“… likes linking, hates re-inventing…” (Care homes and volunteers)

The title of this post is taken from my Twitter bio and is something i’m keen to put into practice when I can. If there is a good idea or good project out there, let others know about it, don’t go off and set up something in competition or with similar aims.

This is a little late, but fills in some of what i’ve been doing on Connecting Care during the latter part of March (after coming back from #14NTC, which I know i’ve STILL not blogged about!).

IT in Care Home

IT Facilities for residents at Oakland Village – Swadlincote

One of the other projects alongside ours in the DoH Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development programme is being delivered in 5 CCG areas by NCVO to link the work of local volunteer centres with care homes in their area. They are conducting research and developing pathways for volunteers to offer their skills to support the work and the residents. More details about the project and a list of the 12 care homes are here.)

In addition to traditional volunteering activities, we were keen to link with their work and find out the level of interest in the role of Digital Volunteers, both by the staff and residents of the care homes and as a skillset offered from the volunteer centres.

We attended all three of the NCVO events in Westminster, Oldham and Swadlincote, also at the joint event with My Home Life and CSV. The clear message heard from care homes was that more could be done with new technology, to offer digital skills support and to provide ways to supplement the role of Activities Co-ordinators in the care homes with suitable volunteers. This backs up the evidence we have seen from the care homes we have visited on Connecting Care. They are starting to see the importance of Tablet PCs and the place of these for art based activities, for reminicense and for communication with distant family members, but capacity to use them is often squeezed and (rightly) a secondary place to provision of support to residents. Something that volunteers may be able to help with.

I’d like to see the role of Social Care Digital Champions promoted (one for Digital Unite or Tinder a Foundation?). Of course there is the need to keep the main IT systems of the care home working, suitable equipment being in place and having good Wi-fi access … but that’s a topic for another blog post!