A housing and care provider has recorded a 96% drop in GP and emergency calls after introducing a digital support service.
The service, developed by Blackwood Housing and Care, allows people with disabilities to access remote care 24 hours a day, seven days a week – eliminating the need for staff to be called out or for emergency services to be alerted.
Customers have immediate access to care and support – if, for example, they have a medical issue or are feeling anxious – via video call at the click of a button, with the service provider answering over 2,500 calls per month, with 78% answered within one minute.
Blackwood first introduced a ‘Night Support Service (NSS)’ in 2016 with four customers before transitioning into ‘24/7 Support Service’ in October 2020.
The service has since resulted in a 96% drop in GP and other emergency calls, with customer levels rising by 60%, expanding beyond Edinburgh since launching. Blackwood has also received 98% customer satisfaction rating since the launch.
A Blackwood customer said: “It’s helped me when I’m feeling stressed or feeling down. The service has really helped me with that. The service has helped me talk through how I’m feeling, and it helps me feel a lot better about myself when I’m having really bad days.
“The staff are polite, patient, considerate and honest. Now that the service has moved to 24/7 it’s been a lot better. See if I panic about something that’s when I really, really need the service and that’s when the staff are there to support me through that.
“If it wasn’t for the staff and the 24/7 service, I don’t know how I would’ve been.”
With a growing waiting list and the 24/7 service being extended to customers in Glasgow and Stirling, Blackwood now hopes to offer the facility to other housing and care organisations across Scotland.
Elaine Willis (pictured), Enhanced Team Leader at 24/7, said: “The technology and innovation of our service is the way forward as we are able to resolve issues and identify problems before they become a major issue.
“I’ve worked in the care industry for more than 35 years and I think this is the right direction for the service.”
Willis continued: “Customers with complex needs, who live on their own, often get frustrated or nervous – but by being able to speak directly and immediately with a comforting voice the situation can frequently be resolved.
“The service undergoes assessments, installations and troubleshooting to make sure all the systems are working at their optimum. We also go out to meet the customers face to face to get to know individuals and give the reassurance that we are always on hand.
“The pandemic escalated the number of service users and has helped transform the support service. It is great to give customers the confidence that someone will be on call to help them 24 hours of the day, seven days a week.”