2022 Vision: Josh Hough, MD & Founder of CareLineLive shares his insights into what the future looks like for social and domiciliary care.
Social Care Crisis
With the UK government pledging to fix the social care crisis, we’re about to see the biggest catch-up programme in the history of the NHS. The hard work and dedication from social care teams throughout the pandemic to look after our elderly and vulnerable population has been vital, and this pledge recognises the important work they do.
Reducing Pressure on the NHS
The NHS is currently attempting to tackle its huge patient backlog which has seen people waiting for tests and scans, made worse by the pandemic. The NHS in England will receive £5.9 billion and it is expected that this will be spent on buying the equipment hospitals need as well as improving IT infrastructure.
However, investing in technologies in home care that can help carers and agency managers streamline their work and offer better patient care can also ease pressures. Efficiencies from using technology give carers more time to care, software also helps them to be more proactive and responsive to potential patient issues before they worsen. The emergency services and GPs, when appropriate, can access carer observations and images to help them with their treatment plans.
As we enter the winter months we will see a rise in hospitalisations and a high proportion of these will be by the elderly and vulnerable. Digitisation and automation of paper-based tasks in the home care sector can reduce these numbers for the NHS primary and secondary sectors.
Increasing the Capacity of the Home Care Sector
One thing that is clear is that continual developments in technology are making a positive contribution to the UK’s ability to tackle the challenges presented by the pandemic. Advancements in AI, as well as an increased appetite for utilising technology in all walks of life, have been a saving grace for many sectors. Domiciliary care agencies have seen benefits from technology that is improving not only the working lives of carers, but the treatment and care offered to clients.
With many wanting to receive care and remain independent in their own homes, it is vital to encourage people into the profession of care too, by making their jobs easier and less stressful with the use of technology.
Re-Energising the Workforce
Despite these improvements, one area of concern for many organisations will be around resourcing and retaining their talent. This has been a problem in the social care sector for many years, with a history of being under-funded and under-prioritised, yet with many industries now experiencing the same level of churn, the new year must provide answers to the talent and skills crisis.
COVID-19 has seen carers celebrated and recognised for their heroic efforts during the pandemic and this must continue. With funding and long-term planning, carers and agencies will be able to offer the care our elderly and most vulnerable need, as part of this we must see continued efforts to digitise and transform the industry. Offering staff smart technology will
help them do their jobs more efficiently and with more ease, ultimately allowing them to spend more time caring for their clients.