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Technology and Digital Options in Social Care to Support Independence

NHSX is providing funding of £8.2 million to support the digitisation of social care administered via Integrated Commissioning Systems. (ICS).

Regional ICS Digital Transformation Project

The funding is to pilot digital social care technology with integrated care systems (ICSs) to include:

  • infrastructure to improve access to high-speed connectivity and devices for care providers
  • fall prevention technologies that can reduce the frequency and severity of hospital admissions
  • digital social care records (DSCR) to ensure data is captured at the point of care and can be shared between care settings

Dudley is part of the Black Country ICS programme and is supporting registered care services to access funding for these initiatives over the next 2-3 years, the national expectation is that all care services will have digital social care records by 2028.

The take up of the Digital Transformation Fund opportunities continues to be a priority for Dudley and the expectation for use of technology that supports and complements the delivery of care and support to improve outcomes and efficiency will be a key feature in future contracts, procurement and market engagement.

Local Dudley Projects

In collaboration with local social care providers, Dudley Council has undertaken a project to successfully implement innovative, evidence-based, digital technology systems which support delivery of care in a more person-centred way. This has been undertaken under a two-tier approach.

The first tier focuses on specialist technologies in the form of Dudley’s offer to care providers to participate in the RITA (Reminiscence Interactive Therapy Activities) project. RITA enables individuals and their families/carers to engage in meaningful interaction by using apps, games, and other digital activities as part of their care and recovery whether this is in hospital or any other care setting. This has shown to benefit a person’s wellbeing, independence, and lifestyle.

This work has been recognised in that Dudley Council has won the Local Government Awards in two categories for the use of RITA. As a result of this success and benefit for residents in Dudley care homes, it is our intention to expand the offer of RITA system to more service areas within the Dudley Borough.

The second tier is focussed on increasing use of everyday technology by care providers and citizens. The aim of this has been to increase connectivity, reduce loneliness and promote independence through empowerment. Initially commenced during the Covid 19 pandemic where it proved to be beneficial to services, residents, and their families, the project continued to expand and diversify enabling access to people receiving care and support in the community. The use of everyday technology will continue to be a key commissioning intention for all service areas where we intend to measure the impact of technology and how this can complement social care services and help improve outcomes.

Telecare

Dudley Telecare currently has approximately 7,000 connections, linked to our fully integrated monitoring and response centre in Dudley. We offer a range of carefully selected products, all designed to help people to remain living safely and independently in their home. Assistive technology products and alarm systems provide support to people, through their link to the Dudley Telecare Service, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Our Vision continues to be to support people, of all ages and abilities, to remain living securely and most importantly independently, in a way that they choose, reducing the need for formal/restrictive models of care.

Dudley is particularly focused on promoting strength-based approaches to both assessment and delivery of assistive technology and are currently making investments to upgrade all our equipment from analogue to digital ahead of the national network switchover by 2025. Making this investment will give greater scope across the marketplace to reach more people and bring in additional revenue, taking advantage of co-production and partnership working across the borough.

Adult Social Care Portal

As part of the council’s commitment to Digital Transformation, the Dudley Adults Portal has been established providing a clear access point that operates 24/7 for stakeholders to:

  • engage with the council
  • undertake self-assessments
  • carer registration and assessment
  • initiate contact and service requests
  • report safeguarding matters
  • request financial assessments
  • make therapy and specialist referrals on the Citizen Portal
  • find information and advice
  • manage payments for commissioned care via the Provider Portal

Typically, all referrals can either be done by the resident or a professional. The portal has a 'Professional Area' and it is through this that the Provider Portal can be found.

The Provider Portal is for commissioned providers to interact with the council in relation to their commissioned activity to manage payments, access purchase orders and produce reports.

The Adult Portal can be accessed via this link for more information.

The Adult Portal has a number of new portal developments planned for 2023/2024 these include the development of the Market Place.

The Market Place consists of three elements:

  • Directory – a directory of council commissioned and approved services
  • Brokerage – a brokerage platform that will manage the referrals out to the commissioned market and social care frameworks where providers may bid for packages of care / new placements
  • Care Finder – a directory of care, support community opportunities and support including all non-commissioned and user led service options. This is anticipated to be especially useful for people with Direct payments personal budgets and or self-funders

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