At this year’s ADASS spring seminar, incoming president Glen Garrod told delegates a pinch of “creative disruption” was needed to find solutions to the problems facing adult social care.
In his speech, Garrod made particular reference to opportunities surrounding digital technology, arguing that new approaches towards the delivery of care could help people lead “more independent lives”.
Hampshire and Oxfordshire councils have embraced the potential of new technologies. Within the last year, both councils have worked with Amazon to explore how its voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant, Alexa, can deliver more personalised care to service users and relieve pressure on a stretched social care workforce.
Being home to one of the most expensive cities in the country, director of adults’ social care at Oxfordshire council Kate Terroni says the national challenge of recruiting and retaining social care staff is only too real in her county.
She says the local authority is faced with the challenge of finding and keeping staff with the right skill set to support a population with increasingly complex needs.
More on assistive technology:
- Sensor-activated social work: how assistive technology helps maintain contact and control living space
- Using assistive technology to help residents become fully independent
Reducing demand on the workforce has been a core motivation behind Oxfordshire’s exploration into the potential uses of assistive technology, which Terroni hopes could “supplement and support” staff in the future.
This year, the council used its innovation fund to finance an Alexa trial, specifically focusing on how the voice assistant, housed in an Amazon Echo device (a voice-activated smart speaker), could reshape the way social services provide daytime support to people.