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GUEST COLUMN: How technology can support an ageing population and enable the sector to keep up with demand

Josh Hough

By Josh Hough, managing director and founder of CareLineLive

The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) is predicting that 57% more adults aged 65 and over in England will require care in 2038 compared to 2018. On top of this, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has highlighted that in 50 years time there will likely be an additional 8.6 million people aged 65 and over. These statistics demonstrate that as our older population continues to grow, the demand for social care will increase at a similar rate.

For those that are elderly or vulnerable and require care, choosing to receive their care at home should be a feasible option. However, many existing challenges in the sector, including real-time visibility on attendance and lack of communication within the ‘circle of care’, means that many people don’t feel confident enough to receive care in their own homes. 

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Many people wanting to receive care in their own homes want to be better informed about home care visits and play an active role in the care they are receiving. Plus, there is an increased demand from all involved within the ‘circle of care’ for improved communication to ensure that a person’s needs are always met. 

Adapting to new processes 

To tackle this, technology is supporting all parties – carers, agencies, those receiving care and their loved ones – to make sure that receiving care at home is a viable option to allow people to remain independent for longer. For example, when the pandemic hit last year, the lockdown meant it was difficult for families and friends to stay in touch with relatives receiving care. By using digital and mobile technology, they have been able to become better connected by receiving updates on visits and changes in medication. This is only set to continue as technology becomes increasingly advanced.

Alongside this, by leveraging the latest cloud-hosted software solutions, many carers have been able to keep up with the rising demand for clients to receive care at home. Streamlining laborious tasks has freed up carers to spend more time caring for their clients. For example, paper based processes like rostering, when digitalised, makes the scheduling of carers to clients quicker, more efficient and allows any last minute changes to be communicated in real-time.

Improving carer satisfaction and quality of care 

Technology has also helped to make the effectiveness and quality of care given more visible. Agencies have detailed information on when their carers are checking in and out of visits, making it easier to respond to events such as carers running late and sometimes being unable to attend their scheduled visits. Call monitoring also provides peace of mind to carers as their last known location is recorded. 

With carers operating under immense pressure, it’s important that agencies do what they can to help their carers feel confident and supported in their role. Carers ultimately want to spend their time caring and getting caught up in time-consuming admin only takes away from that.

The knock on effect is that their workload is eased and they have more time for clients. Ultimately, adopting technology is a way to ensure that your carers are working to the best of their ability, are happier in their role and clients receive the best care possible. 

Predictions on the future of home care 

With the adoption of technology in home care massively accelerated by the pandemic, there’s no reason why this uptake should slow down over the coming months, as more and more agencies, carers, families and clients reap the benefits of going digital. 

Our ageing population and demand for home care is only set to rise, and with people aware of the benefits of receiving care at home, such as greater independence and maintaining your established routines and friendships, we now have the chance to give people more choice about how they receive care. Technology connects millions of people across the globe, from social media to remote working, it’s now time for developments in the homecare sector to continue at pace to meet the demands of our nation. 

Tags : ageing populationCareLineLiveJosh Houghtechnology
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke