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Prevention technology in a box? It really is as easy as 1,2,3…

Director of ARMED, Brian Brown, talks about the current pandemic, how it is changing the world of social care, and how technology has to play a part now…and in the future.

Director of ARMED, Brian Brown, talks about the current pandemic, how it is changing the world of social care, and how technology has to play a part now…and in the future.

COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed current care delivery and I speak to providers of care on a daily basis who are facing the same challenges and concerns. For many, it has forced rapid transformations and alterations, a process that would have normally involved numerous policies and procedures being drawn up and reviewed over many months, with no guarantee of implementation at the end.

This new way of working makes me wonder whether, in the end, lessons can be learnt, and social care will see the transformation it has needed. Professionals are working differently, using new resources and seeking out technology that can support care quality and delivery. Technology is really coming into its own and although the benefits have always been acknowledged, now they are being taken seriously.

The UKHCA (United Kingdom Homecare Association) has estimated that before COVID-19, 7.21 million homecare visits were made in England each week. A new survey indicates that around 1.2 million of these visits have been cancelled in the last fortnight.

Worryingly, this follows news that hospitals have been discharging patients early to free up beds for coronavirus patients. They have been asked to seek help, if needed, from community and home care services, but with a home care sector that was already under huge strain before the pandemic, are these individuals really getting the current support they really need?

Keeping individuals safe during this isolation is something all health and social care professionals are concerned about. Who are they? Where are they? What will happen if they don’t get the support they need? Prevention is better than cure, especially for a health system which is desperately trying to keep people out of hospital.

Technology is providing a lifeline to all of us during this time. Working from home, keeping in touch with family and friends, and ordering items online is something we are doing regularly, as we adjust to this temporary life. But what if technology could also be a preventative health measure for those who are vulnerable in the community?

Negative changes to a person’s daily health and activity levels would normally be picked up by a health professional on their regular support visit. When that is taken away, we anticipate these scenarios will only increase, as these vulnerable individuals become invisible.

This is why we are offering our wearable prevention technology platform for free for three months. ARMED technology can monitor from afar, helping to identify risks earlier in the care cycle, enabling prevention and early intervention whilst at the same time supporting self-management.

What we do know currently is that although technology can provide a solution to the care crisis, providers and authorities also don’t have the headspace or time to deploy new solutions. 

We’ve recognised this, and made it as simple as 1,2,3.

Technology is changing, it has been for some time. What has been brought to light is how it could now hugely reduce the burden on healthcare professionals, while strongly supporting the concept of ageing well and preventing further health issues.

What is also enlightening is that we know, from others that have used our wearable technology, that individuals feel empowered by it. Users are more aware of their own activity levels and health, and self-care will continue to be an important factor in reducing pressure on the NHS.

More interestingly is that ARMED users have also said they feel connected and secure. ARMED can provide data and analytics to a range of professionals, including family, connected to that individual, so they are assured that their daily activity levels are being monitored and any issues will be alerted.

The ability to support individuals, particularly when living far apart during this period of isolation, is key to providing valuable insights at an earlier stage.

This crisis has certainly highlighted the way the care sector operates. When normal life resumes, there will be further pressure as health and social care professionals find a way to cope with the backlog of non-urgent referrals.

We expect a social care reform like no other. With 1.5 million people aged over 65 already having an unmet need for care, this could certainly escalate following the pandemic. We hope to see technology at the very centre of this reform.