Home Opinion How digitalization is transforming the adult social care sector

How digitalization is transforming the adult social care sector

by Kirsty Kirsty

David Rowe-Bewick, CFO, National Care Group

Almost every sector in the UK has had to embrace digitalisation over the past decade to ensure maximum efficiency – and adult social care is no different. David Rowe-Bewick, Chief Financial Officer at National Care Group, discusses how introducing new technology has transformed the ways of working for the business.

A sector stuck

Historically, the adult social care sector hasn’t been at the forefront of technological advancement, with paper admin dominating processes across both public and private sector organisations. Combined with an average colleague age of 45, introducing new technology can be met with some resistance, compared to younger industries.

At National Care Group, we continually look at ways to adapt and evolve to benefit both our colleagues and the people we support. Having started to investigate new systems for our team in 2019, the Covid-19 pandemic rapidly accelerated the requirements for tools that could promote a more collaborative and innovative way of working, particularly with our operations spanning across the breadth of England and Wales.

We could no longer rely on tried and tested methods for day-to-day activities, including tracking colleague training, managing rotas, support plans and many other aspects of the business. Instead, we launched our digital approach, which has had an incredibly positive impact across the board.

Time for change

Over the past year, we’ve invested more than £100,000 in technology across our business, from head office to regional services. Electronic platforms have been introduced to provide a central record for our colleagues that includes payroll, personal data, and a 12-module training plan. Linking these ‘best in class’ platforms together ensures we can be confident that the people we support are always assisted by colleagues with the required and up to date training.

The obvious benefits we’ve experienced are improved efficiency, with a cohesive approach for every service and every colleague – no more stacks of paper in the office. This has reduced the possibility of information, such as training certificates, being misplaced and has heightened data security, helping National Care Group to stay in step in the digital era.

Our colleagues now have one platform to view all their data, which is simple and effective to use and gives them more autonomy in accessing this.

Through the introduction of new digital processes, we’ve also reduced admin time for our registered managers, allowing them to focus more time on the people we support and their needs, and not on lengthy paperwork.

For the people we support, we’ve invested in technology to boost their wellbeing. The isolation of Covid-19 meant that poor behaviours increased, as people couldn’t see their loved ones and often struggled to navigate the consistently changing rules. By providing electronic tablets and training on how to use them for both our colleagues and the people we support, they were able to make connections in a challenging time. Furthermore, we have seen the tablets continue to be used for communicating with loved ones and developing important digital life skills in the process.

However, none of these positive improvements would be possible without training, which underpins any changes we make. Going digital can be a challenge and new systems take time to embed. That’s why we’ve delivered concentrated sessions to ensure our colleagues are a part of the process of introducing new technology and have a platform to ask questions and share feedback.

Often it can be difficult to engage colleagues with new tools due to fear and misunderstanding. National Care Group encourages open conversation across all layers of the organisation as this has proven to be a key to success.

Future-proofing for success

Technology will continue to improve and evolve, and we’re eager to ensure we’re evolving with it. As we look to the future, the digitalisation of care plans for the people we support is improving the service we offer and changing the company for the better. As a relatively new approach, there isn’t necessarily one platform that caters for the diverse range of needs we support yet, but we’re prepared to investigate every avenue to ensure our colleagues and the people we support can unlock their full potential.

www.nationalcaregroup.com

Image depicts David Rowe-Bewick, CFO, National Care Group

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