting.”
“Technology is now also a significant strategic tool in overcoming the challenges, financial or otherwise, that the care sector is facing. A better use of technology in care homes could see operators improve the quality of care and reduce the cost of care services for residents. Those are two key factors in attracting new private clients to the home, which is crucially important with the ongoing funding challenges.”
“The growing use of technology in care homes unquestionably marks a major step-change for the sector as a whole. However, as a word of warning: research has shown that just having the technology in care homes is usually not enough. The key to maximising the potential of technology ultimately boils down to how the technology is introduced/used and also, crucially, what training and support that is given to staff and residents. Without that training and support the introduction of technology may actually have an adverse impact on the quality of life for residents and the efficiency of administrate duties.”
“The introduction of technology in care homes, whether its surveillance cameras or iPads or any other device, must be thoroughly considered and planned for beforehand to maximise its potential. That of course brings additional financial challenges.”
The question of technology in care homes may therefore be not necessarily whether care homes should embrace technology but rather do care homes actually have the resources available to fully embrace technology?
An interesting question, and certainly more to come in this area.
More from our care sector experts
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