Like most walks of life, the care sector is experiencing technological change. The pace of change is likely to increase rather than decrease.
For some, more technology and automation conjures up an image of a world where social care becomes dehumanised, where conversations are with computer applications and chatbots rather than people. Or where a friendly robot takes care of domestic duties. We believe the reality will be very different, and much more human.
If we look at the technology we are currently using it actually creates more human interaction rather than less. It enhances personal care rather than replacing it.
Care staff use handheld PDA’s to make sure they have instant access to information about service users, their care plans and personal preferences, wherever they are working. Record keeping and observations such as food and drink intake are made in a few clicks.
Real Time Information and Enhanced Care
Care staff have better information to work with and have to spend less time updating or sharing it. Which leaves more time to talk and to develop relationships. Using real-time information enables the delivery of better-quality care that is more focused on the needs of each individual.
Relatives are able to access information for greater peace of mind and have an involvement in care where relevant.
On a grander scale, technology opens the way to even more advancements in care. Artificial intelligence and machine learning ought to do a better job of predicting and planning care needs within an area. Virtual Reality is already helping to improve wellbeing for dementia patients by allowing them to experience environments they knew from years ago.
Good social care has always been, and will always be, something that has human interaction and relationships at its core. Technology will not change this; it will enhance rather than replace those interactions. It will also bring the entire ‘team around the person’ closer together, which includes care staff, health professionals, family and carers.
For anyone interested in better quality, more personalised care, technology is something to be embraced rather than resisted.