With help from the experts, we look at the changing landscape of technology in care homes, and how it can affect overall success.

The demand for technology in the field of healthcare has been steadily increasing in recent years, driven by various factors, such as advancements in technology, changing demographics and the need for improved efficiency in these challenging times.

The UK’s care sector crisis has reached a tipping point, stretching resources more than ever. New research has revealed that *one in every ten jobs in the care sector is vacant, whilst demand for care is at an all-time high. Later living marketplace, Lottie, has seen a 40%** increase in demand for people searching for elderly care services since the start of 2024.

Now, new data from Found CRM (a care home management software) has revealed that the social care crisis most impacts areas of the UK with lower technology uptake, finding the ***North East is the hardest hit region, with the lowest number of social care workers (86,000) across the UK and the lowest technology uptake (less than 10%). 

Almost half of care homes in the South East have adopted technology into their everyday tasks, and have nearly tripled the number of social care workers.

Chris Donnelly, CEO at Found CRM, shared: “It is more important than ever before that the social care sector begins to invest in technology, not only to address the staffing crisis affecting the social care sector, but also to meet the demands of thousands of families desperately seeking elderly care and support.

“The importance of embracing technology in care homes cannot be overstated. It enhances operational efficiency and plays a pivotal role in increasing staffing levels and ultimately boosting occupancy rates,” explained Chris.

Found’s research has also revealed that care homes with a lower technology uptake need help to fill their rooms. 

On average, partners of Found CRM have seen a ****44% increase in resident move-ins since starting on the platform. Care homes without supporting technology miss out on over two-thirds of their care home enquiries.

“Found’s data underlines the urgency of such investments, particularly in regions like the North East, where a combination of low technology adoption and a shortage of social care workers exacerbates the challenges faced by the elderly care sector.

“That’s where software like Found CRM comes in, making it easier for care home managers to track and manage care home enquiries by streamlining administrative tasks, improving communication and enhancing overall efficiency within care facilities,” added Chris.

Health Tech software like Found CRM  will be the driving force of transformation within the care sector, according to Chris.

Electronic systems specifically designed for the care sector offer enhanced data security, improved accessibility and simplified record management, ultimately leading to better care outcomes for residents. What’s more, the reduction in paper usage results in substantial cost savings for care home providers, allowing them to allocate resources more effectively.

“It is more important than ever before that the social care sector begins to invest in technology.”

Alan Pocock, Managing Director at CareDocs, recognise how technology, especially in the coming years, will play a crucial role in enhancing resident care. Whilst technologies such as Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are not yet mandatory for care settings, the NHS’ push for 80% to have them in place by March 2024 is just the first step in introducing them across the UK. 

Alan said: “This advancement in care technology comes with a whole host of benefits that can directly and indirectly impact the quality of care residents receive: from making care records easier to manage in one single centralised place of truth, to utilising data in a much smarter way, where other technologies, such as AI and wearables, can be introduced to make care work smarter. When it comes to technology enhancing resident care, there is a lot of opportunity for care settings to take advantage and lead the charge.”

CareDocs is committed to continually developing the latest technologies within its own software, and supporting the wider care community in the adoption of technology. To do so, the team work alongside regulatory and industry bodies, such as the Care Software Providers Association (CASPA), the Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) and National Care Association (NCA) which helps to ensure that the team’s development roadmap not only meets care professionals growing software needs, but anticipates what the next innovative care features may be.

In terms of how technology supports the safety and security of residents, technology enables homes to ensure that, when providing care, there is one source of truth when it comes to resident information.

“It’s this, along with open communication, process and security, that uphold the safety and privacy of care residents, ensuring no information is mishandled, recorded incorrectly or misused,” commented Alan.

Technology hugely aids in personalising care for residents, and allows care homes to apply smarter thinking when it comes to recording resident care: making highly personalised and bespoke care plans, to implementing AI to anticipate resident needs before they occur. 

Alan sees that technology can have a profoundly positive impact on operational efficiencies across care homes, and said: “Many who implement care management software, especially those who have recently moved from paper records, have found they spend much less time on administrative tasks, productivity has increased and staff can spend more time with residents, providing care.”

