A dynamic programme of digital investment for the social care sector was on show when senior managers from the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England visited a Bedfordshire care home today (Tuesday 7 February).
Chase House, in Arlesey, was an early adopter of innovative technologies on offer from its local Integrated Care System (ICS) – the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) Health and Care Partnership.
Alice Ainsworth, Deputy Director of Adult Social Care Technology Policy for the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), and Emma Harris, Assistant Director of Programmes for Digital Social Care Transformation for NHS England, visited Chase House to view how adult social care was being transformed through digital technologies.
Also in attendance were Emma Donnelly, Senior Policy Advisor for DHSC, Shantelle Million-Lawson, Senior Policy Manager DHSC, and Caroline Day, Digitising Social Care Programme Manager & Regional Implementation Lead for East of England for NHS England.
The ICS’s ‘Digitising Social Care’ programme is supported by a collaboration of the four local councils – Central Bedfordshire Council, Bedford Borough Council, Luton Borough Council and Milton Keynes City Council – and the BLMK Integrated Care Board and social care providers. Funding is provided through NHS England’s Adult Social Care Digital Transformation Fund.
During the visit, Chase House showcased how practical, everyday care at the 50-bed home has improved dramatically for residents, thanks to the introduction of a series of leading-edge products.
Dawn McGuire, Registered Manager at Chase House, said: “The technology has made such a positive difference and transformed our care home.
“Our residents are safer and healthier, and our staff are happier because they can now give more time to the residents, while also knowing the care they can give is so much better.”
As part of its ‘Digitising Social Care’ (DiSC) programme, the ICS has supported Chase House with free technology:
- Raizer II – a group of components that fit together to form a chair around a resident to lift them safely and easily from the floor after a fall where there’s no injury
- Whzan Blue Box – a small case filled with all the equipment staff need to closely monitor the health of residents, enabling them to catch problems early and alert clinical staff to enable prompt treatment
- Acoustic Monitoring – a device that checks on residents at night without compromising their privacy, helping prevent falls by alerting care home staff to a resident’s sounds and movements.
With the programme’s help, Chase House has also set up:
- an NHSmail account – a secure email system, particularly useful when hospitals need to share residents’ information with care providers.
The home, which provides dementia, end of life, residential and nursing care, also completes an annual Data Security and Protection Toolkit assessment to ensure it is doing everything it should to keep residents’ information safe in the digital world.
During the tour of Chase House, the team had a chance to speak to care home residents and staff to hear how they’ve benefited from the digitalisation programme.
The visitors also met the project team and digital leads who have played an instrumental role in developing and delivering the DiSC programme.
Caroline Day, Digitising Social Care Programme Manager and Regional Implementation Lead for East of England for NHS England, said: “We are delighted to have been invited to see the success of the Digitalising Social Care programme first hand.
“BLMK’s digitising social care programme is recognised nationally as best practice and is helping to transform the lives of staff and patients at the heart of the service.”
Clare Steward, Programme Director for Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes ICS (Digitising Social Care), said: “We are absolutely delighted that our local programme to improve adult care services through the use of innovative digital products has been recognised nationally.
“Our team has worked tirelessly to promote the technologies available to local care providers and to support their implementation. We are now seeing the benefits that working closely with our care market partners on the introduction of these products can bring to local people, care home residents and their teams.”