Hear my voice | Technology in home care can help, but it’s not a replacement

In this blog a carer in Essex shares her experience of technology in care. It highlights the fact that while technology has the potential to open up new possibilities for the future of care, it should not be seen as a replacement for the core skills and responsibilities, but an aid to them. 

“My experience of trying to look after people with technology is that it is very difficult and often doesn’t work. We had a satellite tracker for my father and although in some ways it gave us a sense of security, mostly it called us when he didn’t need help and when we wanted to know where he was he had left it at home or it wasn’t working. This was not in the flat but when he went out.

Monitoring within the home is a different thing, but people do need human contact not just to be monitored and rushed to in an emergency, when it may well be too late, and mostly when they might need monitoring they will also need help doing day-to- day things as well.

I am very sympathetic with trying to keep people out of institutions and that was really what my father wanted, in the end it was disastrous but possibly he would have preferred that to an old people’s home – we will never really know.  

I think what people who need care, and their carers, really need is a support network and any technology is not a replacement, but an aid. People feel lost in the system; they do not know how to access help. They do not know if that help is going to be good and reliable and they often feel let down. We were lucky to get a company for my father that were reliable and caring and invested in their staff. They believed in social capital and were very helpful in getting a good match for my father and keeping continuity and providing longer visits.

We also were lucky to have family members and friends that could visit and stay with him often. He also had enough money to pay for care, but it was still very difficult – what it is like if you do not have these things I cannot think.

I think the nub of it is that if they are seeing technology as a cost-cutting exercise and a replacement for people it will not work. If they can see it as part of a whole package of investment, including well trained and valued staff who are given time to care for people and support families, then it will be much more successful and may well keep people out of institutions.”

– Anonymous