Hannah Williams, national care account manager at Sky, looks at how investing in Wi-Fi is opening up opportunities for innovation in care homes.
Speaking at a roundtable event at the Danish Embassy in January, Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector of adult social care at the Care Quality Commission (CQC), hailed the positive impact that new digital technologies were having on care delivery and called on care providers to embrace innovative digital platforms.
This is the latest sign that the social care sector is waking up to the significant opportunities presented by digitalisation to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of care plans. Central to this move towards better technological integration is the role of Wi-Fi.
An increasing number of older people use the internet regularly, with women over the age of 75 seeing a 169% increase in recent internet use since 2011. Care home populations are becoming more digitally connected and investing in a Wi-Fi package can help to promote residents’ independence, allowing them to interact easily with the outside world. With the help of Wi-Fi care home residents can easily keep up with friends and relatives through social media or occupy themselves with hobbies such as reading or watching videos online.
However it is by improving the efficiency of care delivery that Wi-Fi can have the greatest impact in the care sector. Electronically connecting caring staff opens up opportunities to incorporate innovative digital technologies into care planning, allowing care providers to access and share medical data more easily and deliver efficient, personalised care.
An example of the kind of valuable technology that Wi-Fi can allow care providers to access is Sekoia. Sekoia offers a suite of digital applications designed to assist carers, such as electronic incident logs and digital care plans. With the help of Wi-Fi, care home staff can use such tools throughout the home, cutting out inefficient paper trails, reducing overheads and mistakes, and allowing them to focus on delivering high quality person-centred care.
Purchasing a quality Wi-Fi package would thus represent a sound investment for care home operators, allowing them to streamline their business and reduce the amount of working hours that are consumed by bureaucratic tasks.
The deployment of tailored Wi-Fi packages in care homes can also help to demonstrate innovativeness and forward-thinking in care delivery, and can provide the means for homes to stand out from their competitors. With digital technology playing an increasingly important role in the care home environment, investment could support care providers in securing the highest inspection ratings.
There is huge potential for innovative new technologies to improve outcomes in the care sector, and investing in a solid Wi-Fi package is the first step to exploiting this exciting opportunity. Care providers seeking to improve their attractiveness should look to technology to set themselves apart from the competition.