Social care goes digital

Published: Thursday, February 10, 2022

New technology is increasingly being used to transform the way older and vulnerable people receive care in Wandsworth.  

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Tony using a video carephone

The Adult Social Care Digital Strategy builds on the experience of the pandemic where digital technology was increasingly used to deliver care and keep people in touch with loved ones.  

In 2021 the council’s Adult Social Care team provided social care to more than 3,800 people, supported more than 750 carers and responded to more than 2,400 safeguarding concerns.  

Older people make up around ten per cent of Wandsworth’s population and this figure is expected to increase. Last year the council spent £49m meeting the needs of older people and people with physical disabilities. A further £43m was spent on supporting people with learning disabilities.  

During the pandemic, the council and its partners rapidly adapted to help people as quickly as possible. Health and care teams worked together to bring in a much faster, streamlined process to help get people out of hospital and back on their feet as quickly as possible after an illness, accident or fall. New technology also began to increasingly be used, including video carephones to enable people to keep in touch with caregivers and family.  

At a recent meeting of the health and social care overview and scrutiny meeting, councillors heard an update on the Digital Strategy as part of the adult social care Transforming the Future project. 

Transforming the Future aims to ensure ongoing improvements to the way vulnerable residents are supported, including preparing for any future Covid outbreaks and looking at new ways of working, including better used of technology.  

The aim is to shift the emphasis away from ‘fixing’ things that are wrong, to working with people to develop their strengths so they can keep well, connected and independent. 

The digital strategy was set up following extensive engagement with people who receive care, care providers and frontline staff. As well as the existing support provided through Wandsworth Telecare and WATCH services, such as pendant alarms, adult social care staff are already able to provide devices such as smart watches, tablets, smart speakers, mobile apps and motion sensors.  They are being trained up to help them use the technology effectively. 

Cabinet member for adult social care and health Cllr Clare Salier (pictured right) said: “In Wandsworth our priority is to ensure people can live independently for as long as they want, with all the care they need.  

“Wandsworth is already the second most effective authority in England for ensuring older people who leave hospital are able to remain living independently in their home. We want to continue to do all we can to make sure people have a comprehensive care package and excellent support when they are discharged.  

“During the pandemic our adult social care staff have done a fantastic job supporting thousands of older and vulnerable people. Now we are looking to the future to find new and innovative ways of providing that care while giving people dignity and control over their own lives.”  

Find out more about adult social care in Wandsworth.