TECHNOLOGY should be prioritised in social care as a way to combat loneliness.
That’s the call from Alcove, a care technology company that works with local authorities across the country.
The company has published an open letter to Baroness Barran, minister for loneliness, calling for the Government to support councils in prioritising investment in video-led technology.
Hellen Bowey, CEO and co-founder of Alcove said: “Of the more than 850,000 people in the UK receiving state-funded social care, many are currently being forced to shield in a bid to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
“While the majority of the nation has been able to rely on the internet for food shopping, banking, entertainment and keeping in touch with loved ones, many care residents will have no access to online services, and be forced to rely on outdated analogue technology for their daily care needs.
“The pandemic has highlighted many of the inequalities in society and the very real need to protect the vulnerable people in our communities.
“By implementing a standard of care through video technology, authorities and providers can ensure lonely individuals can see and speak to real people they know and love, including carers and health workers, whilst delivering enhanced quality of life, significant savings in care provision and allowing peace of mind for friends and family.
“As the rules around shielding look to change, many in our society will feel anxious or nervous about getting back into the real world and feel they are making a choice between their mental and physical health.
“Providing access to video technology would provide an emotional lifeline for many of those who feel they should continue to shield to protect themselves from the virus.
“That is why local authorities and care providers need to start taking digital and video tech seriously, and this needs to be led by our Government.
“Our reliance on analogue panic buttons for elderly and disabled adults is outdated, regressive and costly – and we could and should be doing more.
“Care technology is already saving lives in our communities, so I am asking the Government to do more to support the rollout of technology across our social care system.”