Simon Herdsfield, Head of Customer Services at Herefordshire Housing, describes how innovative thinking around care and support using TECS has come to life in Hereford.

I had some great news this week – we’ve been shortlisted for the Telecare Services Association’s Crystal Award for Technology Enabled 21st Century Care and Support. We sent in an entry outlining our work at Henffordd Gardens, Herefordshire Housing’s flagship enhanced living scheme, and we’re delighted to have been successful so far.

Henffordd Gardens is a multi-use city centre development consisting of 30 apartments and 1 three-bed reablement unit, with on-site concierge and support teams. However, what makes it different is that we have firmly embedded technology enabled care services (TECS) into the personalised support we offer residents. Not only are some aspects of technology physically hardwired into the building, but more importantly, TECS is firmly entrenched into pathways and culture. It’s central to how we’ve created person-centric, community-based system of care.

So what does that mean in practice? Well, in terms of the technology, we’ve worked with Tunstall to ensure we’re at the forefront of available solutions, including the Communicall Vi platform which means staff receive relevant information literally at their fingertips, enabling them to prioritise care delivery. This includes a tablet-based dashboard which shows the wellbeing status of residents at a glance, an ultrafast communications system which allows staff to communicate with residents and each other, and provides a platform for telecare solutions. All residents have the means to request help if they need it 24 hours a day, using their personal pendants or speech modules. Support packages may include other sensors such as fall detectors or bed occupancy sensors which will raise an alert if the user leaves their bed and fails to return after a pre-set time period.

Henffordd Gardens was also one of the first schemes in the country to have an information kiosk in its communal area, which gives all residents free, secure internet access. The kiosk enables residents to report a repair, check their rent balance, do online shopping and much more with ease in a secure online environment and with the support of staff if required. The scheme also features a digital notice board, a large wall mounted screen in the communal area providing all the latest news, weather and information about social events relating to Henffordd Gardens. Residents can also use myworld, a range of tailored apps on a tablet which gives users the power to view, request and schedule appointments such as care visits, order meals, find out about social events and send and receive messages and emails to and from family and friends.

Henffordd Gardens is a hub for the provision of numerous services, such as reablement and domiciliary care and provides a health & social care access point with facilities available for GP services, district nurse and social workers. This supports the effective delivery of integrated, person-centred care by enabling professionals delivering multiple services to agree together the best means of supporting service users. A concierge service is also available from 8am to 8pm, providing intensive housing management, and giving service users access to benefit advice, referral to support services, and facilities management.

As a not-for-profit provider it’s especially important to us that we are as effective as possible, to enable more funding to be directed to providing excellent services to the people we support. We believe that Henffordd Gardens has proven that it is possible to create a sustainable model of individualised care which supports mental and physical needs, and enables people to live life to the full. It moves TECS solutions from an abstract concept to a warm and welcoming home which helps people to feel safe, cared for and confident, creating an aspirational place to live.

We’re encouraged that this been recognised by the TSA; all I have to do now is wait for 17 November when we’ll find out whether we’ve been successful!