About Digital Telecare
In a drive to provide a proactive digital service fit for the twenty-first century, Linstone Housing Association has embarked on the journey to digital telecare. This will ensure that all warden call systems, group housing and personal alarm units are digital by 2025. As well as demonstrating the Association’s commitment to being a key player in the wider digital transformation and evolving with new technology, the transition paves the way for partnership working on other projects, both current and future. It will also help improve communication between the Association’s residents, their families and staff.
The Journey to Digital Telecare
The journey from analogue to digital telecare has several stages. First, the Association completed a full data check on information with the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), as well as a Maturity Assessment checklist. PEN testing is due to commence, and a Data Protection Impact Assessment is being prepared, based on the outcome. At the same time, the Association is currently researching residents’ requirements (through a survey) and collating the current stock of equipment. Next, the Association wants to explore the use of personal devices within its own sheltered housing developments and in the wider community. Full staff training will be provided, both in assessing residents’ needs and on the requirements of the system.
Benefits for Tenants
The Association will be involving residents’ families in discussions on the telecare services provided. Staff and residents will be supported at every stage, inspiring confidence in the new system. In addition to equipment already in their homes, the move from analogue to digital will enable services to residents to be enhanced. For example, they could benefit from the introduction of other digital telecare devices such as, for example, door wanderer alerts for those in the early stages of dementia.
The Association is working closely with several partners who all want to embrace the new technology. These include Bield Response 24, Chubb, Tunstall, Renfrewshire Council, TECH and Digital Telecare for Scottish Local Government.
One of the biggest challenges facing the Association has been having the confidence to take the next step, secure in the knowledge that it’s installing future proof equipment. The Association has overcome this by looking at what’s currently on the market and in development Additionally, the Association found there to be insufficient information on warden call systems regarding testing and outcomes. However, ARC and the manufacturers are working together to enable a full evaluation to be completed. Not having any specific framework to follow when digitalising warden call systems is another key challenge. The Association has identified that a digital project framework or guidance pathway explaining what needs to happen and when would be very beneficial.
Over and above the many benefits it will offer residents and their families, the transition from analogue to digital telecare provides opportunities:
- for staff involvement and to get an overview of how external organisations operate
- for internal IT staff to consider how the digital system will look outwith the Association and to work in partnership to deliver a working set-up
- to share ideas and allow different options to be considered
- to be involved in trial projects before rolling out the full programme
- to review procedures and major incident policies for the Association’s sheltered housing developments.
Key learning points from the project include:
- it’s essential to involve all partnerships in discussions and agreeing the next stages
- that simply upgrading the interfaces to warden call systems doesn’t constitute an end-to-end digital system
- there is a need to be open and honest, so all the partners can learn from each other
- there’s a requirement for flexibility as timescales can and do shift.
- planning is key, and forward planning and budget requirements should extend beyond the installation period.
About Linstone Housing Association
Linstone Housing Association has around 1585 properties and is one of the largest housing associations in Renfrewshire, with most of the homes in Linwood and Johnstone. Providing excellent homes and services for tenants and to make a positive difference in communities is a key priority.
For further information, please contact:
Maureen Richardson, Digital Transformation Officer, Linstone Housing Association