Another national award win for KCC videophone project

Image of a careworker talking to a female on a video tablet device (kara)

The council’s commissioned digital care programme project ‘Kara’ has won another award at the Health Tech Digital Awards (1 August) coming first in the “Best COVID-19 Solution for Safeguarding the Vulnerable” category.

In March 2020, KCC commissioned healthcare transformation consultancy Rethink Partners and pioneers of virtual care Alcove to launch a programme to deliver up to 2,000 Video Carephone devices to vulnerable people in the county as part of a swift and innovative social care response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

By the end of July 2020, Alcove had equipped 1,700 vulnerable adults with easy-to-use Carephones so they could talk to friends, family, carers and professionals when they were unable to meet due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Image of an elderly man being supported by his careworker using his KARA device

Mr Robert Greenfield using his Kara device.

The Carephones, a 'one touch' secure tablet-type device, provided video-calling to each individual’s support network and an easy way for them to conduct online activities such as ordering essential supplies and staying video connected with their loved ones. KCC support staff were able to continue to closely monitor care needs and ensure that residents were safe and healthy.

Support and training were also given to health and care professionals, including those working in care homes and in the community, so they were able to help vulnerable people in their care to make the most of the technology daily.

Kent County Council member Clair Bell

I am thrilled that this project has been nationally recognised again with another well-deserved accolade for its ground breaking application during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clair Bell KCC Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

KCC's Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, Clair Bell said:

"I am thrilled that this project has been nationally recognised again with another well-deserved accolade for its ground breaking application during the COVID-19 pandemic."

"At a time when our residents were most at risk of the devastating effects of isolation and loneliness, we were able to quickly provide a real lifeline to those most in need, enabling them to continue to live independently and have access to care services to monitor and ensure their ongoing wellbeing."

"This award is testament to the huge positive difference digital solutions can make to our vulnerable residents. My congratulations and thanks go to Alcove, and everyone else involved, for their hard work and dedication in delivering such a wonderful project under extremely difficult circumstances."

Hellen Bowey, CEO of Alcove, said:

"Once again, I am absolutely delighted to see the Kara project being recognised for its life changing role during Covid to the residents of Kent who were desperate to keep in touch with loved ones but had no means to do so via digital (let alone video in a simple, one touch way)."

"I’m even more delighted to announce that since Covid started Kara has gone from strength to strength and has now delivered over 2,700 referrals to Alcove for Kara and 2 million Minutes spent on Kara (that’s over 30,000 hours!) between the wonderfully supportive older and disabled residents, their loved ones and their carers and health professionals."

"It’s just completely game changing. We brought digital in a large scale to the people who needed it most in Kent, and we are very, very grateful for the recognition of this via these national awards. Thank you."