Digital Transformation Fund – Independent Living

Digital Transformation Fund – Independent Living

Blog written by Dafydd Owen, Project Lead for Pembrokeshire Local Authority.

Last week we completed our final show and tell as our WLGA Digital Transformation Fund project is nearing the end. 

The projected aimed to ‘’Engage and promote the use of potential preventative technology into people’s lives, before they are in need” by developing approaches that would see if introducing technology at an early enough stage in a person’s life when they still have capacity to learn new tasks and skills, could be built upon, when the need arises.

The first approach centred on the creation of an online product guide to include a library of assistive technology devices, as well as a list of traditional Telecare services/products, supporting service user case studies and a digital support solutions section.

At present, the product guide is nearing completion and has received its first clinician review.  Feedback has been positive and early suggestions are that the guide will be a valuable resource to support clinicians with the relevant products and services available, depending on their service user needs. Edits to the case studies and additional product inclusions are continuing ready for internal and local 3rd sector publication, with a roll out schedule for the guide being April 2023. Talks are continuing on the development and future inclusion of the additional quick review guide. 

The guide completion process has led to the procurement of a supporting library of assistive technology equipment and devices. This will enable the team to provide suggestions and demonstrations to clinicians based on their service user needs, as well loan devices for trial purposes where necessary. The team will continue to develop necessary training tools on the assistive use of these devices, as well as the identification of relevant service users in the community to trail these devices.

Completion of the guide has proven to be an evolving process resulting in the continuing need for additional research and understanding, leading to more development than originally thought. With this need to learn and understand more, alongside technological developments as they occur, the guide has become a ‘living’ document. Once available, the guide with be reviewed on a biannual basis, with any significant product updates or case study examples, rolled out on an ad hoc basis.    

Our second approach is the engagement process targeting differing audiences within the county. As a team, we have continued to provide talks and demonstrations within our specified group demographics and future visits planned with all target specific groups. 

Feedback from direct engagement has been very positive and informative so far, reinforcing the need for this process to continue within all groups.  As a process, these discussions enable us as a team, to address and understand aspects of Telecare and assistive technology support, not previously discussed. For example, a recent college visit with health and social care students highlighted the potential problem of blockers; be it financial means or ability. These are possible restrictions not previously raised within older group talks, underlining the differing social demographics found within each group, which supports the need to continue the direct engagement process. Networking with primary and 3rd sector health and social services throughout Pembrokeshire has further continued and led to a number of local doctors surgeries to approach the team to set up demonstrations.   

The digital engagement aspect of the project has also continued to grow. We have recently attended the Hywel Dda Digital Inclusion in Health Launch networking event in Carmarthen and are due to attend the International Technology Enabled Care Conference in Birmingham. On a local level, we were invited to work alongside Pembrokeshire County Council’s Digital Library of Things development, with the aim of helping to promote social care and council services using a digital platform. 

As with the guide both direct and digital engagement processes will continue, with the aim of increasing networking and improving multi-service approaches to assisting independent living for service users in the community.

Finally, we would like to thank WLGA Digital Team for the support and awareness they have provided to the team to enable the successful completion of this project.  As a process, it opened up a large group of like-minded people in Wales to showcase what we are aiming to achieve and why.  The WLGA Digital Transformation Funding available also enabled council colleague Paula to focus her time on helping research and develop the guide, as well as procuring the store of assistive technology equipment and devices.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *