Following the Government’s advice to self isolate, and Matt Hancock’s challenge[1] to the technology sector to innovatively support the country through the current pandemic, health, housing and social care professionals must connect to understand the benefits of assistive technology.

 

There’s never been a more important time to develop and invest in technology as it can greatly reduce the pressure on the NHS by enabling and supporting social care providers, social landlords, healthcare services, retirement living providers, housing services and care organisations in the delivery of care.

 

During this unprecedented time, technology must be developed to support vulnerable tenants. The main focus should be on reducing the impact of self-isolation and social distancing by enabling proactive care, allowing social landlords to easily offer the help individuals need in an emergency. Technology can also support the capacity of Local Authority community alarm monitoring centres which will benefit all organisations involved.

 

We’ve developed three propositions to respond to the current COVID-19 emergency and bolster contingency plans for similar scenarios in the future. These propositions either support individuals in the care system directly, or provide solutions for the NHS, Local Authorities and Housing Associations.

 

Tunstall Response, Tunstall Connect and Tunstall Integrated Care Platform have been directly developed in response to the current situation and can play a vital role in helping to address the impact of COVID-19, such as the detrimental effect to the mental and physical health of individuals, and can also ensure vulnerable members of society feel cared for. This can be delivered by housing associations and social landlords remotely, including those who are at high-risk, people self-isolating for long periods and those with limited support networks.

 

The Tunstall Response proactive call service utilises our existing community alarm service. Using regular outbound calls, operators can check in, offer advice and appropriately escalate any deterioration in wellbeing to other service providers.

 

We’re also introducing a smart device app, Tunstall Connect, that can enable operators, such as housing associations and social landlords, of Tunstall Response to keep in touch with vulnerable tenants who are self-isolating, without the need for a traditional community alarm system.

 

Our Integrated Care Platform is a proposition which enables sophisticated health monitoring. Users download an app which allows them to record vital sign readings and answer health questionnaires at home. The data can then be remotely reviewed via an online portal which supports management of chronic illness, and provides support for individuals recently discharged from hospital.

 

The current public health crisis, which many would consider the worst for a generation, is placing significant pressures on our health, housing and social care services. Technology can support us in addressing these immediate challenges presented by the current emergency, and offer effective resolutions.

 

Health, housing and social care professionals can also use technology to deliver a robust platform for health and care delivery, connecting people to enable more proactive and preventative care. Investment in technology solutions now will also mean we have a sustainable and scalable network in place should we ever have to face such a crisis again.

[1]“Staying at home and avoiding contact with others will be absolutely necessary in reducing the spread of this virus and ultimately it will save lives. However, we know  isolation is not easy – especially for older people, those who live alone, have mental health problems or those who care for others. If people cannot leave the house, we need to quickly find ways to bring support to them and today I am calling on the strength of our innovative technology sector to take on this challenge.” Matt Hancock, 23 March 2020