What's happening?

Care company searches for more staff as it pilots new technology
27 Oct 2015
by Dani Wozencroft

A care company in Shropshire is looking to take on eight new members of staff to enable it to pilot a new technology which would revolutionise the care industry in the UK.

Carewatch (Mid Shropshire) is vying to become the first care firm in the UK to introduce personalised care tablets to each customer who can request help at the push of the button.

The technology, which does not yet have a name, means elderly and disabled people who need domiciliary care are not restricted by the schedule of their care worker.

Steve Harris, director of the company based in Stafford Park, Telford, said so far it has proved successful – but they need more people to take it to the next step.

He said: “We have held a very small pilot but it has proved that the technology works.
“The functionality of it works well, but now we want to test it for real with a view to offering it to every one of our customers.

“We need a pool of eight members of staff who can, in essence, be on standby to react to any calls for help made through the tablet technology.

“It will work in the same way as a pull cord for people in sheltered accommodation – but our customers will still live independently and press a button to call for assistance.”
Mr Harris said the social care portal would also provide a way of reminding customers when to go to the pharmacy or take a prescription, holding video calls with family members, view favourite websites or join in with exercises classes streamed online.

Mr Harris is buying the software from an American company and will be the first care provider in the UK to purchase the hardward and configure it for customers.

“This is a way to look at a customers’ well being, making sure they are not isolated in their own home.
“It is not just telehealth – which exists in a different format.

“This scheme turns the home care system on it’s head and puts the needs of the customer at the centre of everything and builds the system around them, rather than what the company is able to provide at a certain time.

“We hope it would be the end of the stories you hear of someone only being able to go to the toilet in a 10 minute period at 9am when their care worker comes in the morning. If they need the toilet they can press the call button and someone can come and help them then.”

The easy-to-use tablet has a simple interface is simple and allows seniors to communicate, search the web and message with ease.

It has features such as clear, large bold writing to ensure the user can easily navigate their way around the device.

It is hoped that the staff to enable to pilot project to proceed will be taken on shortly and the technology can be rolled out after Christmas.

This is the second type of new technology to improve the industry that Mr harris has introduced in his company this year.

For the past two months his staff, who cover Shropshire and Staffordshire, have been using a mobile app to document their work.

The paper-free working was developed by Mobizio with Mr Harris’ input.

“We were one of the first few companies to introduce this app and so far it has been stable,” he said.
“Family members are now taking it on board and using the app to share information about their family, our customers.
“It is expanding very quickly and has enabled us to make about 10per cent savings on administrative costs.

“Staff have adapted to it very well and it has streamlined the way we communicate with our staff, improving our quality of care as a result.”

A Prototype of the new tablet to be used by Carewatch (Mid Shrops)

A Prototype of the new tablet to be used by Carewatch (Mid Shrops)