The increased use of technology is helping transform the lives of people in adult social care: Paige and Tracy 2-2

10 Jun 2019

Adult Social Care

The increased use of technology is helping transform the lives of people in adult social care

Bristol City Council is targeting technology enabled care (TEC), in a bid to improve the lives of residents who need support to live more independently at home.

The increased use of TEC as part of a wider package of care, or on its own, has been shown to support people to live independently for longer within their own communities, as well as improving their wellbeing.

TEC is promoted through a referral service that matches people in supported care to technology, boosting their independence and enabling them to live at home.

Types of technology available include, bed sensors or fall detectors, medication dispensers, mobile apps and reminders for people living with dementia.

Part of Better Lives, the innovative Bristol City Council transformation programme for adult social care which helps people lead more independent and fulfilling lives at home, this new model brings together existing TEC activity into a single service.

Councillor Helen Holland, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “Technology Enabled Care, or TEC, will not replace people’s home visits. We know how much person-to-person care is valued – there are things that only care staff can do and that won’t change.

“TEC works best as part of a wider package of care and in providing care and support to people. Introduced carefully, with the individual at the heart of decision-making, TEC solutions will complement personal care and we want more people to be able to use it.”

She added: “Better Lives is transforming adult social care in a really exciting way. We have a range of services in the city that contribute to people’s lives by enabling them to maintain their tenancies and live independently, especially where they may need vital but low level additional support with practical tasks or coping with day-to-day issues from budgeting to living alongside neighbours. This important kind of support increases people’s independence improves wellbeing and reduces their need for long term care.”

Bristol City Council is also currently exploring the use of virtual assistants such as robotics and voice-activated software, including Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa smart speaker, to help people with autism and learning difficulties develop coping strategies and independence.

This new model means that carers can refer their clients into the service when they believe technology could be appropriate.

Tracy Bartlett, a Bristol City Council social worker, who already uses a wide range of technology with her clients in Bristol, says she has seen how it can make a significant improvement to people’s lives.

She said: “Using technology like this helps people’s independence because it allows them to do more for themselves while feeling safe. One example we’re piloting at the moment is a smartphone support app which helps people with learning difficulties by reminding them of their daily routine and goals for the day.

“The app can be personalised with links to safe websites, and green, red and amber traffic-light anxiety buttons which are linked directly to an emergency control centre.”