Creating Digital Social Care Professionals

Creating Digital Social Care Professionals

Summary                                                                                                                     

Adoption of technology enabled care services (TECS) is a complex process with a minority of frontline health and social care teams and champion practitioners embedding technology into their day to day processes with vast numbers of practitioners/patients/service users being left behind. As a result, technology is often deployed in an ad hoc way, with its real purpose never being realised. The creation of digital social worker champions would focus on their service users’ needs and preferences and driving their subsequent behaviour change to maintain independence as an integral part of promoting self care to engaged users/their carers. These upskilled digital champions will in turn hopefully cascade their learning & experiences in their local team and area. This outline proposal captures the potential mirroring of our national programme currently focused on digital upskilling of cohorts of general practice nurses, so accelerating digital transformation in frontline local social care settings.

Why was the project undertaken?

To increase the uptake of TEC in frontline adult social care and to showcase what is possible.  Expected substantive cost, social care and quality benefits to include:

  • Increased use of closed Facebook and/or WhatsApp to support social worker colleagues; and/or service users with long term conditions and challenges to independence
  • Encourage patients’ (and/or their family carers’) intelligent use of GP Online (e.g. those with long term conditions accessing their medical records to enhance their understanding of their health condition and treatments/tests and speed/ease of reordering prescribed medication or booking appointments)
  • Increase in service users’ access to self-care information and then shared management of their condition e.g. via trusted apps
  • Service users’ take up of assistive technology & Alexa Echo Show – self purchased or one kit provided by this pilot upskilling programme to make a service user’s home safer and themselves (or family carers) better informed
  • Reduction in proportion of face to face consultations/home visits e.g. substitution by video consultation; or videoconferencing with colleagues at different bases
  • Encourage service user access to self-care information and then shared management of long-term condition
  • Enthusiastic social worker champions in digital delivery of care, enabling increased productivity & efficiencies.
  • Consistent professional approach to TEC by social care staff across the local area/ linking with primary care & the Primary Care Networks.

 Background

The evolution of action learning sets of digital practice nurse champions across Staffordshire STP led to the collation of educational and support resources that include individualised support in work settings, educational guidance, and help with change management.

1. Digital nurse literacy ratings were recorded at baseline and over subsequent months of the action learning sets and applications of TECS and learning and support are based on the 7Cs.

2. This has demonstrated the substantive benefits of practitioner upskilling in frontline settings leading to implementation of technology enabled care as usual service.