13/03/2024 - Permalink

Shropshire’s Virtual Care Programme expands its support for adult social care

Related topics: Adult social care / Health

Shropshire’s virtual care programme is going from strength to strength, and 62 adults have now received technology-enabled-care through Shropshire Council’s virtual care delivery team.

A man is sitting in a sofa and smiling at a screen with a video call taking place

The virtual care project connects users to the virtual care delivery team through devices in their homes.

The project is delivered in partnership with domiciliary care providers, My Home Life England and technology-enabled-care suppliers.

The success follows funding of £1.2m from the Government’s Adult Social Care Technology Fund, which was awarded to Shropshire Council in October 2023 to support the development and delivery of virtual care, using the latest technology to support social care services for adults in the county.

The service provides support such as reminders for mealtimes and medications, prompts for personal care, and support for people with mental health needs or learning difficulties. Adults of all ages are now using virtual care services in Shropshire, with 12% under the age of 35, 38% between the ages of 35-69, and 50% aged 70 and over.

One user is Annabelle, who is 55 and has neurological difficulties following strokes and seizures. Annabelle lives alone and has difficulty with short-term memory. Annabelle has had a Genie Connect device installed in her home, which connects her to the virtual care team for regular wellbeing calls, and has reminders set up to help with daily tasks.

Annabelle said:-

“If I have a problem, I know I can ask (the virtual care advisers) and talk it through with them…I wouldn’t know what day it is or what I need to do, without Genie.”

With support from a virtual care adviser Annabelle has been encouraged to join a local craft group, for regular company with a community group who share her interests. The project has helped to reduce loneliness, whilst increasing independence.

The second year of the project is set to launch in April 2024, and includes the introduction of a new device using motion sensor technology which will allow support for more complex needs.

Another next step is to recruit domiciliary care providers to join the project and deliver virtual care through their service, to provide more innovative and sustainable ways to meet care needs.

Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said:-

“The feedback we have already had from people using the virtual care service in their homes has been brilliant.

“It would simply not be possible to provide this level of interaction face-to-face, and is a welcome reassurance for people who need a low level of care at home or would like to have other options.

“Using technology to reach more people, more regularly, is the perfect solution to delivering domiciliary care services across a rural county like Shropshire. By helping our residents to live independently in their own homes, we can support better health and wellbeing and prevent the need for more urgent care.

“The next phase of the project will see even more people supported with this promising technology, and Shropshire is leading the way.”

Read Annabelle’s case study in full: Case Study [Shropshire Council]