Rachel Addley, Executive Director at My Life TV, agrees that technology is driving real change in care; helping care staff to work more efficiently, evidencing their care more effectively and helping support learning, improvement and innovation. 

Care settings are investing more and more in tech solutions to help them deliver the best care possible – whether it be in digitising care records, monitoring symptoms, preventing accidents or managing staff.

But Rachel sees that technology isn’t just about gaining efficiency and effectiveness: “It can also be used to really engage people, enhancing their wellbeing, connecting them with their loved ones and providing meaningful activities and moments for people in care.

“This advancement in care technology comes with a whole host of benefits.”

“We speak all the time care homes who are using smart TVs, touch tables, tablets, VR headsets and other technologies which really bring experiences and memories to life for residents, and enable participation, fun and enjoyment. These technologies support residents to communicate with, and feel closer to, their loved ones, and access a wealth and breadth of resources and content to improve their connection to the world and to each other, through the internet and apps, like My Life TV.”

My Life TV is an on-demand streaming service, designed to meet the needs of people living with dementia, but is enjoyed by a wider elderly audience. We know older viewers often disengage from mainstream television because of the drama, noise, speed and unpredictability of programming and adverts, all of which can cause confusion, and make the content difficult to follow. My Life TV offers life affirming, positive and relevant content, especially created and chosen for our audience, with no ads or confusing drama.

Rachel explained that the content on My Life TV is selected to either relax, stimulate or entertain, and has been very popular in care settings, being both cost effective and simple to access and enjoy. There are programmes to help provoke memories, or those to improve quality of life, maybe by supporting or inspiring hobbies, or by offering activities and pastimes to get involved in. There are interactive programmes like chair yoga, sing-a-longs and quizzes, alongside viewing to sit back and enjoy like nature, wildlife and travel programmes, and of course there’s always time for feel good films and comedies. 

For Rachel and the My Life TV team, it is important to recognise people as individuals, with unique life stories, experiences and interests, which is why there is such a breadth of content available to watch on My Life TV.

Rachel told us how they constantly aim to build on My Life TV’s offer, representing different areas of the human experience: “We frequently hear that there’s something to suit any individual, or mood, from programmes on animals and pets to poetry, gardening to opera, cookery, classic cars to cross stitch… there is also content that brings groups of people together, like reminiscence programmes, encouraging people to share their experiences, or participation activities, like quizzes, art and crafts classes, which create connection and promote enjoyment. We know that the conversations that My Life TV content often starts brings people together and supports relationships, which in itself also leads to more personalised care, when carers know more about the individuals they care for.”

There are, of course, challenges associated with adopting new technologies in care homes, and we understand that care homes are incredibly busy providing care for residents, the foremost priority. 

Rachel explained how the CQC’s March deadline for the digitisation of care records, and also the recruitment challenges felt across the sector, adds further demands. There is always the need for time, focus and investment to implement new technologies and train staff to enable them to get the most out of new resources.

“Ultimately, all technology providers need to design solutions which are user centred, easy to install, access and use, which is what we have looked to achieve with My Life TV. But, the requirement for digitisation across social care, and the breadth of technology being used in care homes now, opens up a wealth of opportunity, providing scope for efficiencies and really enhancing the quality of life of residents for the better,” added Rachel.

The speed and impact of innovations in technology, digital connectivity and things like AI are changing and shaping the way we all live. Rachel believes that the way technology is harnessed and applied in care homes will continue to evolve and progress, with the intention of improving the experience for residents and enhancing their quality of life, and she said: “We are working on developing My Life TV to be of more value to carers and activity providers, supporting their work, and we want to make new programmes, and develop new content, to enrich daily life in care homes, co-creating with care home groups and looking for new ways of doing things, with residents and staff at the centre and technology as the enabler.

The growing demand for technology in care homes signals a transformative shift in the way we approach eldercare. From improving communication to enhancing health monitoring and ensuring a higher quality of life for residents, technology has become an indispensable ally in the caregiving journey. As we navigate the challenges of an aging population, it is crucial for care homes to embrace these technological advancements to meet the evolving needs of their residents. The integration of innovative solutions not only benefits the elderly, but also provides much-needed support for the caregivers and staff. In the coming years, the intersection of healthcare and technology in care homes will continue to redefine the standards of senior living.