Jonathan Papworth, co-founder and director of Person Centred Software, explains how technology provides a more human framework for care
We are all acutely aware of the crisis in social care. Not only is high-quality care expensive and time-consuming to provide, an ageing population and staff shortages make it increasingly hard to maintain the standards the sector aspires to.
This saddens me greatly. Not only because our vulnerable elderly deserve exemplary care, but because creative solutions already exist to relieve much of this pressure. Social care should be solely focussed on people – those being cared for, their loved ones and carers themselves.
As things stand though, our highly talented care staff are increasingly embroiled in complex, time-consuming paperwork to provide audit trail accountability. While important, this mountain of process and paperwork has gradually eroded care time.
To fix the problems that exist in care and gear the sector up for the future, we need to keep hands-on care top of the agenda where it belongs.
Technology offers a way to create a new, more sophisticated, human framework for care. Icon-driven apps, for example, have been shown to save each carer over an hour a day in paperwork. Amplify this across a sector that employs an estimated 1.49m staff – more than the entire NHS – and the effects could be truly transformational.
But extra capacity is just the tip of the iceberg. Easy-to-use tech could counteract staff turnover, make a career in care more appealing, and open the doors to many more workers.
By freeing carers to do the job they were hired for, smart technology recently increased retention by 40% for care staff and 33% for nursing staff. Added to this, icon-driven apps can help people who struggle with literacy or have English as a second language, enabling more people to consider a career in care. It is vital that we solve the care crisis for the good of society, health of our nation and the benefit of our future selves. Technology stands ready to do this by putting carers back in the driving seat.