This blog is about the housing breakout session held during International Telecare and Telehealth Conference, which was presented under the service technology and integration thread of the conference.
- Jason Lowe, Head of Independent Living Services, Coast and Country/HomeCall
- Shelley Hathaway-Batt, Head of Business Development, Centra
- Sharon Ewen, BR24 Manager, Bield Response 24
Housing is a key piece of the jigsaw!
First up, Jason Lowe set the context by speaking about service integration and the contribution housing can make to health and social care. “Housing is a key piece of the jigsaw!” said Jason. He went on to outline the drivers for change: demographics, rising demand, legislation, policy and reductions in funding. Coast and Country’s independent living offer had moved from being a grant-based service and there was a need to be sustainable. Essentially, it was noted that integration makes sense for people who actually use services – that it is vital to have the right services in the right place at the right time. “For me, integration is about closer working – and all sectors having the energy and appetite to find solutions, collectively,” Jason reflected.
Technology (including assistive technology) is at the heart of Coast and Country’s independent living service, HomeCall. It helps the organisation to be more creative and to join up services – housing with health and wellbeing. Jason said “thinking beyond bricks and mortar” was key. He also stressed the importance of celebrating positive outcomes and being clear about the housing offer. “I feel like we are the poor relations, but housing is more important than health or care to most people for a longer amount of time in their lives.”
It’s not all about the technology!
Next up was Shelley Hathaway-Batt. Shelley said that “it’s not all about the technology!” at Centra. Instead, she said that it was about the service, making technology a part of the daily offering, working with the right partners – and staff. That it was about being bold and breaking boundaries, being truly preventative. Shelley also had a slide showing housing as the missing piece of the jigsaw. Housing associations play a huge role in integration, joining up services for the customers, so why aren’t we integrating?
Centra is all about living their values and keeping the customer at the heart of everything they do. Centra is innovating through a falls prevention service, introducing a low level assessment so they can intervene before people fall. Supporting people in low cost ways and collaborating with the right partners to provide integrated preventative care is essential at Centra. “It’s the only way we are going to make this happen,” said Shelley. “I want to say that we are doing something different, not just doing the same thing in a different way.”
Using existing technology creatively
Sharon Ewen then spoke about the focus on everyday services at Bield Reponse24, which serves 22k customers over a large geography, covering 21 local authority areas. Sharon talked about how they are improving what they do – using what they have – and redesigning services and solutions with partners. Sharon said there is much we can achieve with technology, pointing out that not everything has to be cutting edge and that even the technology used on the Rosetta probe is 10+ years old! It is, said Sharon, sometimes about using technology that is already there and being creative about doing new things with it.
To illustrate, Sharon outlined three projects:
- SureCall – a voice broadcasting service that is allowing Bield to make massive savings while improving services
- CYLON – a building management system that covers 60 of the 380 properties that Bield looks after. This is a simple door camera that reduced what was a four-hour process to just one minute
- The third project was a fire alarm and reset service that Sharon had provisionally titled #WagonBlocking. This is about transforming a responsive service into a more preventative fault and fire detection service
Overall, a key takeaway from the session was that housing has a major role to play in integration and that developing partnerships to deliver an integrated housing offer can make all the difference.
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Lisa Jeffery, Digital Marketing Manager, Tunstall