In most aspects of our lives, we value information. We seek out independent reviews before buying a new fridge, we check the weather forecast, we look at reports before choosing a school or university – we use technology to gather information to help us to make a more informed choice – to choose the fridge that’s right for us, to know when to go for a walk, to identify our preferred education option.
But when it comes to care, the shutters come down when we mention technology
“Yes but technology doesn’t replace human contact”
“Not sure Mum would like that”
“I don’t think we need it yet”
Let’s get one thing straight, TECHNOLOGY DOES NOT REPLACE HUMAN CARE. Of course, it doesn’t – and it’s not designed to. But what technology, like telecare, can do is help us make better, more informed choices about the care needed.
As Melanie Newdick, a carer and Non-Executive Director to NHS Highland said
Having information has totally transformed our understanding of my Mum’s dementia.
We can see that she wasn’t eating properly because we could see that she wasn’t in the kitchen long enough to prepare a meal; when the heating packed up we knew almost straight away because the temperature had dropped by one degree. More recently we’ve seen that her sleeping has become really erratic and we’ve been able to help with that.
By having information, we can identify changes in behaviour, we can see any areas where a little more support is needed, such as mealtimes or bedtimes, and we can make decisions based on fact.
Armed with information, we can make better decisions sooner – solving the issue and avoiding the crisis….therefore keeping people in their own homes and out of hospital for longer.
And those being cared for have said, according to Melanie Newdick:
…that having information has made them feel more in control. It’s given them the confidence to do things they haven’t done. It’s reduced their anxiety and worry because they can see how they are doing and they’ve made better choices because they can understand the impact of things upon their health. Just by having information they’ve made better choices. I think that’s pretty amazing.
Surely this is a better way to care – what are we scared of?