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Digital supervision for home care services

See video: Digitalizing Höör's Municipality
Kristoffer Ström

Head of Sales Welfare Sweden, Tietoevry Care

Increasing numbers of municipalities around Sweden are taking steps to digitalise segments of their operations. However, the sheer scale of the digitalisation journey means choices have to be made about which areas are priorities for investment, but the pandemic has forced rapid change and employees have had to quickly adapt to new ways of working.

One of the areas that has been most affected by the pandemic is home healthcare. When it became clear that staff could no longer supervise and deliver homecare to sick and elderly in the same way, or at least not in a safe and corona-adapted way, modern and innovative methods became part of the solution.

The municipality of Höör in Skåne was already at the forefront of developing their homecare digital services offering and were taking part in a pilot project for remote supervision prior to the pandemic.

The pilot project uses cameras that are positioned within the home of the service user which enable digital supervision and visits. For each individual case, an action plan is drawn up in consultation with both the individual requiring care and their family. This plan takes into account the unique needs of the individual and the use of technology is adapted accordingly, for example, the camera may only be switched on when the individual raises their security alarm, or it can be scheduled to come on at specific times during the day.

Commenting about the approach, Emelie Klanjcic, system administrator at Höör munipalicity says:

“We are all citizens and part of the Höör community, and we are all equally worthy of care and respect. This pilot project has been testing remote supervision for some time, with a primary focus on people with dementia. The aim of the project is to give the individual both the security and independence they deserve and that makes them feel good”.

This digital approach has facilitated the continued supervision of the elderly and sick in the community and reduced the need for physical visits. As the distance inspection approach was implemented into the existing Lifecare business system, it was not a leap for staff to start using the service in their daily work where a digital approach was already in place.

“We have received very positive feedback from both those who have accepted the system in their homes and their relatives”, says Carola Frankson from the Höör municipality homecare service team.

According to research carried out by the magazine Framtidens Karriär Socionom (Future Career – Social Work), 89 percent of social workers who answered their survey said that digital supervision/contacts have increased since the corona pandemic started. However only half said they were positive about more client contacts shifting remotely.

What is important to remember is that not all municipalities started at the same point when the challenge of the pandemic hit. Some were already quite advanced in their digitalisation journey and had a few years of working with different types of digital solutions within home care and other care settings; others were caught off-guard and simply did not have the digital infrastructure in place to be able to quickly react and offer digital solutions to those in the community and the workforce.

What is the reality today?

Only once the dust has settled will the effects of the pandemic on the country’s health and social care services become clear. In many places, the effects will continue to impact, and some municipalities will not go back to how it was before.

Digitalisation has not only played a very unique role in an unprecedented time; it has also shown positive applications and outcomes that may not have been completely obvious before. In Höör, the homecare service has not only enabled users to be more independent in their homes, but also contributed to increased safety and security for individuals, particularly those in the older age groups.

Previously, it was common for homecare users to raise an alarm when they were worried, but once we started using the camera service, these calls reduced. This is because the user knows that if they press the button, we are there and able to see and speak to them”, says Carola Frankson.

In Höör, the municipality want to highlight the commitment of the management as a contributing factor to why they have chosen to invest in new technology and service tools.

“I look to the future with positivity. We have a very brave and willing management that wants to continue developing and holds digitalisation in a positive light”, says Emelie Klanjcic.

From this, what can we learn? If we want to know how permanent and successful solutions will be, we must come back to the core question: How quickly are municipalities willing to develop?

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