A continued growth of technological innovation is changing all industries as it evolves. In social care, technology is increasingly performing a role in almost all processes. Despite being notoriously behind in terms of the technology, social care is now catching up the latest trends and becoming increasingly prevalent over recent years by adopting solutions such as cloud software, smart home capabilities and AI technology.
Previously it was often only thought of in the modern context of computers, but with the increasing awareness and uses of information related to the observation of patient condition, the effectiveness of different treatments and user-friendly, accessible devices has made numerous breakthroughs.
What is Social Care?
Social care is a wide range of non-medical services which include helping people to live their lives comfortably, support the social needs of individuals or anyone who require a certain practical and physical help. Social care works with the intent to allow individuals to live their life fully and, independently as possible.
How is technology being used in social work?
Today’s technology-based solutions offer countless benefits for social care providers. However, as per several reports, in terms of efficiency, compliance and quality of care, the impact of Technology in the Social Care industry has changed rapidly with the COVID-19 pandemic. The social care sector is going through unprecedented challenges and becomes vital for providers to operate it efficiently. Technologies are helping agencies to overcome barriers in communication between agencies, and family members while ensuing to deliver the latest updates and deliver a more personal care package.
Now the technology is directly being used in client treatment, such as video cameras can be used from follow-up visits with clients to finalizing adoptions by video in court. Text and email services are being used for scheduling appointments and social media for an update.
Technology allows the social care industry in –
- Streamline processes
- In improving efficiency
- Low compliance and safety risks
- Enable smart and more productive work
- Enhance the quality of care services.
However, we should not focus on measurable benefits in social care, such as ROI (return of investment).
Benefits of technology advancement in the social care sector –
Enhance the communication between staff, residents, clients and their families
Technology applications are enhancing the scope of nursing and care staff. It allows social care staff to conduct more and regular and convenient online interactions with their elderly clients and residents. It not only helps them to bridge the communication gap but also assures families and advocates that the proper care and support is being delivered to their loved ones.
Over time, families, residents, and clients are becoming increasingly computer literate. Maybe at the current time, they are not requesting a lot for online touch, but it would not take a long to change societal expectations. Hence the change in technological climate will increase the demand for technology-based communication widely.
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Improve the staff’s social care experience significantly.
Social care professionals are dedicated to their commitment to providing high-quality support and care to the people who are using care services. With the increasing complexity within the administration section in this field has become one of the biggest challenges for staff. Social care work includes a lot of paperwork, documentation associated with care plans, progress notes, funding and assessments.
Technology implementation in this field improves the experience of modern-day social care. It helps staff to focus on their time and work, which allows them to deliver the care in compassionate and considerate ways. It helps staff in spending substantially less time on complicated paperwork and administrative tasks with the implementation of simplified and automated processes.
Enabling greater independence
With the growing technology, wireless sensors and smart appliances are appearing every day. These smart appliances help people to communicate with experts, seek urgent help, reduce their social isolation, as well as maintaining health, fitness and wellbeing. Social care industries now own these appliances for remote monitoring and for timely intervention. Health devices sense the vital health signs and the people movements and connect them to the on-site experts if it finds anything suspicious.
Such technology-enabled care systems can be cost-effective and improve the outcomes, although there are still some limitations in its use.
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Technology helps to boost the company’s morale and improve staff engagement.
There is a wide range of technology-based solutions developed especially for the social care sectors. The introduction of new technology systems for many of the organizations is a process which requires input from the majority of internal stakeholders and convenes between different functions within the organization. However, the implementation process is an opportunity to collaborate with staff of the organization and offers to work together, share, embrace, learn new things, debate and face the challenges effectively. Engaging staff from every corner of the organization helps to improve morale and reduce frustration. It also fosters culture employees understand that they play a vital role and their work & opening matters.
Helps with Funding challenges
Many commissioners and providers have budget constraints and often do not adopt new technologies despite growing evidence of the cost-saving potential. Social care is generally getting lesser funding in comparison to other health sectors.
US social welfare takes interest in-home and community-based care and helps to fund new technology innovations to prevent problems such as hospitalizations. The emergency services are taking a proactive role in the social care sector as they recognize that early strategic involvement.
Additionally, digital-ready devices can be upgraded using broadband and local WiFi systems. However, personal devices should be assessed to ensure that significant systems are not being compromised.
However, it also has been noticed that the social care sector often avoid adopting electronic systems, due to the fear of complexity or because of not suitable to the practical needs of nursing and care staff. But with the increasing requirements and with the practice of an organization’s professional development & dedicated change management approach, social care sectors are increasing technology uses at their work. Additionally, it will help to a long way to improve staff retention and the attraction of skilled employees as well.
A few free digital tools have also been made available, and all care homes have been requested to start using those tools as a priority.
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Technology Standards in social care sectors
The core goal of the technology standards is to ensure that the more social workers can adopt the technology and comply with ethical regulations to ensure to protect the client’s privacy and integrity.
Generally, technology standards specify the below points:
- Social care workers need to manage their communications in a proper manner befitting according to the Code of Ethics.
- Social care must ensure that technologies are easily accessible for their clients, especially elders and those with disabilities.
- Technology helps Social workers to remain proficient in their work fields, and to stay knowledgeable about current research and various professional support materials.
- Social workers need to be able to ascertain whether the particular technology-based intervention is beneficial or harmful according to their requirements, or any other devices need to be adopted.
- Social workers should reveal their identifications and confirm with whom they communicate.
In regards to ethical concerns incorporating technology in social care enable the abilities in accessing information, research, and resources; more expediently communicate with clients; and the ability to provide services to a greater volume of clients.
An efficient, technology-based system works to improve efficiency and productivity while prompting social care workers to look at how they complete other tasks and responsibilities with a fresh perspective. Technology-enabled social care also helps to free up some time for necessary staff to provide the essential personal touch to those who need it most, significantly when those staff are under considerable pressure.
Cost-effective digital technology can lead to better outcomes and has positively changed the field of social care.
Author Bio: Tara Lane is a marketer associated with Outt – social care jobs app. She has expertise in creating new marketing strategies and turning any business into the brand.