Caring for the carers using health technology

Recruiting and retaining care staff is an ongoing challenge for care providers, while every day another 6,000 people take on the responsibility of caring for a loved one at home. Supporting the wellbeing of staff in social care settings and the homes of vulnerable people is paramount.

The need to reduce pressures on people who care for those living with disabilities is being increasingly recognised across the care system. Here, Gavin Bashar, UK managing director at Tunstall Healthcare, discusses how technology solutions can support both paid and unpaid carers, as well as enhance the independence of the people they care for.

The benefits of technology

Community alarms and telecare have been available in the UK for several decades, but their full potential has yet to be recognised. Systems can support people living with disabilities in a range of different settings, and enable carers to offer support when it’s needed most.

For example, systems can be introduced that will wake the carer if the person they care for leaves their bed during the night, and may be at risk of falling. Using such  technology means paid carers can respond quickly, but reduces the need for regular checks, and unpaid carers can get a good night’s sleep knowing they will be woken if they are needed, rather than trying to listen for events. 

Gavin Bashar

Using technology in this way reduces pressure on carers as they know they will be alerted if the person they care for needs them, but in the meantime they can complete other tasks, or take a break. This reassurance can help to reduce carer burnout, protect their wellbeing and enable them to care for longer.

The modernisation of care through technology is essential to make sure carers are equipped to deal with the increasing pressures being placed on them, and more able to provide support that enriches the lives of the people they care for.

The latest generation

As technology advances, it supports the delivery of services that are not just reactive but proactive and even preventative. Intelligent use of data means trends can be identified that indicate a possible deterioration in health or increased likelihood of an event such as a fall. 

Digital innovation also opens up a new world of possibilities for the provision of healthcare at home.

Remote patient monitoring enables clinicians to deliver ongoing care and support to people in their own homes, and act before more complex interventions, such as hospital admission, may be required. This increases capacity in the health system, and reduces the stress of travel for patients and carers.  

Looking forward

Technology can ease the pressure both physically and mentally on home and residential carers. As technology becomes more embedded into our services, we will reap the benefits of more personalised care, faster service provision, greater capacity to meet demand, and more efficiency. 

Creating a more connected and intelligent world that supports a person-centred approach to the delivery of targeted, proactive and integrated care services is essential to caring for carers, and placing citizens and their families at the heart of decision making.

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