These were just some of the questions asked at the Kent County Council (KCC) Digital Event for the Adult Social Care Sector on 8th November 2023 – a conference funded by NHS England to help care providers advance digital innovation in social care services and find the support available in this rapidly growing area.
More than 200 providers, staff, voluntary organizations, care recipients, and interested parties gathered to understand the benefits of digital solutions for people who draw on care and support and how they can help their organisations and workforce.
Attendees found out about the support and funding options in Kent and Medway for adopting digital solutions and were supported to build plans for using digital solutions in their organisations and workforce across the county.
The packed agenda included local and national speakers, featuring the Care Quality Commission, National Care Forum, Skills for Care, NHS, and Kent Integrated Care Alliance (KICA).
In the afternoon, there were several short presentations about data security, care records, automation, and resident safety.
Participants talked about using technology for pain management and whether AI could pick up changes in demeanour or facial movement when someone is unable to articulate speech. Also discussed was whether digital solutions could be used for falls prevention, hydration, and safety.
By using current technologies and ideas for the future solutions, digital can become integrated in everyday social care.
Peter Zein, who draws on care and support services, and is Chair of the Adult Social Care Digital Group, said: “The technology and digital options for people who draw on care and support services are all about giving us our independent lives back and peace of mind to those who care for us.
“Through the Kent County Council Technology Enabled Live program I have been supported not just to be able to call for help but to enhance my independence, and quality of life, every day.
“This conference was a great opportunity to come together with other service users and providers to discuss how to get support now and what is needed for the future.”
Gina Walton, from the KCC Innovation Delivery Team, said: " It was great to see so many providers on the day and there was a real buzz in the room. The day was thought provoking and informative, with providers sharing their challenges and best practice solutions for adopting digital practices.
“They all had the opportunity to visit a marketplace showcasing digital solutions to explore what support is available and consider how, after the event, they will progress their digital journey to help achieve the best outcomes for our Kent residents."
“Through these ongoing conversations with our partners, service users and providers we aim to ensure that we continue to embrace digital solutions and technology to improve quality of care in Kent”
Dan Watkins, KCC Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: "Technology is advancing quickly and it’s great that people across the sector can come together to discuss how to best use what is available to enhance services and residents’ experiences now, and how they could benefit from future advancements.
“Through these ongoing conversations with our partners, service users and providers we aim to ensure that we continue to embrace digital solutions and technology to improve quality of care in Kent and help people live independently for longer."