Everyone doing their bit to improve lives, health and wellbeing, but in coordination
In Cardiff, Leeds and Bristol broad-based collaborations are working together with inQube to develop an asset-based and technology-enabled approach to support older people’s independence and wellbeing in the community, which is co-created and produced with older people.
As well as older citizens themselves, there are a wide variety of organisations involved including third sector organisations, social enterprises, housing associations, commercial organisations, council housing and social care and NHS organisations.
Instead of individual organisations thinking they know best what older people need and focusing on their individual services to give them what’s good for them, the collaborations have instead got together with the older people themselves and listened to what they said.
They discussed what was important to them, what was good about living in their neighbourhood and community and those things that were already available to them, as well as what could be improved and how and what their priorities were.
The Shared Well partner organisations then worked together with each other and the older people who wanted to be involved, to design better ways of working which addressed the priorities of the older people and made much better use of all that was available to them. They also co-produced the technology tools to support these new ways of working.
Small cycle change
Rather than doing all the thinking up front and introducing the new ways of working and their supporting technology tools in one big step, the collaborations worked in a rapid and iterative manner, learning by doing and evaluating continuously.
They initially reviewed all they had learnt from the older people and agreed an agenda for action, which focused on the highest priority areas and did something to address them, delivering value within a matter of weeks.
There was no analysis paralysis, as all agreed that the most important thing was to experiment and try things out for real, because only by doing so, would they know whether they were on the right track or not.
By feeding back and changing continuously and taking stock every few weeks to reflect and replan where necessary, the collaborations have made great strides really quickly and ensured that everything they did was practical and worthwhile.
Building on each others strengths
In each city, the collaborations started at a different point and the local partners are different, although some national organisations are partners in more than one collaboration. However, they all share a similar vision and a broadly similar approach.
Each collaboration started with different pieces of the jigsaw already in place and have focused on different parts and have therefore been able to help each other progress more quickly, sharing and building on each other’s work.
Where there were good ideas, tools and evidence of what worked from other schemes sharing some of the same objectives as the Shared Well collaborations, these have also added to the wider learning, often with benefits flowing both ways.
How does Shared Well work for older people?
Shared Well puts older people in the centre and helps them make the best of all that is available locally to improve their lives and stay safe, fit and well in their own homes, neighbourhoods and communities.
A Community Navigator from a local organisation gets to know what matters to you and what you want to get out of life and how you would like to be involved yourself, as well as understanding your needs and preferences.
They then work with you to pull together around you all the people, organisations, activities, events and services that match your preferences and needs, arranging things and making bookings and referrals as necessary to get everything going.
Everyone involved is connected up around you through your own personal Shared Well system, which makes it possible for them to keep in touch, share the information and coordinate their activities.
You get to choose who is in your team, which can include family, friends and neighbours, as well as professionals and volunteers from all sorts of organisations. You also get to say who sees what, so you’re always in control and you don’t have to repeat the same thing again and again.
As everyone can work together effectively, everything’s a lot easier and the smart technology helps everyone spot any problems early on and ensure the right things happen, giving you the peace of mind that everything’s under control.
What is special about the Shared Well technology tools?
Firstly and most importantly the Shared Well technology tools have been co-produced by older people themselves to support the new wholistic, citizen-led and cross-sector ways of working.
Gives each citizen their own integrated system:
- Supports all dimensions of their life
- Links up everyone to them, as opposed to the other way around
Gives each citizen control over:
- who is involved with them
- what access each person has to their system, apps and data
- avoids information governance and data protection roadblocks
Connects everything else citizens and their teams need to get things done:
- personal apps and devices
- professional systems and services
Enables family, friends, carers, neighbours, volunteers and professionals across all sectors
to collaborate, communicate and share information more effectively in personal support networks around individual older people.
Helping the helpers
The experience of many trying to work with the variety of people and organisations involved in the care of an older person is often very frustrating. All too frequently the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, even within the same sector, and, as a result, people do not know who is doing (or not doing) what and important things go unnoticed, falling between the cracks. As well as being frustrating, this lack of coordination and appropriate information sharing can be dangerous.
The rules and regulations set in place to safeguard the privacy and confidentiality of the individual and their application, too often make it almost impossible to work together effectively. This is especially true when statutory organisations are involved, making even communication difficult, much less sharing information and coordinating activities around the older person.
Breaking through roadblocks
By connecting up everyone and everything around the individual older person, all the usual information governance and data protection roadblocks, which most often cause multi-organisational and cross-sector initiatives to grind to a halt, are completely avoided.
The citizen is actually, rather than notionally, in control of their own information and able to decide (with the help of whomever they choose where appropriate) who to involve in their personal support network and who gets to see and do what.
This simplifies and speeds up everything and enables all to work together more effectively and without all the headaches.
Using smart technology to increase safety and reduce workloads
Intelligent agents work in the background and form an intelligent safety net to ensure that the right things happen and bad things don’t, watching for potential problems and letting the appropriate people know so they can take action and avoid problems wherever possible.
Early warning signs that things are not right can be recognised, which might involve complex series of events over periods of time and use information from several apps, environmental sensors in the home (e.g. activity monitors, temperature and humidity sensors, current sensors), wearables (e.g. accelerometers, activity trackers) and personal health (e.g. scales) and medical (e.g. medication reminders, spirometers, glucometers, BP monitors, pulse oximeters) devices. These can then trigger a series of actions appropriate to the situation and the individual.
For those in the person’s personal support network, personalisation rules let all specify what types of messages, notifications and alerts they wish to see, depending on who and where they came from and how they wish to receive them (e.g. via SMS text message, email).
This intelligent safety net is therefore able to help ensure that the older person is kept safe and well and gives them and all who care and support them (including their family and friends) the added security that all is well.
Please get in touch if you wish to know more